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// Superdrug sees revenues rise 3.3% in annual report // Profit before tax down 5% to £88.3 million // The beauty retailer added 23 new stores to its portfolio to end of 2018

Last summer’s heatwave meant a rise in sales for Superdrug, but the beauty retailer still struggled under difficult trading on the high street.

Revenue rose 3.3 per cent in the 52 weeks to December 29, partly attributed to the opening of 23 new Superdrug stores during that time.

This brings its total to 816 stores, with sales through its website up 15 per cent. 

Profit before tax fell 5 per cent to £88.3 million from £93 million.

Superdrug has been quick to expand into wider beauty and cosmetic treatments to tempt customers in store.

The retailer’s own-brand vegan products helped the rise in revenue, with sales up 25 per cent as the popularity for conscious consumption grows.

The brand also became the biggest operator of nail bars and brow bars, with a total of 100 and 330 respectively, and launched its controversial Botox and dermal filler offers at its flagship London store. 

Superdrug is owned by AS Watson Group, part of the Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings.

“We are pleased with the company’s performance in challenging times, and I’d like to thank every team member for their hard work and contribution to these results,” said AS Watson Health & Beauty UK chief executive Peter Macnab.

“Our strategy for 2019 is to ensure we are offering all our customers everyday accessible health and beauty, giving them the beauty and health services they need in a vibrant and friendly store environment,” Macnab added.

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Philippe Chainieux’s day starts like so many other leaders in the retail industry. It consists of him waking up before his family and preparing breakfast for the kids to spend some quality time with them. He then jumps on his motorcycle and crosses from south west London to the north east to start his day as Made.com’s chief executive.

It’s here that his creative mindset and training in engineering really begin to intersect.

“When I arrive I have a routine, which is to check what happens during the day, and especially to read all the feedback we’re collecting,” he told Retail Gazette.

“I want to have a qualitative view about how we are doing.”

Chainieux began his role at online furniture and homewares retailer Made.com as chief operations officer in 2013, and was promoted to chief executive in 2016. He described transition as “a greater responsibility in the sense that you are taking the baby of what your friend has created”.

However, before he took the helm at Made.com, he was chief executive of online dating agency Meetic – a role which he said he belonged to at the time. But Chainieux said working as the chief executive of a dating service meant “the success behind it does not rely on you at the end of the day”.

“At Made.com, we need to guarantee success,” he explained.

“The reason why we launched Made.com is because we saw a gap in the market”

Chainieux describes Made.com as direct-to-consumer furniture design brand. He said he and founders Ning Li, Julien Callede, and Chloe Macintosh built it “with the objective to connect with”.

“The reason why we launched Made.com is because we saw a gap in the market,” he told Retail Gazette.

“The objective of it is to bring to consumers great products and great quality and a fair affordable price.

“The way we do it is on one side we are collaborating with a lot of designers that are bringing a lot of interesting ideas to the company, and on the other side we have built a platform where we have integrated all of the different steps of the manufacturing, product recycling, sourcing, supply chain, etc.”

Made.com prides itself on its transparency, and is not shy of boasting this.

In March, the online retailer’s store on London’s Charing Cross Road underwent an expansion and introduced a wide range of new features, including new technology to help customers find what they’re looking for. The store also has a booklet of the many factories where Made.com products are manufactured, how many factory workers there are, and where the materials come from.

“It’s important to understand where things are made and to control every step of the manufacturing process,” Chainieux said.

“It’s very important to us because it’s our products. This idea of having everything under control is to create a unique proposition to really bring unique interesting products.”

Chainieux believes Made.com is filling the gap in the market as many similar companies have decided not to take the risk of selling furniture online.

“UK consumers are buying more merchandise online than any other European country”

“What we are doing for this sector is bringing the pace, the innovation, the risk that this sector didn’t want to take,” he said.

“The founders and myself didn’t come from a typical retail background. We’ve been candid in the way we approach things.”

Although the retailer and brand announced in March that it had entered the Swedish market, and will be launching in Denmark this month, Made.com is set on increasing its growth in the UK market – a nation which Chainieux describes as “a fantastic place to build your business”.

“The reason why the UK is a very special place for business is because UK consumers are buying more merchandise online than any other European country,” he explained.

“So starting an ecommerce business in the UK means you have a much bigger opportunity for success.”

As a company that isn’t necessarily shy of collaborating with different independent designers to introduce new and unique products, Chainieux said the reason why collaborations were crucial to Made.com’s success is because “everything is changing really fast”.

“The only way to get the guarantee that you’re going to be up to speed and a little bit more forward thinking is to open the doors,” he explained.

“In terms of mind-set, we are thinking of how we can create a win-win situation, how the collaboration will benefit the both of us.”

