pants Desirable items: The Half Cover Underwear Boxer Brief PantsUnderwear news now, and the seemingly ongoing quest to make men’s pants look deeply insane continues.

After we ran a story about the sickening half-thong (basically those cock thongs that rather demand you shave around that region, or else they’ll look REALLY ridiculous) emerged, new fresh Hell has come to greet us.

These – so you can update your End Times Playsheet – are called ‘Half Cover Underwear Boxer Briefs Pants’ (I’m assuming ‘Freakini’ or ‘WTFundercrackers’ have been taken) and they are actually a thing that is available on eBay right now, after an underwear designer invented them during the throes of a mental breakdown.

There’s not much more detail other than they’re ‘Comfy. Stylish. HOT’ and that ‘the colour may not be quite as advertised’, which is quite helpful should anyone be demented enough to buy them.

If you know of someone who has partaken of these pants, and has since not looked back and thrown all their old pants away, please write in and tell us.

Aldi: hot on the wheels of Waitrose

July 30th, 2014 6 Comments By Ian Wade

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi: hot on the wheels of WaitroseAldi. They’ve only become the sixth biggest supermarket in the UK.

The cheery budget supermarket is edging closer to overtake Waitrose as the place to be, according to hot fresh data from Kantar.

Aldi has managed to lure more and more customers who’d previously sniffed at its very existence, as apparently record numbers of yer middle class types are switching allegiance from the likes of Tesco and Morrisons.

Latest figures show the German-owned chain rose 32.2% in the 12 weeks to 20 July, to now have 4.8% of British food shoppers clambering for wetsuits and weird-yet-cheap pickles. This is an increase from their 3.7% of last year.

Waitrose meanwhile hold firm with 4.9%.

Director at Edward Garner, whose name could almost rhyme with Kantar (if you’re a bit tipsy from Aldi’s special cheap whisky) said: ‘Aldi’s 32% growth rate has lifted its market share to 4.8%; this is a new record for the retailer and means it has nearly caught up with Waitrose.’

As for the other supermarkets, Sainsbury and Asda held on to their market share, recording growth of 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.

It’s also good news for Lidl, who’ve leapt up their market share from 3.1% to 3.6%.

The Kantar data also shows Tesco has suffered its worst sales decline in at least two decades, with a fall of  3.8%, making it the chain’s steepest decline since comparable records began in 1994.

Aldi’s success has been down to keeping things relatively simple, selling a range of 1,500 lines as opposed to the 40,000 that the bigger supermarkets offer.

That, and looking less like a depressed Iceland.

Primark have a lot of detractors because their clothes are cheap. Snobs don’t like it when people can buy new outfits, while others worry for the welfare of people in sweatshops who make the garments (but are seemingly less bothered about premium brands who do the same things).

Now, the budget fashion vendor is in hot water for getting all thinspo. A mannequin was spotted in one of the store’s windows and, as the photo shows, the ribs are sticking out on it.

primark ribs 500x500 Primark cause a stink with protruding ribs mannequin

Shopper Mel Fraser wasn’t happy about it after seeing it in Glasgow. She messaged Primark directly, asking: “Dear Primark, is it really necessary that these new mannequins have protruding ribs?”

She continued: “I’d just like to see mannequins in all different shapes and sizes in all stores rather than young girls thinking this is the only way to be.”

Of course, thin mannequins also represent one of the shapes and sizes a woman can be, but you get the picture.

Primark replied, saying they’d look into it and said that they are currently changing its window displays. They’ve removed the dummy and in a tweet, said: “The mannequin you describe will not be used in this way again.”

Co op 292x300 Co op stores play unsigned bands... staff unhappyThe Co-op have decided to play music from unsigned bands in their shops in a bid to make everyone think they’re the lovely, kind supermarket on the High Street. They want to improve their image after all manner of drugs and sex-work was associated with them.

The Co-op signed a deal with licensing agency Emerge, which doles out music from unsigned bands and musicians to shops like Argos and Sports Direct. Crucially, deals with Emerge cost half a much as playing music by signed-artists.

