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Market Commentary

​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 13 October, 2014

Jessops returns to profit, as Nickelodeon are set to launch a new global flagship store

​Jessops has turned a profit in its first full financial year under new owner and Dragons' Den star Peter Jones. The 28-store photography specialist revealed it made an operating profit of £280,000, on sales of £56m in the year to April 30. That compares with an operating loss of £3.5m in the year to January 2012 and sales of £236.7m. When the retailer collapsed into administration in January 2013 it had 187 stores and debts of £81m. Jessops has since focussed on optimising its store portfolio and advancing its multichannel strategy including its online, m-commerce and click-and-collect platforms. In addition, it announced that it plans to open a further six stores this year and continue with its roll-out of concessions in Sainsbury's stores.

It has also been announced this week that television channel Nickelodeon is launching a global flagship store in London. The store is set to open in the second quarter of 2015 and will be spread across a number of levels at No 1 Leicester Square. The high-tech flagship will be used as a global model and signals the start of a worldwide expansion of Nickelodeon's retail concept. Also this week, Amazon announced that it will be taking physical space in New York before Christmas, although whether it will be traditional retail space is not yet clear. These recent lettings to new types of occupiers demonstrate unrivalled appeal and competitive nature of the world's top tier retail and leisure locations; such as London's West End.

Further evidence of the increasing competitiveness of the UK grocery market emerged this week. Mark Price, deputy chair of the John Lewis Partnership, announced that Waitrose has identified up to 300 sites for potential expansion over the next 10 to 15 years. This comes as the retailer posted an 8% increase in LFLs in the week to October 4. In addition, Asda has announced that its LFLs rose 0.6% and that its profits jumped 5% in 2013, as the supermarket opened 15 new outlets through the year.

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