Aldi tops simplicity test

October 30th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi tops simplicity testAldi has topped something called the Global Brand Simplicity Index.

It’s the second year running that the supermarket has topped this Global Brand Simplicity Index by Siegel+Gale, beating Google and fellow discount retailer Lidl for the spot.

Using feedback from over 12,000 consumers spread across eight countries, the index works out the perceived simplicity or complexity of brands’ products, services, interactions and communications in relation to their industry peers.

That’s globally, but who won the UK list? Lidl. Yep, the plucky budget supermarket that everyone likes to shade, knocked Amazon off the perch.

The report also revealed that the general decline in traditional supermarket brands’ simplicity scores was largely down to: complicated approaches to online shopping, overpriced premium ranges and decline in own brand quality.

So while all the big boy supermarkets – Sainsbury’s was the upmarket top ranking, coming in seventh, while Asda ranked ninth. Waitrose came in at 14, while Tesco ranked in at 24 – have been having well-documented palavers, Aldi and Lidl have been quietly doing their thing, and getting bigger as a result.

Aldi and Lidl, keeping things simple eh? Who would’ve ever guessed that such a thing would be attractive to a customer who wants cheap items rather than needlessly complicated reward systems?

Serious Fraud Office to investigate Tesco

October 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco extra Serious Fraud Office to investigate TescoTesco time again! On this occasion, being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over that preposterous accounting debacle they got themselves mixed up in.

The SFO has, according to reports, told Tesco that they’ll be launching a formal criminal investigation into the scandal and to expect a statement on the whole thing this week.

As we know, the Financial Conduct Authority are already investigating the retailer – soon, Tesco will have to open a new aisle just for people in business suits tutting at spreadsheets and mainlining instant coffee.

Deloitte, the accountancy lot, have completed their enquiries into this wretched mess, and Tesco are declining to comment on it all, apart from saying that the practices at the centre of the scandal had been going on for longer than they’d originally thought. That’s what resulted in a missing £263m.

It has been said that a ‘small group’ of employees were behind it all, and Deloitte’s investigation unearthed “inappropriate behaviour” and the fact that there’s been “deliberate intention” to pull a fast one on auditors.

Tesco shares are plummeting as a result of all this, so if you think Tesco are big and ugly enough to sort all this out and win everyone’s trust again, it might be worth buying some stock and making hay while the sun shines.

Tesco cash machine offers ‘free erections’

October 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Large businesses and government departments just can’t get their heads around the fact that, if you’re going to produce something in Welsh, then it might be a good idea to hire a Welsh person to do it for you or you might end up with all manner of nonsense.

We’ve had roadsigns emblazoned with an out-of-office message and a cycling sign oddly warning of bladder disease (for more, click here, just to see how wrong people get it). Now, we’ve got a cash machine that offers customers ‘free erections’ rather than the usual withdrawals. Arf.

The clanger was spotted at a Tesco in Aberystwyth.

codiad am ddim 500x332 Tesco cash machine offers free erections

Tesco will be sorting this mess out as soon as they can and said: ”Thanks to everyone who pointed out the mistake,” before muttering under their breath about not being able to catch a bloody break at the minute.

Councillor Ceredig Davies, who saw the sign, said: ”There were a few titters in the town so I went down to have a look myself. Ten out of 10 to Tesco for considering the Welsh language… but perhaps they should have had it checked by an actual Welsh speaker before putting the signs on the machines.”

“People get their Welsh translations wrong from time to time but this one is hilarious.”

Saeson ynfyd – dim ond un peth ar eu meddyliau!

Deathwatch: Cadbury Chocolate coins

October 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

chocolate coins 300x212 Deathwatch: Cadbury Chocolate coinsCadbury have discontinued producing chocolate coins. Cue half of Britain screaming: Noooooooo!

The news was revealed when a Twitter user asked Cadbury about the news, which they sadly confirmed.

The treat, which can usually be found 98% of the time in a Christmas stocking, had been in production for over 40 years, but now reckon cheaper alternatives from your discounters had taken them over saleswise.

