Cashmere sweaters at Uniqlo. Gourmet coffee and ice cream at 7-Eleven. These incongruously premium offerings by two of Japan's biggest retailers, Fast Retailing and Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd, are part of a strategy to lift profit margins by enticing thrifty shoppers to splurge on little luxuries.
David Jones and Myer face big challenges as they deal with lacklustre consumer demand in Australia, a shift in household spending away from merchandise to what the retailers call experiences – lattes instead of crockery, say, or a plane ticket instead of a new suitcase – and the expansion of internet retailing.
They are, however, making a pretty good fist of a task that many observers believed would be beyond them. The price gap between them and overseas online retailers is closing, and it seems it is doing so without creating a profit sinkhole.
The Devil, it seems, wears anything but Prada in the eyes of Chinese bloggers determined to expose corrupt government officials flashing luxury labels way past their pay grades.
Prada is among a few premium brands reporting solid growth in the world's second largest luxury market even as a government campaign against conspicuous spending and gift-giving hurts firms with instantly recognizable brands like LVMH, Compagnie Financiere Richemont and Kering.
As Indonesia's economy boomed in recent years, its retailers had a simple formula: open more stores. And more. And more. Minnows became leviathans.
That strategy is now haunting them as the rupiah currency tumbles, inflation accelerates, interest rates rise and growth slows. The country's three biggest retailers are in their weakest cash position since the 2008 global financial crisis, just as consumers are tightening their wallets.
Fastfood giant Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) is accelerating its local and foreign store expansion next year that will be supported by a record PPH6 billion (USD134.7 million) capital spending, a top company executive said.
“Normally, we would grow the store opening by at least 10 percent. If we open 200 this year, you add 20 stores so it will be 220 (branches next year),” JFC chief financial officer Ysmael Baysa told reporters said.
Top US toy retailer Toys"R"Us on Wednesday said it plans to open more than 100 stores globally in 2013, including new locations, the relocation and conversion of 14 stores to the Side-by-Side format, and 22 new licensed stores. These new stores are located throughout 21 of the 36 countries and jurisdictions in which Toys"R"Us currently has a presence through its wholly owned and licensed businesses, and represent the net addition of over 900,000 square feet of retail space to the company's store portfolio.
Several domestic firms have seized the opportunity to invest in Vietnam's retail industry, even though the economic crisis is far from over.
Nguyen Manh Duy, managing director of the Ocean Retail and Real Estate Management Company, said that Ocean Group, his parent company, plans to open between 70-80 supermarkets and shopping centres nationwide by 2015.
This would make the retail industry one of the group's core businesses. The company also has two supermarkets that are already in operation, the Ocean Mart in Ha Dong and Ocean Mart Thang Long.
GNC Holdings, Inc., the US-based specialty retailer of health and wellness products, on Monday announced that it is expanding its retail presence in China by opening the first stand-alone GNC store in Shanghai. The first stand-alone location opened yesterday in Raffles City, one of Shanghai's prime retail and office space locations.
The move complements GNC's existing marketing footprint in the world's largest consumer market. The company plans on opening an additional 25 locations in China within the next 12 months.
Indian online supermarkets seem to be going the Amazon way in expanding their presence. Online start-ups such as LocalBanya.com, BigBasket.com and AaramShop.com are looking to move from their home turf to multiple cities to tap local markets.
The US online giant recently expanded its grocery supplies to California from Seattle in a bid to break open grocery market there. It is expected to spread the business further across the US.
During the China Daily Asia Leadership Roundtable, a co-branded session with the Omni Channel Retailing Conference at Retail Asia Expo 2013, a panel of four leading retailers and retail space asset managers shared their views on a variety of issues facing retailers in Asia today.