“Shops normally have to pay a public performance licence to play well-known music, but the artists we represent are emerging artists and we create a direct licence between the business and the artist,” Gideon Chain of Emerge told The Telegraph.

“We then supply their music to the businesses, which is about 50 per cent cheaper than if they wanted to pay mainstream artists,” added Chain.

However, the supermarket’s employees are not happy about the unsigned bands being played in their stores and have started griping about it online, saying that they want rid of this ”terrible” music, which they have to endure all day. The Grocer reports that staff are demanding an immediate return to recognisable artists.

“The new cooperative radio unsigned artists initiative is absolutely diabolical,” one employee posted to The Co-Op Employees’ page. “More so for staff than customers. People want familiarity and songs they know, not to mention the staff who are subjected to these songs on a loop on a daily basis.”

Another angry employee spat that “even hipsters” would not listen to the “rubbish” music being played in their branch.

Should we introduce a supermarket levy?

July 28th, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

supermarket sweep b 300x225 Should we introduce a supermarket levy?There have been calls for local authorities to be allowed to impose ‘supermarket levies’ so they can help to revive town centres.

However, if the supermarkets get charged for existing, then they’re going to stick the price of their products up aren’t they?

These proposals has been put forward by a group of councils, led by authority in Derby. They think that these levies could generate as much as £400 million.

Anyway, those in the know about supermarkets think this is a bad idea.

“Profit margins at supermarkets are wafer thin. You cannot just continue to take money out in taxes before prices will have to rise. The business rates system needs overhauling and simplifying and this would only add more of a burden and more complexity,” said one supermarket source to the ThisIsMoney.

Derby City Council leader Ranjit Banwait said that life was being ‘sucked out of the city centre’ by out-of-town supermarkets and that, if they’re going to dominate local traders out of business, they should pay something back to the community.

The submission was made under the terms of the Sustainable Communities Act which encourages local initiatives and would apply to stores with a rateable value of £500,000 or more.

Surely there’s better ways of councils kicking some life back into their communities? If town centres are suffering, then how about going easy on the cost of parking in the community, which is just as prohibitive as anything else? Or maybe they should offer reduced business rates to independent businesses who are trying to offer something different to the hypermarkets?

Of course, one way of saving the country loads of money is to look at the expenses and budgets of local councillors too, but chances are, this union of local authorities aren’t as keen on that.

Can Fred save Premier Foods?

July 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

fred Can Fred save Premier Foods?Premier Foods are relaunching Mr Kipling and bringing Homepride’s Fred back in a hope to reverse its fortunes, after revealing a £54.9 million half year pre-tax loss.

Sales fell 6.1% to £364.4 million in the first half of the year as difficult market conditions in the supermarkets sector hit the food group.

Along with Mr Kipling and Homepride, the company also looks after OXO, Bisto, Sharwoods, Batchelors, Ambrosia and, oh, Loyd Grossman.

As well as that lot, the company’s ‘support brands’ include Angel Delight, Birds, Saxa, Paxo, Atora, Cadburys (cakes end), Smash, Marvel, McDougalls and Lyons.

Or what they call in the trade ‘ambient grocery’. Amazing.

Basically, if you don’t own or use at least one of those items, then you’re a social outcast and deserve to have urchins point and laugh at you in the street.

Gavin Darby of Premier has tried to calm the unrest by saying: “We grew profitability and most of our ammunition is yet to fire. The second half of the year will see a number of new product launches.”

The company is rumoured to be ploughing £30 million into a marketing spend, with new Mr Kipling adverts happening in August.

Following that, there’ll be a number of other product launches, including Bisto gravy and casserole pastes, Batchelors deli-box cous cous, Sharwood’s mini poppadoms and Cadbury sponge pudding desserts.

Cous-cous. I ask you.

And jolly floury chum Fred returns Bowie-ly to our screens after seven years, for the first major Homepride adverts in a decade.