So they’re driving consumers to scoff inferior chocolate. WELL DONE EVERYONE.

Some brusque – and tellingly, unnamed spokesman for Cadbury told the Telegraph that the production of the coins “fiddly”. Pouring charm into wounds by adding “We are sorry to see the coins go, but that’s business.”

Cadbury said Christmas was still its most important time of year, but that the company preferred to focus on Selection Packs, Roses boxes and tins, tree decorations and its new chocolate snowmen.

BUT NOT THE COINS.

Bastards.

Tesco given ASBO for mess?

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco given ASBO for mess?Tesco’s woes continue, and now, they’re looking at an ASBO. That’s right – they’re getting treated like the kind of wag who drinks cans of Ace in the Ford Capri sat on bricks down the side of their house listening to 50 Cent at full tilt all day.

This is happening because the supermarket behemoth has allegedly failed to deal with litter at one of their stores in Cambridge.

Peter Roberts, a city councillor who works for Waste, Environment & Public Health made the accusations, saying: “We are potentially pursuing a community protection notice against Tesco. We’ve asked several times they clean their ground as part of the agreement they have with us as the city authority and they continually, despite their claims otherwise, carry on just leaving it.”

These Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are now actually called ‘community protection notices’ (CPN) – we definitely didn’t find that out after one of our writers got in trouble for an ill-advised three day party in their house.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “Contractors will be visiting the site shortly to undertake the necessary works and we will continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis.”

car 300x225 New regulations for used car sellers to make sure consumers get a better dealComplaints about second-hand cars are one of the biggest issues people take to the Citizens Advice consumer service. Between April 2013 and March 2014, Citizens Advice dealt with almost 70,000 enquiries relating to second-hand cars and the AA estimates that around 210,000 vehicles sold per year have a major fault. AA research suggests that, even now, 18,000 vehicles a year are sold ‘clocked’- where the odometer is fiddled with to reduce the mileage showing- in order to screw more cash out of the consumer.

However, the Used Car Commission, set up during Consumer Week at the start of November last year, have now decided that sitting around in a room talking about the problems with buying second hand cars isn’t actually achieving anything, and that they might actually have to take some action if they want anything to improve.

The Commission found, during its investigations over the last year, that the industry generally works well for consumers, but it has identified some areas for improvement. In response, Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson has called on the commission to get out of its comfy chairs take forward its proposals to get a better deal for consumers.

The Commission will now oversee implementation of its recommendations including:

closer cooperation between the Police and Trading Standards to target organised criminals who steal vehicles for export, clone them or break them up for parts

the development of a minimum set of requirements for used car codes and trader approval schemes to ensure consumers are better protected and improve customer services

a focus on information gathering on used cars so current and emerging issues can be quickly identified and acted on by police forces and Trading Standards

Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson said:

“Whilst the majority of second-hand car buyers will have a trouble free experience, too many consumers are left with unresolved issues or thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The AA estimates that 750,000 consumers a year face unresolved problems with a used car purchase, so it is clear why the Commission’s work is so important.

The recommendations are an excellent starting point and it is good to see the sector working together to get the best possible outcomes for consumers. I am grateful to all the members of the Commission for their work so far.”

However, before you get too excited it is worth noting that the Used Car Commission does not, in fact, cover sales of all used cars, and therefore neither will its recommendations. The Commission’s work specifically excludes the private sale of used cars, so won’t help you with the dodgy chap selling his brand new, perfect condition Ford Fiesta down the road. In fact, according to the BCA Used Car Market Report 2013, that’s 38% of the used car market (using 2012 figures) that won’t see any benefit from this Commission or its recommendations at all…

The best and worst UK hotels revealed!

October 27th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

hotel 300x300 The best and worst UK hotels revealed!A survey by Which!!! to find out Britain’s best hotel chain has revealed Sofitel as the winner. The upmarket version of Novotel has rooms at £144 a night and only has three branches in the UK.

The runner-up Premier Inn, offers 650 hotels in the UK, and is more the hotel of choice for those on a smaller budget.

