Tesco turn away non-Black Friday shoppers

November 27th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco turn away non Black Friday shoppersTesco – who don’t seem to know their arse from their elbow at the minute – have embraced Black Friday by turning away shoppers who didn’t want to take part in it, when their doors opened at 5am.

All over Twitter, people have been griping about it, with one in Edinburgh saying: “Was delighted to discover your Corstorphine store is happy to turn away anyone not wanting to buy a TV today. Won’t be back.”

“Got in as was there for ‘normal’ shopping, got basket, then told by two female staff I couldn’t buy anything as it was black Friday?”

Tesco replied that their stores open at 7am for customers who don’t want to take part in Black Friday. That seems completely counter-intuitive, but that’s Tesco in 2015 for you.

A spokesman for Tesco said: “Our Black Friday event has been very popular so far and feedback from customers has been extremely positive. As part of our plans, we advised customers not participating in the event to visit our stores after 7am. Colleagues have been on hand to help the very small number of customers who needed assistance.”


Tesco drivers to strike over Christmas?

November 25th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tesco Tesco drivers to strike over Christmas?Tesco have got some bad news in the run-up to Christmas, as 700 drivers and warehouse staff are threatening to go on strike.

The supermarket has frozen pay for drivers and warehouse staff in Belfast and Doncaster for this year, and now they’re being balloted by their union, and if they strike at the earliest opportunity, that means they could be downing tools on December 18th. If you’re in those areas, get your Christmas shopping delivered before then, eh? Or shop somewhere else, obviously.

That said, Tesco are being bullish about the whole situation, and said that ”any industrial action at these two sites will have no noticeable effect on Tesco customers”.

A Tesco spokesman said: “For the past several months we have been engaged in dialogue with our unions over our normal annual pay negotiations in our distribution centres. A two-year pay proposal has been fully recommended for acceptance by Usdaw across 20 of our sites and colleagues are currently voting on this offer.”

“The approach from Unite is clearly counterproductive, as we have always been committed to pay discussions, and is surprising given Unite had initially agreed to new talks. We want all of our distribution colleagues to support our turnaround plans, and work together to better serve our customers.”

Unite national officer Adrian Jones returned serve: “Our members have been working very hard to get Tesco to the position where the company can announce such promising results and be confident that it has turned the corner of the challenges of recent years.”

“We don’t want favours from the company but we believe that the current offer is far below what it can afford and what our members deserve. Unite members don’t want to disrupt anyone’s Christmas shopping but without a proper pay increase thousands of workers will not be able to enjoy their own Christmas in the way they deserve.”

“We urge Tesco to revise its pitiful pay offer and avoid potential industrial action in the run-up to Christmas.”

Toys R Us ditch boys and girls categories

November 24th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

toys r us 300x300 Toys R Us ditch boys and girls categoriesToys R Us are putting an end to categorising toys into boys and girls categories. This means that they’ll be selling toys and it’ll be up to your child which ones they want. It is a good move, which ultimately won’t change much in the way of shopping habits, but still, it is nice to open all the toys up to children.

This of course, came about after pressure from a group called Let Toys Be Toys and, thanks to them being campaigners, it means that some people will automatically be against whatever it is they’re saying – that’s how humans work. Group A says “CHANGE THINGS!” Group B complain and reply with “LEAVE EVERYTHING ALONE!”

Either way, you’ll now search for toys by age-group, brand, or type of toy, rather than gender. Of course, some parents will think that this is going to make shopping for their children more difficult, but really, buying toys for kids is a nightmare regardless of how it is offered to you.

Obviously, television commercials and marketing won’t be changing the way they do things, which means Toys R Us changing their system won’t mean that girls will stop being ushered toward dolls, and boys toward diggers, but it is something. And of course, parents will influence what they want their children to play with, but all the same, if you shop at Toys R Us, the shelves will no longer categorise things into things for girls, and things for boys.

Tesco take on rivals with £6 lobster!

November 20th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

lobster Tesco take on rivals with £6 lobster!Seems like the mighty lobster is the thing that the supermarkets are going to war over, which is good news for those of us who like to eat things with massive claws.

We all know that Lidl and Aldi have offered cheapo lobster, but now, Tesco are at it. Lidl have been selling them for £4.99, while Aldi plans to sell whole lobster four days before Christmas for £9.99.

