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Food boosts UK retail sales in July; Pandora nabs distribution rights in Spain

TOP NEWS

* U.K. retail sales in July posted a 0.9% increase on a like-for-like basis from a year ago as the food sector continued to perform strongly, according to data from KPMG and the British Retail Consortiums. Retail sales increased 1.4% on a total basis in July compared to 1.9% growth in July 2016. Over the three months to July, food sales increased 2.3% year-over-year on a like-for-like basis and 3.4% on a total basis.

* Pandora A/S agreed to acquire City Time SL, which owns the distribution rights to the Danish jeweler's products in Spain, Gibraltar and Andorra, for about €110 million. Pandora will own 51 of its concept stores, and it will take over distribution to 15 franchisee concept stores and about 500 points of sale in the three regions after the purchase. The company previously bought distribution rights in Belgium and South Africa in early 2017 to boost direct control over its retail operations. The new deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter, and Pandora said it would have no impact on its 2017 outlook.

APPAREL AND LUXURY GOODS

* H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB will open a flagship store in Glasgow, Scotland, on Aug. 17, Retail Gazette reported. The new store will cover more than 49,500 square feet. The apparel retailer previously scheduled the opening of the first U.K. store for its fashion and denim brand Weekday on Aug. 18, while its newest brand, Arket, is set to open its first store in London on Aug. 25.

* Indian apparel retailer Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. is in advanced talks with American Eagle Outfitters Inc. to open stand-alone outlets of the U.S. teen apparel brand in India, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing two people with knowledge of the matter. Aditya Birla is reportedly looking to offer American Eagle apparel online and in stores as part of its drive to form partnerships with foreign brands. An Aditya Birla spokesperson told the newspaper that it does not comment on market speculation, while American Eagle did not respond to an email seeking comment.

MULTILINE RETAIL

* Hong Kong-based department store operator Lifestyle Int. Holdings Ltd. said its retail sector outlook for the second half is "prudently optimistic," the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The company runs Sogo department stores. It reportedly said it was on track to open its third Sogo store in Hong Kong in 2022 at Kai Tak, with construction slated to start in the fourth quarter. Lifestyle International reported first-half sales growth of 1% to HK$4.67 billion, overcoming a 0.6% decline in Hong Kong's retail market in the same period.

PERSONAL PRODUCTS

* Cosmetic companies including L'Oréal SA and Coty Inc. CoverGirl are targeting male consumers, MarketWatch reported. L'Oréal's U.K. managing director Vismay Sharma told The Telegraph that he expects department stores to have male-targeted cosmetic counters by 2022. Brands including L'Oréal and Covergirl also have selected male beauty spokespersons who use social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube.

* Skincare brand Cha Ling, owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, debuted in China with a flagship store in Shanghai, Inside Retail Asia reported. The beauty brand, inspired by Chinese tea, already has one boutique in Paris and two in Hong Kong. The Cha Ling range includes lifestyle products such as perfume and ceramics, and the Shanghai boutique offers spa and massage services. The brand reportedly is aiming to expand further into China, to Beijing and Chengdu.

FOOD RETAILING

* British food retailer Tesco Plc said it will replace its single-use bags with new, reusable shopping bags across the U.K. starting Aug. 28. The new reusable "Bag for Life" is made from 94% recycled plastic and will be sold for 10 pence each, with a free replacement for a damaged bag. Proceeds from the sale of the bags will be used to finance community projects across the U.K. The British grocery retailer's online customers will still be able to choose between single-use bags for shopping and bagless delivery.

* Australian food retailer Woolworths Ltd. said that due to a technical glitch, some customers using Visa cards were charged twice for the same purchase. The company said the issue originated with Cuscal, the retailer's payment processor. Cuscal said the processing error happened Aug. 6, with incorrect transactions posted to customers' accounts Aug. 7. The payment processor took full responsibility for the error and said customers could expect all transactions to be corrected by 2 p.m. local time on Aug. 8.

SPECIALTY RETAIL

* U.S. office products retailer Office Depot Inc. announced that it will offer same-day delivery in three markets with the help of logistics company Deliv. Customers will be able to pick delivery times and locations using Deliv's technology. The service will launch Aug. 28 in Atlanta and Los Angeles, followed by the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area on Sept. 6. The retailer plans to offer the service to other markets by the end of the year.

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