Retail round-up: Cath Kidston’s Latin American expansion, Shop vacancy rate rises above 10%, H&M expects rise in sales

Cath Kidston parachutes Under Armour international head as it eyes Latin America

Cath Kidston has hired Under Armour international franchising head to lead its Latin American expansion, The Times reported.

Michael Engelhaupt has been drafted in to work with potential franchise partners and will be based in Panama City.

It is thought that the UK retailer decided on the region after receiving requests from various parties, particularly in Mexico and Chile.

Cath Kidston’s chief executive Kenny Wilson said that he planned to focus on those countries first but eventually hoped to expand across the region, including to Brazil.

The company is planning to enter the region with stand-alone stores and concessions.

Shop vacancy rates rises above 10% since April last year

The number of empty UK retail units has gone above 10% for the first time since April last year, mainly due to the plunging demand for “pop-up” shops, The Guardian reported.

Shop vacancy rates have increased to 10.1% from 9.6% in April 2016, according to a quarterly research report published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard.

The rise is being partly blamed on start-up retail businesses taking short term leases, but failing to convert them into longer agreements.

Springboard director Diane Wehrle said: “Between October and January vacancies went down, partly on the back of more pop-up shops. Since then, temporary lets have not become permanent lets. The key thing is to see if pop-ups start increasing again coming into Christmas.”

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson added: “After a long run of shop vacancies being below 10%, seeing them rise over that threshold once again will be a bitter disappointment to many.”

H&M expects increase in sales

H&M achieved a higher rise in sales than expected for July, hinting that results in the second half of the year will be better than the first, Irish Examiner reported.

The fashion retailer gained a 10% growth as compared to 8% expected.

H&M’s shares rose 2.7% in early trading, reducing the year-to-date decline to less than 8%.

The high street retailer's negative sales trend is expected to upturn from August as compared to same month last year which stood at 1%.

H&M chief executive Karl-Johan Persson stated that he is expecting better results in the second half of the year as compared to the first.