Scanning the Globe: Hot New Stores
Looking for a hit list of the hottest new stores outside of the United States? Check out of some of the contenders below. The information comes from the London-based retail consultancy echochamber.com.
Boxpark, London: The world’s first pop-up shopping mall — that’s right, a pop-up mall! — is made from some 60 shipping containers that were joined together over two levels and then stripped and refitted with an industrial finish. It is home to more than 60 fashion, art and lifestyle brands, along with cafes and art galleries. Although some big names are featured (including Nike and Levi’s), the emphasis is on innovative, cutting-edge brands.
Boxpark, which is located in London’s trendy Shoreditch area, opened on December 3, 2012, and is scheduled to remain open for five years. This is one of the coolest retail concepts I’ve seen in some time … and offers a great — and relatively inexpensive — way for burgeoning retail brands to get some footing.
Bloomingdale’s, Dubai: Bloomingdale’s first international store is, in the opinion of some folks (including those at Echo Chamber) also its best store yet. Located in the very upscale Dubai Mall, the interior entrance is spectacular, featuring a huge, triple-height portal that is accessed via a bridge done in the retailer’s signature black-and-white checkerboard tiles.
Louis Vuitton Island Maison, Marina City Park, Singapore: The ultimate luxury fashion destination, this stunning glass and steel pavilion sits on the waterfront of the Marina Bay promenade. Visitors enter by private boat via its own jetty, by bridge, or by an underground tunnel that runs from the mall at the Marina Bay Sands complex. The 41,000-sq.-ft. store features the brand’s complete offering, from men’s to women’s collections, to jewelry. The interior is designed to resemble a luxurious ocean liner or yacht, complete with teak floors and portholes.
Zara, Rome: One of the largest Zara stores in the world, the Rome flagship is located on Via del Corso in a 120-year-old palazzo that was previously home to the department store La Rinascente. The five-level store is not only beautiful, it’s also extremely eco-friendly, and will seek LEED certification.
Paul Smith, Seoul: Seoul is a hotbed of retail innovation, according to echochamer, as Paul Smith’s new, three-level flagship so aptly illustrates. It boasts a strikingly contemporary façade, with a tilted, perforated roof and organic lines.
K Mart, Melbourne, Australia: Sleek and futuristic, the new K Mart prototype illustrates a trend that echochamber calls “push for posh,” whereby big-box and discount retailers are investing in sophisticated design. The lighting is particularly cool.
C&A, San Paulo, Brazil: This is the mid-market retailer’s most glamorous store to date, with a grand circular staircase and a three-floor fashion wall lit with LEDs. Another example of the “push for posh” move.
For more hot stores, go to echochamber.com/n2k_menu.htm.
NRF urges Obama to call for initiatives to support retail
WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation announced that it has issued an open letter to President Obama urging him to call for action on initiatives that support a strong retail sector when he delivers his State of the Union address later this month. The letter was signed by Macy’s chairman, president and CEO Terry Lundgren, who chairs the NRF doard of directors, and NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay.
“America’s retailers want to continue growing our economy, but to do that we need Washington to embrace common-sense economic policy, remove barriers to job creation, and do so without asking for more tax dollars to foot the bill,” the letter said.
Shay said the letter, which was sent to the White House Tuesday night, is intended to emphasize the importance of the retail industry in job creation and the economy at a time when most of the jobs rhetoric from Washington focuses on manufacturing. The letter noted that the retail industry supports 42 million American jobs – one in four jobs and four times the number in manufacturing. Retail, he said, is the gateway between other industries and the American consumer.
“Retail is the barometer of our nation’s economy – when the economy is thriving, consumers spend, retailers prosper, and consumer dollars ripple out through each of the economic sectors behind the products and services sold in retail stores,” Shay said. “When Americans are out of work consumers stop spending, retailers stop ordering from manufacturers, and the economy grinds to a halt. To gauge the impact of any economic policy enacted in Washington, one need look no further than the cash register at any Main Street store in America.”
The letter asked Obama to include three key issues in his speech to Congress: sales tax fairness legislation that would ease the burden on Main Street retailers who create local jobs but are under increasing pressure from online competitors who do not have to collect sales tax on most sales; corporate tax reform that would eliminate deductions and credits enjoyed by a few industries in return for lowering tax rates for all businesses, helping retailers lower prices and increase jobs throughout the supply chain from the increased sales that would result; and free and open trade initiatives that would build upon recent Free Trade Agreements and remove protectionist restrictions in future FTAs.
The letter also asked Obama to address neglected transportation infrastructure that slows down supply chains, credit card swipe fees that drive up prices for consumers, and mandates under the health care reform law that threaten to cost workers their jobs. It also asked that the Administration quicken the visa process to make it easier for foreign visitors to come to the United States to shop.
“Congress is well aware of these issues, but as is so often the case in Washington, it takes the power of the presidency to turn a good idea into law,” the letter said. “By calling for action on these items in your State of the Union address, you can play a major role in helping American businesses create the jobs American workers so desperately need.”
RILA names tax policy VP
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association announced that Kirt Johnson will join the association as VP tax policy.
An expert with nearly 30 years of experience navigating tax policy on Capitol Hill and in the private sector, Johnson will lead RILA’s tax agenda, including the pursuit of comprehensive tax reform. Johnson will also provide support to RILA’s aggressive campaign to level the playing field in terms of sales tax collection between Main Street retailers and their online competitors.
Johnson, who officially joins RILA this week, will also staff the RILA tax committee, which is comprised of senior-level tax executives from America’s largest retailers.
“We are pleased to welcome Kirt Johnson to our team. As a seasoned expert in tax policy with outstanding legislative and professional experience, Kirt brings invaluable leadership, talent and insight to our organization and will be a strong advocate for the retail industry,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.
Johnson has spent more than two decades on Capitol Hill serving in a number of senior roles including tenures as chief of staff and tax counsel for Congressman Phil Crane (R-IL) and most recently as chief of staff to Congressman Sean Duffy (R-WI). In 2002, Johnson founded KCJ Consulting, where he advised clients on tax and trade policy. Immediately before founding KCJ Consulting, Johnson served as a director of the federal tax policy group for PricewaterhouseCoopers.