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The post Big Interview: Philippe Chainieux, CEO, Made.com appeared first on Retail Gazette.

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// New CEO Andy Lightfoot will report to former CEO and newly-appointed executive chairman Chris Garek // Space NK currently has 69 stores across the UK & Ireland

Space NK has appointed Andy Lightfoot as its new chief executive.

Lightfoot will report to former chief executive and newly-appointed executive chairman Chris Garek.

Lightfoot joined the luxury beauty retailer as group digital director back in October 2016.

“Andy’s drive and determination coupled with his leadership skills in his new role of CEO will enable Space NK UK and US to demonstrate itself as a leading omnichannel and customer centric retailer,” Garek said.

“Retail is increasingly competitive, but we are bucking the trend of the high street as we continue to open stores in both the UK and US and deliver ahead of market growth online.”

Space NK currently has 69 stores across the UK and Ireland as well as 41 locations in the US.

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// Monsoon Accessorize founder Peter Simon will launch CVA next week // Simon facing demands from landlords to alter the terms of the multi-million pound support package // Monsoon Accessorize currently operates from around 270 stores across the UK

Monsoon Accessorize founder Peter Simon will launch a CVA next week, and is facing demands from landlords to alter the terms of the multi-million pound support package.

Landlords of the company’s stores have told Simon that they want him to provide more than £30 million of rescue funding in the form of equity, rather than secured loans, Sky News reports.

Six landlords, including British Land and Hammerson, have told Simon that they are less likely to back his his rescue plan unless he agrees to the change.

The CVA will be launched a week after Sir Philip Green secured the approval of creditors to for restructuring Arcadia.

“The UK retail trading environment is tough and we are continuing to look at options to reduce our overall costs as we restructure the business in the UK and internationally,” A Monsoon spokesperson told Sky News.

Monsoon Accessorize currently operates from around 270 stores across the UK.

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// Primark launches new store in Ljubljana, Slovenia // It has now entered 12 markets // Primark aims to expand in central & eastern Europe

Primark has opened a new store in Ljubljana, Slovenia, which has taken its international presence into 12 different markets.

The value fashion retailer is planning to expand its store portfolio, especially in central and eastern Europe.

Primark has signed agreements to open its first facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic.

The new opening in Slovenia has helped Primark reach 372 stores in 12 markets (including in the Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, France, United States, Italy and Slovenia).

The Slovenia store has already created 200 jobs and spreads across two floors at a 45,208sq ft site.

It also features 48 fitting rooms, 44 checkout points, free Wi-Fi and two recharging areas.

“We are very pleased with the opening of our first store in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana,” Primark retail director Stephen Mullen said.

“The opening takes the total number of markets where we operate to 12 and we are very happy to be able to offer our fashion at incredible prices to the citizens of Slovenia,” he said.

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The post Primark enters 12th market with launch of new Slovenia store appeared first on Retail Gazette.

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// Harrods hires Lydia King as fashion director // King will be responsible for womenswear & childrenswear buying teams // She has served as womenswear buying & merchandising director for Selfridges since 2017

Harrods has appointed Selfridges’ womenswear buying and merchandising director as fashion director.

Lydia King will join office in September, and will be responsible for womenswear and childrenswear buying teams, as well as the strategy for these divisions across the store and online.

Harrods’ head of womenswear Maria Milano, and head of childrenswear Elizabeth Cliff will report directly to King.

King has served as Selfridges’ buying director since April 2017, where she was responsible for the buying strategy for Selfridges stores as well as online.

“We are delighted to welcome a director as experienced as Lydia to lead our fashion division, to deliver on the ambitious goals we set ourselves and the high standards our customers expect from our fashion divisions,” Harrods managing director Michael Ward said.

“At Harrods we aim to deliver the Art of the Possible to all our customers, and our fashion business is central to this. Lydia is a hugely experienced industry leader, and I look forward to working together to deliver our ambitious vision for fashion at Harrods”.

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Asos has launched a new “Virtual Catwalk” features to its app, marking its first foray into augmented reality (AR).

Developed in partnership with AR firm HoloMe, the online giant’s new app allows users to point their smartphone camera at any flat surface to see a virtual model exhibiting the clothes on a catwalk.

Watch it in action here: https://www.facebook.com/ASOS/videos/1686137638197603/6137638197603/

The new feature is now available through Asos’ app on iOS devices, and will be initially available on 100 new Asos Design products, which will display an “AR” button on their product page.

READ MORE: Puma launches worlds first AR shoes

This comes as the online fashion giant continues to experiment with new technology, having recently launched a voice shopping feature on Google Assistant, alongside an AI-powered Fit Assistant helping users find their perfect size.

