Retail sales jump in January

Retail sales received an unexpected bump in January, driven by higher than expected demand for furniture and household goods, this is good news and we all need some dont we.

Sales were up 0.9% in January, compared to the previous month, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) against a 0.3% decline expected by most analysts.

The value of retail sales increased 4.4% year-on-year, while volume sales were up 2%.

Good news for the high street – H&M to Add 275 New Stores in 2012

Stockholm-based H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) recently announced its expansion goals for 2012, with plans to add approximately 275 new stores. The fast-fashion retailer will open the most stores during the year in China, the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition, the retailer will enter Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand for the first time.

The company also plans to open in Mexico during fall 2012—marking its first-ever store in Latin America. This will make a total of 10 new H&M markets over a period of two years. H&M also will continue to expand its other brands, such as COS and Monki, with the opening of its first COS stores in Hong Kong, Italy, Finland and Kuwait. Currently, the company operates approximately 2,500 stores in 43 markets.

Louis Vuitton new flagship store opens in Rome – well worth visiting

Louis Vuitton has opened a new Maison flagship store within the former Etoile, Rome’s first cinema. It includes a library and a screening room as part of the brand’s program to support the Italian film industry.

This opening marks an architectural extension of luxury brands’ recent activities surronding film, with Lady Dior, Longchamp, Cartier and Calvin Klein using a web series, music videos and short films. Built in 1907, the building in Lucina Square has been reinterpreted for luxury retail by architect Peter Marino. It covers three floors with a Baroque-style interior and a grand staircase resembling a film strip.

The Louis Vuitton Maison Etoile Rome includes a book room dedicated to Italian cinema, especially Rome’s iconic Cinecitta film studios. It also features a 19-seat cinema, which will screen short films, documentaries and original creations. Louis Vuitton’s film program, in collaboration with the Scuola Nazionale di Cinema del Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, aims to develop new talent with scholarships and academic programs.