For the period Premier Foods said trading profit was up 2.1% to £48.1 million, better than analysts expected, and it said profit expectations for the year remain unchanged.

Gross profit margin rose from 33.2% to 34.6%. The pre-tax loss  was largely because of a write-off of financing costs.

Looks like they’re banking on a revival of ’80s food.

Deathwatch: Crocs (Hurrah!)

July 23rd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

crocs 300x137 Deathwatch: Crocs (Hurrah!)Crocs, the ghastly footwear, are in crisis.

Once upon a time, back in the last decade, Crocs became a thing, as the comfy waterproof clog-styled footwear-eyesores were bloody everywhere.

Today, they are looking at laying off 180 staff and closing 100 stores worldwide.

And no wonder. Look at them. Completely vile.

The company’s profits slumped more than 40% last year, with outlets in America and Asia noticing a big slump, whereas over in Europe there’s been a mild growth.

The company plans to simplify its range to save $10 million, although one would motion that they could simplify it easily enough by destroying every trace of Crocs in the universe.

Six months ago, Blackstone, the private equity firm, invested £117m in a 13.5% stake in the company, which has about 600 stores around the world, including three in the UK. They won’t be happy.

Andrew Rees, the Croc president, said: ”We have a clear, well-defined strategy for addressing these issues and improving performance. Work is under way already to drive significant change throughout our company.”

Originally conceived as a sort-of boat shoe, Crocs came to attention when the likes of Jack Nicholson and George Bush started hoofing about in a pair.

By 2009, profits took a dive, as everyone saw sense and went “URGH GET THEM AWAY FROM ME”.

Aldi is COMING

July 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Lucy Sweet

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi is COMING First it was Lidl. Now Aldi are looking to expand in the UK and blitzkrieg the supermarket scene like a giant budget zeppelin.

Tesco, who are currently crying into a bag of their ill-fated own brand salt and vinegar doughnuts, will be quaking at the news that the German brand is planning a £600m expansion. It’s planning to open 60 new stores and a massive distribution centre in the Venice of the North – Barnsley – and it’s also making in-roads into city centre convenience stores.

This is Aldi’s biggest investment in the UK to date, and will double its workforce to 24,000.

Unlike Tesco, confidence is running high at Aldi, and they’re expected to announce a profit jump of 25% when it releases its figures in September.

Managing Director Roman Heini said that Aldi’s business model was simple and that gave them a chance to be close to the market. ‘I’m glad we don’t have huge complex beasts with online, banking and huge ranges.’

(He means Tesco).

Joint managing director Matthew Barnes added, rather evilly: ‘We have been happy for our growth to be below the radar. We are even more happy if the other grocers are not worried about us.’

(That means they’re going to ATTACK Tesco with cheapness).

Be afraid, retailers. Be very afraid.

pop up 300x300 Pop up shops arent just annoying    theyre also worth £2.1bn The phrase ‘pop up’ surely has to be one of the most odious in recent memory, along with ‘heads up’ and ‘totes.’

But it turns out that rather than just being a trendy, half-arsed conceit pedalled by drinks brands, vintage stores and other self consciously hip companies, pop up shops are actually making money for the economy: £2.1bn, in fact.

Pop up shops are the children of the recession – temporary stores in empty properties or in town centres where rents are too high to sustain them – so it’s no surprise that they’re flourishing.

But a recent study by EE suggests they’re an economic force to be reckoned with. There are 9400 pop up shops in the UK, which employ 23,400 people – and they’re likely to grow by 8.4% in the coming year.

We’re spending money in them, too. The report predicts that the average customer spend will grow from £110 to £120 next year.

Mike Tomlinson from EE says that pop up shops are a ‘breath of fresh air’ and ‘truly embody the entrepreneurial nature of the UK.’