Eligible hotel firms were judged in nine categories, including cleanliness, customer service, food, and value for money. The rest of the Top five were Warner Leisure Hotels, Hampton by Hilton and Q Hotels.

However at the other end of the chart lurk Travelodge, Britannia Hotels and Old English Inns/Hotels. Shall we have a look at the chart in full?

Yes, let’s:

Name                                    Average Price    Customer score

Sofitel                                     £144                       83%
Premier Inn                          £61                         82%
Warner Leisure Hotels    £128                       80%
Hampton by Hilton           £80                         78%
Q Hotels                                £102                        78%
Marriott Hotels                  £110                        73%
DoubleTree by Hilton      £112                         72%
Holiday Inn Express         £72                          72%
MacDonald Hotels            £124                        72%
Novotel Hotels                    £97                          72%
Radisson Blu                       £111                         72%
Holiday Inn                         £88                          71%
Ibis                                           £63                         71%
Crowne Plaza Hotels        £107                       70%
Ramada                                  £75                         69%
Best Western                       £92                         67%
Hilton Hotels                       £110                       67%
Ibis Budget                            £32                        67%
Copthrone Hotels              £86                         64%
Mercure Hotels                  £93                         64%
The Hotel Collection        £109                       63%
Jurys Inn                               £87                         62%
Days Inn/Hotel                   £55                         61%
Thistle Hotels                      £101                       61%
Travelodge                            £44                        60%
De Vere Hotels                    £115                       58%
Principal Hayley Hotels  £120                       55%
Old English Inns/Hotels £70                         50%
Britannia Hotels                £56                         33%

Poor old Travelodge. But hey, with average price of £44 a room, it’s good for romps with your secret lover or somewhere to be sick in and crash after a work’s party.

Amazon lose nearly $500 million

October 24th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazon lose nearly $500 millionAmazon lost nearly $500 million in the last three months. Oh no! The US company reported a loss of $437m in the three months to September, which is 10 times the $41m they reported for the same period last year.

Well that’s just careless.

Shares in the company dropped 5%. However revenues rose 20% to $20.58bn, missing market expectations of $20.85bn.

Amazon do tend to report losses, but the fall in share price could indicate investors have had it with the company’s direction.

Operating expenses went to $14.6bn from $12.4bn in the same three months of 2013, mainly due to chief executive Jeff Bezos going off shopping around, buying the likes of Netflix, Hulu and various other bits.

It’s not all gloom and doom though as it’s ‘the holiday season’ and the company expects net sales of between $27.3bn and $30.3bn for the next three months, even if it is – boohoo – down on the $30.89bn analysts had expected.

Asda face legal action for underpaying women

October 24th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ASDA logo Asda face legal action for underpaying womenWhile Tesco have been through the mill of late and many other supermarkets having a tough time, Asda have been fairly quiet, getting on with business.

Until now that is. The retailer is looking at huge legal action by the women who work in their stores who claim that they’ve not been paid the same as men who work in the distribution warehouses, even though their jobs are of “equivalent value”.

This case will look at how Asda decide how much they pay staff throughout the business and, if the women involved in this are successful with their claims, then the rest of the sector should start getting worried as there could be legal action against everyone else.

Over 1,000 employment tribunal claims have been submitted already and, a lot of the cases are being taken up by men who are employed by Asda as they would get a pay rise if the case is successful. Lawyers note: Asda has said it will vigorously defend itself from these claims and say that they do not discriminate.

Lauren Loughheed, the solicitor with Leigh Day who is leading the case, told the Beeb that the difference in pay could be as much as £4 an hour in difference. If the case sides with the workers, then there’s going to be some gigantic back payments.

An Asda spokesperson said: “A firm of no win, no fee lawyers are hoping to challenge our award-winning reputation as an equal opportunities employer. We do not discriminate and are very proud of our record in this area which, if it comes to it, we will robustly defend.”

Tesco’s woes are much worse than they thought

October 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tesco extra Tescos woes are much worse than they thoughtTesco are in a much worse state than everyone initially thought. When is this all going to end? They have reported a much bigger accounting hole today after finding that the mistakes in booking income had gone back further than initially assumed. Profits have fallen by a whopping 92%!

