Freemans 3rd-party brand call; UK July retail sales; M&S northeast focus; Harrods tourist tax

Digital department store Freemans has issued a call for third-party brands to get in touch and has launched its new Brand Studio concept “to highlight the extensive range of third-party brands that are available across fashion, home and beauty”. After 65% growth in the last two years, it’s offering potential places to brands large and small either as exclusives or on standard third-party contracts. Current brands available on the platform include Adidas, Apple, Elizabeth Arden, Disney, Seasalt, Joe Browns, Mango, Monsoon, Wrangler, Dune, Superdry, Joules, and Radley London.


The new BDO his street sales tracker showed total UK retail like-for-like sales grew by 3.6% last month, year on year. But sales fell in the final two weeks. In-store LFL sales grew by 6.3% and non-store sales by 4.5% as wet weather suppressed sentiment. The fashion sector recorded modest growth, with LFL sales increasing 3%. In-store fashion LFLs fell by 0.3%, dragged down by negative sales in weeks three and four.

M&S said its store in Newcastle city centre is to undergo a multi-million pound design transformation, including a “new stylish and spacious Clothing, Home & Beauty department”. It’s part of a wider £13 million investment in the North East, with a new 47,000 sq ft store in Washington Galleries to open next year.

Harrods MD Michael ward said the ‘tourist tax’ issue is deterring visitors from spending at its flagship. It also means they’re focused on cheaper goods at its airport stores, rather than the high-end bags on which they used to be able to claim back the VAT. The news comes after Heathrow airport also warned it was struggling to fill empty retail units.

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