Retailer News

Dublin to Get First Apple Store?

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Dublin to Get First Apple Store?

Independent.ie reports Natrium, the consortium behind the acquisition of the Clerys department store in O'Connell Street, Dublin, is trying to convince Apple to rent the location.

Negotiations have been reportedly going on for "several months," even if Apple is still to confirm whether it will open a first Store in the country. Then again, Apple secrecy covers retail operations as well as devices, meaning it will only officially announce such plans once the outlet is under construction.

Clerys closed down back in June 2015-- a closure deemed controversial by many, not only because the department store was a Dublin fixture for the past 40 years, but also because it led to the loss of 460 jobs. It was bought by Clerys for €29 million after it entered receivership.

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Who Win Darty: Fnac or Steinhoff?

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Who Win Darty: Fnac or Steinhoff?

Darty finds itself in the middle of a bidding war as ia rival buyer appears to quash Fnac's ambitions to own the CE chain-- Conforama, the French furniture chained owned by S. African conglomerate Steinhoff.

Fnac announced its plan to buy Darty for £558 million back in November 2015. The acquisition, the companies hoped back then, would create a mega CE retailer with sales reaching more than €7 billion and earnings of around €270m (after an estimated annual savings of around €85m).

However such plans were dashed in March 2016, as Steinhoff (via Conforama, the 2nd largest furniture chain in France) made a surprise offer worth £673m for Darty. Previously Steinhoff was going fighting for Home Retail, the UK retailer behind Argos, against supermarket chain Sainsbury's before deciding it was not going to make a firm offer after all.

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John Lewis Presents Smart Home Experience

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John Lewis Presents Smart Home Experience

John Lewis is the next to get into home automation as it opens a smart home technology experience in its flagship Oxford Street store-- one the retailer claims is the largest in the UK.

The space covers 93 square metres and boasts "futuristic gadgets" for every part of the home, such as the Samsung Family Hub smart fridge, the ResMed S+ sleep monitor, Philips Hue lighting and the Sonos Play:5 wireless audio system. All set within an interactive real-life home setting divided in 4 zones covering the kitchen, entertainment, sleep and home monitoring.

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Kantar Retail: Ugly Stores Make Successful Stores

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Kantar Retail: Ugly Stores Make Successful Stores

Some of the most successful retail chains have one thing in common, Kantar Retail tells Business Insider-- outlets best described as "ugly," lacking in soft lighting and elaborate displays.

The analyst gives the examples of the likes of Aldi, Dollar General and Costco. All offer "no-frills shopping experiences," and this allows them to invest the low prices customers really care about. And as a result, such retailers are booming.

"These retailers have very clear value positions that stand out in the marketplace-- that's whats driving their growth," Kantar Retail says.

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Metro Splits in Two

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Metro Splits in Two

The Metro Group announces a split into two independent companies-- one covering the German retailer's wholesale and food business and the other (more relevant to our interests) the consumer electronics business.

According to the retailer, the result should improve focus, flexibility and operational efficiency, as well as lead to quicker decision making. Or, as CEO Olaf Koch puts it, "the creation of two independent companies would be the logical next step in the transformation of our business towards more growth, customer centricity and entrepreneurship."

For the curious, the wholesale and food group consists of Metro, Makro and Real, and will be run by Metro CEO Olaf Koch. Meanwhile the CE group consists of the Metro-Saturn and its format/brand portfolio, and retains Media-Saturn CEO Pieter Haas as boss.

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Copenhagen Gets First Virtual Reality Store

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Copenhagen Gets First Virtual Reality Store

The Kødbyen district in Copenhagen gets something of a world first in the shape of Khora Lab, a store offering customers the chance to sample virtual reality experiences.

Opened by VR developer Khora, the store both sells and rents VR hardware, specifically low-cost smartphone-powered headsets. It also offers a "menu" of in-store VR experiences, including "Enter a Van Gogh Painting," "Visit Mars" and "Shoot Zombies."

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Japanese Apple Stores Install Screen Protection

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Japanese Apple Stores Install Screen Protection

According to Mac Otakara Apple Stores in Japan are using TrueClear Pro Belkin machines to handle the in-store installation of iPhone screen protectors.

As seen in the blog post, installation appears to be pain-free. The Belkin machine essentially consists of a plastic clamshell case with alignment guides set according to the iPhone model in question. The employee puts the iPhone on one side of the machine, and the protector on the other, before closing the two halves together.

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Ron Garriques Quits from RadioShack

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Ron Garriques Quits from RadioShack

Ron Garriques steps down as CEO of RadioShack after all of 9 months on the job, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Replacing him in the interim is CFO Gordon Briscoe.

According to a company representative Garriques is quitting “to pursue other interests in a role that will put him back closer to his family.”  Also quitting from the retailer is chief revenue officer Marty Amschler.

An ex-Dell and Motorola exec, Garriques took over leadership of the retailer following the acquisition of 1743 stores by New York hedge fund Standard General in bankruptcy court. He replaced Joe Magnacca, who stepped down as CEO during the retailer's bankruptcy crisis.

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Smartphone Slump Hurts Best Buy

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Smartphone Slump Hurts Best Buy

The decline of smartphone sales leads to softer-than-expected holiday season growth for Best Buy, as the retailer reports a -.08% Y-o-Y drop in domestic revenues during the 9-week period ending 2 January 2016.

Computing and mobile phone comparable store sales for the retailer are down by -7.2% Y-o-Y, while CE revenues are up by 4.3% Y-o-Y. In comparison, the previous year had computing and mobile phones decline by -1.8% Y-o-Y and CE revenues grow by 11.1% Y-o-Y. Such results only confirm recent analyst forecasts on the decline of mobile phones and tablets, while Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly points out a lack of smartphone innovation leading to fewer device upgrades.

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Le Figaro: Apple Plans Champs-Élysées Store

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Le Figaro: Apple Plans Champs-Élysées Store

France's Le Figaro reports Apple plans to open a Parisian flagship Store-- and has already secured a lease for a 6200 square-metre 7-floor building at 114 avenue des Champs-Élysées for the purpose.

Apple reportedly signed a 12-year lease worth €12 million annually for the building in late 2015. Le Figaro adds Norman Foster of Foster and Partners is taking care of interior design, with the lower levels of the building housing the retail outlet and the upper levels reserved for office space.

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Apple Encourages Creativity With "Start Something New"

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Apple Encourages Creativity With

Apple brings back the "Start Something New" campaign in 2016 with Stores in several European countries featuring a gallery of nearly a dozen creative works made using Apple products and apps.

The specific European countries hosting the campaign are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. The works shown highlight the creative uses of devices including the iPhone 6s, Apple Pencil, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro and even the Apple Watch, together with accessories such as the Pencil by FiftyThree, MeFOTO Sidekick360 and olloclip Active Lens.

Apps such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop Express, Darkroom, Union, NightCap Pro, Filmic Pro, Final Cut Pro and Procreate also get a mention.

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