As a result, they’ve scrapped their full-year profit outlook.

Thanks to all this, Tesco has lost 20% of their market value in the past month and naturally, the share value of the company has taken a hit too. In the first minutes of trading, shares fell by 7%.

It is all bleak news for the former godzilla of groceries as they were already under pressure from bargain retailers like Lidl and Aldi and people’s changing habits, shopping around online for the best price rather than relying on the local supermarket.

Tesco’s performance has been described as the worst performance in 40 years. Chief executive Dave Lewis, took time from screaming down his sleeve to say: ”Our business is operating in challenging times. Trading conditions are tough and our underlying profitability is under pressure.”

Only last month, when Dave Lewis took over the job, a £250m blackhole was found after the company had overstated their profits. Now it transpires that this practice goes back further than though, the figure keeps rising.

Normally, at this time of year, Tesco would be ramping up for the lucrative Christmas period, but instead, they’re calling in accountants to investigate the mess and sacking loads of senior management. It also looks like they’ll be selling off assets in a bid to get their finances looking healthy again.

We have talked about it before, but should Tesco break itself up in a bid to get back in the game?

Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad people

October 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

dyson humidifier 114x300 Dyson unveil a humidifier for mad peopleDyson have unveiled a humidifier!

The until-now-quite-hoovery Dyson has launched the HumiMain (which doesn’t sound particularly catchy, but give it time) which uses its Air Multiplier fan technology and claims to tackle health issues around dry air and bacteria.

It’s not the first time the company have used this design, as they originally brought out the bladeless Air Multiplier fan in 2009. In 2011 it updated the fan as a heater and is now launching the technology as a humidifier.

And so they should, seeing as they’ve thrown £37.5 million at the project, and went through 643 protoypes.

Apparently the humidifier uses Ultraviolet cleansing technology to kill 99.9% of bacteria used in the product’s water. Do we really want that much bacteria killing? Either way, great news for nutters out there who feel like they’re being swamped by micro-bugs.

There’s a climate control system to measure the temperature and moisture in the air, while a fancy-sounding piezoelectric transducer in the base vibrates at up to 1.7 million times a second – breaking the water down into microscopic particles which are drawn up into the loop amplifier and projected.

According to Dyson, the machine can run for up to 18 hours on a single tank of water: “It projects clean, hydrated air around the room evenly and quietly. Helping you keep healthy in the winter, and doubling up as a fan to keep you cool in the summer.”

It’s being launched in Japan first, as they have a culture of humidifiers, and will be launched in the UK next March. Perfect for summer, if you’re a lunatic.

Homebase: creeping toward demise

October 22nd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

HOMEBASE LOGO 300x300 Homebase: creeping toward demiseHomebase have been in grotty shape for a while now and the company that owns it - Home Retail Group – have decided to accelerate the number of stores being closed following a review.

By 2019, 323 outlets of Homebase will be shut down because they are “unprofitable or are in decline”.

The review of Homebase noted “inconsistent store operating standards” and level of sales across the chain that resulted in a “challenged financial model”.

In plain English, that means they’re rubbish and they’re going to get rid.

That’s not to say all the Homebase shops will be vanishing (although, this is edging toward a Deathwatch) as there are plans to reorganise the remaining stores with 26 Homebases getting a refit.

Tellingly, the Home Retail Group does not plan to refit all of its stores. Looks like the pressure is on for those getting a facelift because, if they don’t work, then Homebase may well get binned off forever.

In a bid to get people into Homebases, the company will put a load of Argos and Habitat concessions within them.

online shopping Shops still play part in online shopping solutionsShoppers still prefer to have a gander at goods in real shops before purchasing them online, a new survey has said.

According to findings, 65% of shoppers prefer to check out a thing in a shop before pressing ‘buy’ online.

The report by Geometry Global, called The Connected Shopper study, interviewed 9,486 people across 12 countries, and found there is a continued reliance on physical stores with 88% of shoppers who visit a physical store first citing seeing the product in real life as the primary reason for visiting.