So think about that next time you’re in that shady branch of American Sweets, looking at a dusty box of Lucky Charms and wondering whether it’s all a front for money laundering.

uk coins Consumers more concerned with corporate tax avoidance than ethical issuesWhen you are selecting a product, what criteria do you use to choose one product over another? Leaving personal preference aside, things like price and quality are front runners. But then what? After sustained campaigns by organisations such as Tax Research UK or Ethical Consumer, the importance of corporate tax avoidance on purchasing decisions may just surprise you.

New research by YouGov for KPMG’s newly launched Consumer Insights Panel suggests that corporate tax avoidance is more important to consumers in their buying decisions than other ethical considerations, like treatment of suppliers and staff.

The survey of 2,000 people found that although price (52%) and quality (39%) were top determining factors, one in four (25%) cited corporate tax avoidance activities as something they would take into consideration when selecting brands and products. This means that a company’s attitude towards paying tax therefore holds greater sway than treating suppliers (18%) and staff (17%) fairly, environmental impact (15%) and charitable giving (2%) in the eyes of consumers.

While this is bad news for tax avoidance offenders- the most high profile of whom, such as Starbucks and Amazon, have suffered boycotting campaigns, others like John Lewis have been using their tax-paying status as a marketing tool. And it seems to be working. However, consumers sometimes feel their right to choose is being impeded by their lack of knowledge. Half of respondents said they wanted greater transparency over which multinational company owned which brand names, to help them choose the most tax-ethical brands.

Liz Claydon, head of consumer markets at KPMG said “In the past, one of the reasons that companies haven’t been transparent about corporate branding is that the link can potentially be seen to be damaging.” However, she added that “most big multinational companies now absolutely want to link their products to their corporate brand.” Presumably, however, she means the ones who aren’t avoiding all their UK corporation tax…

Sainsburys now running on old shit

July 21st, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys now running on old shitA branch of Sainsburys in the West Midlands has become the first retail outlet in the UK to come away from the National Grid.

The Cannock branch of the supermarket chain is being powered by food waste alone, and is working together with recycling company Biffa on new technology, allowing them to run solely generated from anaerobic digestion.

As of today, the store will run solely from outta date food and stuff that would otherwise end up in landfill.

The supermarket has stressed that they still donate any food to charity and also animal feed and  items that simply cannot be re-sold on to the customer. Fr’instance Waste bananas from its Prescot Road store in Liverpool go to Knowsley safari park to feed the monkeys.

Sainsbury’s is already the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes each year. Food waste from the chain’s supermarkets around the UK is delivered by lorry to Biffa’s plant in Cannock, and turned into bio-methane gas which is then used to generate electricity that is directly supplied to the supermarket via a newly constructed 1.5km-long electricity cable.

This is all amazing news, although anyone fancying diving into the skips at closing may be advised to be careful and stay sharp in case they end up becoming electricity.

Tesco chief-exec jumps ship after profit warning

July 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

for b3ta tesco value droid 192x300 Tesco chief exec jumps ship after profit warningTesco are incredibly successful, which is why it is funny when they have a bit of turbulence. Their chief-executive – Philip Clarke – is now the ex-chief-exec as he’s resigned following a profits warning. He’s already been replaced by Unilever exec and non-executive director of BSkyB, Dave Lewis.

It is worth pointing out that Tesco are still making a shedload of money and that Philip Clarke is still considerably wealthier than anyone we know.

Tesco have said that trading conditions were more challenging than anticipated and that sales and trading profit in the first half of the year were below expectations. Of course, they had to say it was trading conditions, rather than holding their hands up and saying ‘we’ve kinda been crap for a while now are we’re sad that everyone has started to notice and shop elsewhere.’

During Clarke’s tenure, Tesco have seen three years of falling sales in Britain

Some of the board have backed Clarke, saying that major restructuring at Tesco has been part of the problem, as well as the advancing influence of Lidl and Aldi and online shopping. Others, meanwhile, think Clarke had an attitude problem.

Sir Richard Broadbent, the Tesco chairman, said: “Having guided Tesco through a substantial re-positioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile.”

