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“Together with Livspace, we hope to provide a more accessible and personalised experience with technology, which will allow customers to achieve their dream home,” said Jaap Doornbos, retail director at Ikea Singapore and Philippines.
“With the current economic situation, this is especially important, and we see this as a big step in improving the traditional interior design planning process in Singapore.”
Customers can also use the Livspace SmartPhotos tool to help visualise, plan and budget for their dream space.
Ikea Planning Studios are also open in Sydney, Seoul and Manhattan.
BHG and Raffles City launch new lifestyle store concept
Department store BHG Singapore, along with Raffles City, is opening a new concept store called One Assembly, which will become a destination for beauty, home and fashion.
Slated to open by the end of the month, One Assembly will occupy two levels at Raffles and the previous space of Robinson’s, which closed in December after 160 years.
“We set out to enhance Raffles City’s shopping experience with a plethora of offerings that are thoughtfully curated for this collaborative space, delighting shoppers each time they visit us,” said Chris Chong, managing director of retail at CapitaLand Singapore.
One Assembly will feature two experiential spa cabins where shoppers can indulge and pamper themselves during their visit. There will be a cashless payment service, and selected offerings will be available 24/7 on CapitaLand’s digital platform.
“One Assembly will provide new experiences to shoppers, and combined with its prime location, we are confident that it will become a favoured destination for our shoppers,” said Udai Kunzru, managing director at BHG Singapore. “This new start in the beginning of 2021 also signals hope and optimism of a better future, after a tough 2020.”
Carrefour, Alimentation Couche-Tard end merger talks
Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard has dropped its US$19.6 billion plan to acquire the European retailer Carrefour. However, the companies have announced they will continue to discuss opportunities for operational partnerships on fuel, private labels and optimising product distribution.
“Building innovative partnerships is a key part of Carrefour’s transformation strategy,” said Alexandre Bompard, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The promising partnerships anticipated with North American leader Couche-Tard is fully aligned with this strategy, which has enabled us to return to a profitable growth path.”
Brian Hannasch, the president and CEO of Couche-Tard added: “The opportunity for operational partnerships with Carrefour will further our journey towards becoming a leading global retailer,” he continued. “The discussed areas for cooperation align with our five-year strategic plan, as well as our commitment to strengthening our core convenience and fuel business and pursuing opportunities in multiple, related growth platforms.”
Major US burger chain plans to make Australian debut
Due to coronavirus’s continuing impact, the US burger chain Five Guys has decided not to open its first Australian store in the Sydney CBD and instead open in Penrith.
According to a statement from franchisee partner Seagrass BHG, the fast-food chain chose the western Sydney area because of its “growth in the health, education and logistics sectors that demonstrates the future potential of the area and footfall”. The store is scheduled to open mid-year beside Panthers League Club on Mulgoa Road.
“This exciting new restaurant will bring with it fantastic job opportunities in coming weeks for experienced restaurant managers and leaders, as well as high energy hospitality individuals looking to start a career with an expanding business that puts their people first,” said the company’s brand operations manager, Robby Andronikos.
According to Seagrass, additional locations are being considered for future stores, including Circular Quay, Broadway and Darling Harbour.
Watsons, Grab partner in Southeast Asia
Hong Kong beauty retailer AS Watson has partnered with ride-hailing platform Grab to allow shoppers to access more than 62,000 health and beauty products at Watsons stores via GrabExpress. The service is available in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
There will be more than 2000 Watsons stores listed on GrabMart. Watsons will accept the GrabPay cashless payment option and integrate it into its mobile app.
“Covid-19 accelerated the growth of e-commerce, and our customers expect their purchases to be delivered fast,” said Freda Ng, Watsons International’s chief digital officer. “With our network of 2200 stores in Southeast Asia … Grab is the ideal partner to complete the purchase journey.”
Shawn Heng, managing director of regional business development at Grab, added: “Grab’s open platform enables companies to scale by easily plugging into our ecosystem and leveraging our unique online and offline capabilities to grow together with us in this region.”