Of the 12 countries studied, China topped the list in number of online purchases (5.88) with European countries trailing significantly; the countries making the least purchases online were France (2.40) and Spain (2.17).

Checking prices (65%) is the second reason why shoppers visit physical stores.

Actual online shopping only grew by 5% in 2011 to 7% in 2014. Which isn’t all that really.

The elegantly named Cesar Montes, EMEA CSO of Geometry Global, said: “Our findings confirm that we haven’t yet witnessed the complete online shopping revolution some had predicted. There are a number of reasons for this: the high street still occupies a central and vital function in the consumer’s journey to purchase.

“In addition, there remain a number of obstacles to consumers fully accepting online shopping, such as security concerns, payment methods and unwillingness to engage with brands via social media.”

The study also noticed that 63% of users really are not going to ‘friend’ brands online. So stop trying to engage, you big bad corporates. However 70% liked ads tailored to them. Little wonder when some companies deliveries are so poor.

Frozen food is uncool say the young

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Frosty Freezer 300x225 Frozen food is uncool say the youngYoung people don’t dig frozen food.

Or so that’s what a new survey claims, as it discovered that 18-34 year olds were twice as likely to dislike food stored in the freezer than those codgers over 35.

These fascinating findings come from IGD ShoperVista, who surveyed over 4,000 UK adults about their food storage solutions.

It transpires that many of the younger age group only used the freezer to store meat with a close use-by date and “unwanted food gifts”. Many considered food in their freezer an “insurance policy” for when no better options are available, and keep fun stuff like poppers and six-box of Magnums in their freezer instead.

Despite not being fans of frozen food, a quarter of 18-34-year-olds feel they have insufficient room in the freezer. Only 14% of over-35s also felt this to be an issue. Over half of those questioned in both age groups, said that they used their freezer for frozen food rather than freezing home cooked leftovers.

Yet it seems for the younger group, which represented only those who live away from home and do not have children, whatever is in their freezer is gash. Also: defrosting is a bit of a drag.

It all may sound a bit bleedin’ pointless, but this information comes as part of the IGD’s ‘Working On Waste’ campaign, which is trying to tackle these issues and change modern attitudes to leftovers and leaving something in the freezer for the best part of five years.

IGD chief executive, Joanne Denney-Finch says: “In its first year, Working on Waste will reach around 650,000 employees in one month through meal planning advice, top tips, what to do with leftovers and much more,”

“As an industry, we employ 3.6 million people and it is these employees that will form the bedrock of our campaign, taking learnings from their company into their households. A lot of progress has been made already by companies across the industry to help consumers reduce household food waste. However, seven million tonnes of food and drink is still being thrown away by UK homes every year.”

Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceries

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco 300x210 Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceriesThe trouble at Tesco simply won’t go away, with reports that the retailers sales are falling at the quickest rate in the grocery industry. As we all know, Aldi and Lidl’s successes are taking a huge toll on the supermarket.

Tesco sales fell by 3.6% in the 12 weeks to October 12th, reducing their market share from 30.1% a year ago to 28.8%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but in the industry, this is bleak news. Or great news if you’re a rival.

 

In simple terms, to turn this around, analysts at HSBC reckon that it will cost Tesco £3bn to get things sorted in the UK. The good news for customers is that this should mean a drop in prices on goods by 5 or 6%. It would also mean 20% more staff and an improvement in the quality of their food.

Sainsbury’s are struggling too, with their sales down by 3.1% in 12 weeks, with Morrisons’ sales down by 1.8%. Asda, who have been quietly getting on with business as usual of late, have seen their sales increase by 1%. These figures are all knocked into a cocked-hat though, as Aldi’s sales have shot up by 27.3% and Lidl’s by 18.1%.

According to a detailed new survey of shoppers, Tesco’s brand in the UK is “severely compromised” thanks to a general and widespread disillusionment from customers with Tesco’s service. Research from the firm Lazarus shows that Tesco currently have the lowest overall customer satisfaction metrics in the grocery industry. As a brand, it has been labelled as “tarnished”.