Clarke said: “Having taken the business through the huge challenges of the last few years, I think this is the right moment to hand over responsibility and I am delighted that Dave Lewis has agreed to join us.”

Hands up if you think anything’s going to noticeably change at Tesco…

Carphone and Three: Together at last?

July 18th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

three1 300x292 Carphone and Three: Together at last?Carphone Warehouse – or should we say Dixons Carphone Whorehouse or whatever they’re called now – are in talks with mobile operator Three to launch its own mobile network.

Carphone had been in discussions with several UK networks, but apparently Three are the ones who been the most interested, as the company looks past its usual fare of simply flogging phones.

It also looks more likely since Carphone Warehouse announced it was planning on setting up an MVNO in Ireland using Three’s network. The new network, set to go live in mid-2015, will utilise the newly-combined Three and O2 Ireland networks, which merged last month in a €780m deal.

Carphone Warehouse already has an existing partnership with Vodafone to resell low-cost contracts under the Talkmobile brand, a partnership which currently boasts around 700,000 customers and is set to continue.

It will certainly stir up shit with other UK mobile operators, who’ll be less likely to want to be involved with Carphone, such as EE, who want to focus on direct selling to its customers.

Yeah. Good luck with that EE!

Aldi offer cheapest school uniform yet

July 18th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Aldi uniform 2976900b 300x187 Aldi offer cheapest school uniform yetThe schools have barely shut and already the BACK TO SCHOOL offers are a-happening on the high street.

Previous years have seen the likes of Asda and Tesco get into the cheap school uniform market, offering them at next to nothing.

Now Aldi have waded in for the second year running, offering the cheapest deal yet, in the shape of the £4 school uniform.

The German supermarket is selling a round neck sweater, two plain polo shirts and either a pair of trousers or a skirt for £4.

Asda are offering the same deal, but for £7.50, making it now one of the most expensive options for supermarket school uniforms. Tesco and Sainsbury’s currently charge £6.75 and £7.33 respectively.

Noticeably, Aldi had been selling school kit since last year, but as the chain has had something of a magnificent 12 months, and as shoppers are less brand-conscious and more thrifty, their offering this year poses a real threat to the competition.

Just in case you feared the uniforms were being knocked up by some orphans in a toilet, a spokesman for Aldi said: ”As a responsible business, we are committed to respecting the human rights of workers in our supply chains and we continue to work with our suppliers towards continuous improvement in ethical standards.”

“We promote workplace practices and conditions that are safe, fair and legal for all those involved in making our products.”

It makes sense. Kids seem to go through school uniforms like they were made of paper, and they’re not that bothered about brands and the like until they hit the 9/10 age. Then you’ll be doing six jobs to buy them some trainers that some bully will rob off them at knifepoint.

Ah, childhood!

Lidl goes FANCY

July 15th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Châteauneuf du Pape AC Aldi Lidl goes FANCY In a direct attempt to wooooo middle class shoppers who would rather flagellate themselves with uncooked quinoa than set foot in a Lidl, the German budget supermarket is now offering fancy French wines alongside the off-brand dodgy cider and cans of beer with ‘BEER’ written on them.

Yes, Lidl is seriously stepping on the other supermarket’s toes here, offering wine from the Chateauneuf-de-Pape vineyards for much cheaper than anywhere else. Prices start from £4.99 for a cheeky white Cote de Gascogne (nothing to do with Gazza mercifully) to £21.99 for a 2006 Chateau La Tour.

Lidl are spending £12 million – the most they’ve ever spent – on this product launch, and are hoping to change the way the budget supermarket is seen by the middle classes – and lure them away from Waitrose.

Ben Hulme, senior buying manager for wines at Lidl, said: ‘Our choice offers extraordinary value for money for some of the best wines in the world. Our pricing is transparent and open, unlike a lot of the permanent ‘offers’ on the High Street.’

Of course, everyone knows that the middle classes secretly shop at Lidl anyway, buying up parmesan and Parma ham undercover of darkness while wearing joggy bottoms to hide their shameful privilege…