OPERATIONS

Joe Fresh to expand globally

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Loblaw Companies Ltd. and its affiliates, the owners of Joe Fresh, have signed three separate partnership agreements that bring the brand into 23 new countries. The agreements cover markets in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and South Korea.

The partnerships represent the first expansion for Joe Fresh beyond North America. The international agreements encompass the Joe Fresh women’s, men’s and children’s lines.

Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co., based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is the partner for the Joe Fresh expansion into 17 countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Serbia and Spain. Under terms of the agreement, the company plans to open at least 96 stores by 2018 in those markets, including 40 in Saudi Arabia alone. The first stores scheduled to open are in Saudi Arabia by summer 2014.

Retail Arabia International, based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the partner for five countries in the Middle East including United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman. The company plans to open at least 15 stores by 2018 including nine in the UAE. The first stores are slated to open in the UAE later this year.

Origin & Co. Ltd., based on Seoul, South Korea, is the partner for South Korea. The company plans to open up to 30 Joe Fresh retail locations in high traffic shopping districts, malls and department stores over the next five years. One of the first units will open in the Lotte World Mall this spring. The company plans to open a flagship store in Seoul later this year.

"These first international agreements signify an important milestone for Joe Fresh as we build on the strong foundation we’ve established at home in Canada,” said Joe Mimran, creative director of Joe Fresh. “We continue to evolve the brand forward and I’m thrilled to see Joe Fresh grow into a global brand, developing on the success we have had in the U.S. since launching there in 2011.”

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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Keds unveils omni-channel campaign

BY Dan Berthiaume

Lexington, Mass. – Vertical footwear retailer Keds is launching an omni-channel marketing campaign called the “Keds Brave Life Project.” The campaign is aimed at encouraging positive development of girls and young women.

The online home for Keds Brave Life Project is a new Bravehearts.com, a virtual community initially launched by Keds in January 2013. The site now offers dozens of new features including style tutorials, product showcases, and how-to videos covering everything from crafts to cooking, many of which are user-generated, along with everyday brave challenges, personal stories, grant applications, and research and reading material.

"We believe that young women can achieve anything, it just takes the right type of support," said Rick Blackshaw, president, Keds. "The new campaign solidifies our efforts to provide young women with tools and resources that will help them realize their full potential, and celebrate and inspire bravery in ways both big and small."

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FINANCE

Abercrombie & Fitch responds to Engaged Capital board nominations

BY Dan Berthiaume

New Albany, Ohio — Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has confirmed that Engaged Capital, which it says owns approximately 0.58% of the outstanding shares of Abercrombie & Fitch, has submitted notice to nominate five candidates to stand for election to the Abercrombie & Fitch board of directors.

Recently, the board appointed three new independent directors: non-executive chairman Arthur C. Martinez, former chairman and CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Co., Terry Burman, former CEO of Signet Jewelers Ltd and Charles R. Perrin, former chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc. Among other governance changes, Abercrombie & Fitch said its board also separated the roles of chairman of the board and CEO, terminated the company’s shareholder rights plan, implemented majority voting in uncontested elections, established stock ownership guidelines for executive officers and directors, and established director resignation policies.

In addition, the company created the position of COO, as well as brand president positions to oversee the Abercrombie & Fitch and Abercrombie Kids brands, and the Hollister brand, respectively. These brand presidents will support succession planning.

"Abercrombie & Fitch is committed to continued engagement with its shareholders, including regarding corporate governance matters,” said Martinez. “This commitment has already resulted in the appointment of three new, highly experienced independent directors and the separation of the positions of CEO and chairman."

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