Tesco’s offering gets right into the mix, as they’re selling whole frozen Canadian lobster for £6 (and they’re a bit bigger than Lidl’s offering). They’re not stopping there – Tesco are also going to be selling a £9 bottle of Louis Dealuney Champagne, so you can be really fancy on a budget.

“Customers are clearly developing a taste for luxury food and this year we are helping to make it even more affordable for them by offering a delicious lobster for just £6,” said Tesco’s frozen fish buyer Gary Mannion. “The key to buying lobster is not to be fooled by buying a smaller and cheaper lobster which offers less meat for your money.”

While this is a direct rip-off of Tesco’s German counterparts, this is more like it – no confusing deals and schemes, just cheap stuff we can throw down our necks.

Tesco are right to look at what Aldi are doing, as recently, they overtook Waitrose in terms of market share.

Yes we know it’s only November, but the last posting dates for Christmas will soon be upon us with some of them coming early in December (see below)- UK cards need to be posted by Saturday 19th (for second class) or Monday 21st for first class. And those are the dates for airmail (now catchily and informatively known as “International Standard” mail)- some surface mail last posting dates were as far back as September. So it’s not too early to be thinking about your Christmas cards and whether you go for charity cards or nice cards.

airmail 500x342 How much goodwill is in charity Christmas cards  and when to post them

The pay off with Christmas cards is normally that they are funny/beautiful/cute or that they are charity cards- you can’t have your cake and eat it, even at Christmas. But if you are going to go for the charity cards at least you can relax knowing your money is going to a good cause right? Right?

Well, that depends. Depends on how much cash you think the charity is going to get from your card purchase. Our friends over at Which!!! have even investigated this matter for us and found that some retailers donate as little as 7% of profits from charity Christmas cards to good causes, meaning some charities only get around 10p per pack.

Top of the stingy stakes is the Co-op, who give just 10p from its £1.50 cards to food poverty charity FareShare. This is the equivalent of just 7% per pack. Lidl aren’t much better, with the equivalent of 8% (10p) of the £1.19 pack price going to child cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

The full list of donation amounts is found in the table below, and donations range from 100% for the WH Smith Children in Need cards, before dropping sharply to 25% from the next best donator, the ever-impressive Aldi. WH Smith appears three times as it has a number of different cards and donations.

xmascards 500x453 How much goodwill is in charity Christmas cards  and when to post them

table from Which?

You may also have spotted some notable exceptions from the list. Asda says that it is not selling charity Christmas cards this year and while Morrisons is selling cards for Sue Ryder, they will donate £50,000 to the charity regardless of how many packs are sold. Tesco is also selling a range of charity cards but will donate a total of £300,000 to Diabetes UK and the British Heart Foundation.

Of course, given the age of social media you could instead buy no cards and just post a cheesy video of you and your family pretending to be hyperactive elves on your page, donating the would-have-spent cash to charity instead. Or, if you must send a card, why not buy direct from the charity website as this will usually guarantee a greater proportion going to the actual charity- some sites, like the Parkinsons site promise 100% of profits will be received from the sale of cards.

Or, you could go totally Bah Humbug and do nothing at all. It’s not like you have any friends anyway…

Asda to ditch their Price Guarantee?

November 18th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ASDA logo Asda to ditch their Price Guarantee?With the UK’s populace getting really bored of shops throwing confusing offers, preferring to shop at places that just keep things cheap, Asda have finally caught wind of the mood, and have confirmed that they’re looking at their Price Guarantee loyalty scheme, and now it is officially “under review”.

Before anyone gets too excited, Asda may well be keeping the scheme and simply look at reviewing the terms, and looking at the way they market it to customers. However, in that review, they may also decide to ditch it altogether.

As well as a general malaise toward these things, another issue that Asda will be mindful of, is how their Price Guarantee has been challenged by rivals in the past, which resulted in the Advertising Standards Authority banning an advert which promoted it.

Either way, while Asda’s Price Guarantee asks their customers to compare the cost of comparable groceries, and then work out whether the total cost is 10% cheaper at Asda or not, resulting in a voucher that you can spend at Asda, people have been drawn to Lidl and Aldi, where things are just cheaper than everywhere else. No messing.

Of course, Morrisons recently ditched a similar scheme, which could well sway Asda who, in a review called ‘Project Renewal’, vowed to get themselves back to a “simpler way of doing business” in order to “deliver market leading value in a way customers will notice”.