“By allowing the consumer to bring mobile shopping into their own physical space, we can create a more intimate buying experience,” HoloMe’s chief executive Janosch Amstutz said.

“We are excited to see how our technology can be used as a new way to communicate to the customer.”

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The post Charged: Asos launches AR “Virtual Catwalk” feature to its app appeared first on Retail Gazette.

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// Hackett to launch flagship in Savile Row // The new store will replace Hardy Amies on 14 Savile Row

Hackett has announced it will open a flagship store on Savile Row in London’s Mayfair, where founder Jeremy Hackett began his career in the seventies.

The new store will be located at 14 Savile Row, the address which Hardy Amies owned before it went into administration, The Evening Standard reports.

The store will feature traditional shop floor space, bespoke tailoring and limited edition collections.

Savile Row is best known for its collection of bespoke men’s tailoring.

Hackett chairman and founder Jeremy Hackett called the street “the most renowned street for men’s tailoring”.

“I remember serving the great Hardy Amies, who was a true gentleman. Little did I think that all these years later I would be opening a shop in his old premises, alongside such esteemed tailors,” Hackett told The Evening Standard.

Hackett currently has around 160 stores globally.

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// 89% of shoppers say they are taking action in store to reduce plastic waste // Yet 80% believe supermarkets are not doing enough // YouGov research finds consumers keen to see packaging-free fruit and vegetables

A total of 80 per cent of shoppers believe supermarkets are not doing enough to tackle single use plastic waste.

A nationwide report by YouGov found that while 89 per cent of consumers say that are taking action in store by avoiding single use plastic bags, excessive packaging or bringing their own bags and packaging, they don’t believe supermarkets are doing enough to aid them.

As part of the report, which was commissioned by SodaStream, consumers prioritised the initiatives they believe supermarkets could put into place to reduce single-use plastics. 

These included 71 per cent of respondents calling for more packaging-free fruit and vegetables and 68 per cent saying supermarkets should encouraging suppliers to reduce plastic waste.

67 per cent of shoppers polled said supermarkets should offer more non plastic packing items, 65 per cent believe grocers should provide shopping bags made of recycled, biodegradable or compostable materials and  64 per cent think supermarkets should provide plastic bottle deposit schemes. 

Meanwhile YouGov’s report found 77 per cent of those polled said they reused shopping bags and 50 per cent bought fewer or no plastic bags for fruit and vegetables.

Some 45 per cent of polled consumers purchased fewer single use plastic items, 33 per cent said they used plastic bottle recycling facilities and 20 per cent said they purchased sustainable consumables.

“It has been encouraging to see supermarkets making significant headway in taking action to reduce single-use plastic consumption,” said SodaStream general manager Tiago Alves.

“Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and Tesco have all signed up to a new industry-wide initiative that aims to make all plastic packaging recyclable, recycled or biodegradable by 2025. Iceland recently became the first major retailer to commit to eliminating plastic packaging for all own brand products in the next five years, whilst M&S announced earlier this year that it was trialling 90 lines of loose fruit and veg free of plastic bags,” Alves argued.

“However, despite all this, the vast majority of consumers still feel they could do more or are doing very little when comparing them to other parts of the retail sector.

“This study shows supermarkets what consumers would buy into in terms of single-use plastic initiatives and it’s a real opportunity to win market share amongst increasingly plastic waste conscious shoppers,” said Alves.

The research comes just a week after Waitrose revealed it was testing a new “Unpacked” concept with refillable zones in its stores, as well as pick-and-mix frozen fruit and a borrow-a-box scheme for customers. 

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// Smiggle warns UK market that owner Just Group could end funding // The stationery retailer said the company relies on the financial support of Just Group // The ongoing Brexit uncertainty has impacted the entire UK economy & consumer confidence

Smiggle has warned that its Australian parent company Just Group could terminate funding for the UK market if economic conditions continue to decline.

The stationery retailer said the company relies on the financial support of Just Group and warned that the parent company had “reserved the right to review the provision of this financial support”.

Smiggle said the “ongoing Brexit uncertainty has continued to impact the entire UK economy and consumer confidence”.

However, the retailer maintained that Just Group’s intentions were to provide funding “to enable it to meet its liabilities” for at least another year.

Smiggle’s profit growth and store expansion has been affected thanks to the parent company’s initiative to stop funding.

For the year to July 28, Smiggle’s EBIT plunged 35.1 per cent to £7 million, while net profit fell 32.9 per cent to £5.7 million on sales of £69.6 million, which were up 25 per cent.

In regards to store expansion, Smiggle launched 133 standalone stores between February 2014 and July 2018, but has since opened just one new site and three concessions as it shifts its focus to the online market.

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