Chief executive Andy Clark said: “Increasing our focus on the core business means strengthening some areas while pausing activity in others which will allow us to sharpen our customer offer and continue to improve operational efficiency. I’m confident that by reinforcing our offer we can further extend our price advantage over major competitors and close the gap against the limited assortment discounters – not only on price, but across range, service and quality.”

Ikea to open shop on Oxford Street

November 17th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ikea Ikea to open shop on Oxford StreetIf you live outside of London, you’ll invariably not care about this news – but Ikea is in talks to open a shop on the famous Oxford Street. Imagine trying to carry an unassembled bed through all the tutting workers and slow-walking tourists.

The Swedish furniture vendors are looking at taking over part of BHS’s Oxford Street store, using the space to be a click & collect store.

“Over the coming year we plan to test three order and collection points in the UK, exploring slightly different formats in each selected market,” Ikea said, thrillingly. “We will use these tests as an opportunity to find out more about how customers want to shop with Ikea in these areas.”

Ikea have opened up one of these collection points already, in Norwich, with another due in Aberdeen in early 2016.

The retailer added: “We are also exploring a number of other potential locations across the UK, one of which is the current BHS building on Oxford Street. While we are seriously considering this opportunity, we have nothing to confirm at this point in time while discussions are ongoing.”

This is the latest thing that has captured the attentions of retailers, with Argos looking at the high street for collection points, as well as Carpetright and B&Q. The only thing we’re thinking here, is: can you even park your car anywhere on Oxford Street?

Tesco to avoid midnight starts on Black Friday

November 16th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

tesco Tesco to avoid midnight starts on Black FridayAfter the carnage that was last year’s Black Friday, Tesco are going to delay their opening times for the bigger supermarkets. Initially, Tesco were going to fling their doors open at midnight, but now they’re going to give their staff a chance to prepare at the 250 Extra stores on 27th November, by opening at 5am.

Will it make any difference? Probably not, but Tesco are reacting to a police warning, that said supermarkets needed to make sure they were sufficiently prepared in terms of security and generally maintaining some order.

The supermarket said that they have individually assessed each store, and will be making sure there’s extra support with more security guards and barriers to make queuing safer.

“This change will allow us to provide the best possible service to help our customers,” a spokesman said.

As you know, Asda are not going headlong into Black Friday this year, and have decided to tone down their involvement. Rather than offer all their discounts on one day, they’re going to run promotions over a number of weeks, in the lead up to Christmas.

Either way, if you’re up for punching someone’s lights out over a barbecue set and a console system, you can now get some shut-eye instead of waiting up ’til midnight. You’ll be fresh as a daisy and ready to rumble.

Black Friday costs retailers £180m

November 16th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

black friday 2015 300x149 Black Friday costs retailers £180mWhile many might think that Black Friday is a gold rush for retailers in the UK, there are drawbacks. First off, you’ve got the bad press that comes with people punching each other over tellies in your aisles – and then you’ve got people returning goods they’ve bought on the day.

A report says that UK retailers could be hit with costs of £180m, after consumers snag products on Black Friday, but end up returning their goods. Either way, predictions say that this could be the first year where internet sales pass £1bn thanks to Black Friday 2015.

Thanks to those a bit too keen to fill their baskets, retailers could lose money on returns, if you take lost margins, oversupply of stock, cleaning and storage costs, and the lost value of future custom into account.

“What retailers must remember is a sale is only a sale when a customer decides to keep an item – and the promise of a Black Friday discount alone might not be enough to close the expectation gap and secure a ‘keep’,” said Vicky Brock, founder and chief executive of Clear Returns. ”While on the surface, Black Friday is deemed to be a successful key trading day, but it’s a gloomier picture once returns are factored in.”

Clear Returns say that, by December, £600m worth of stock bought between Black Friday and early December is going to tied-up in the returns system, which means the shops won’t be able to get the products back on the shelves in time for the Christmas rush. This will result in ‘Out Of Stock Saturday’ on December 12th, apparently.

Obviously, shoppers should keep their wits about them during the Black Friday hysteria, and not be swayed into purchases that feel like ‘now or never’, when in fact, they’re not very good.

Keep your head screwed on, keep checking Bitterwallet for the good bargains, and only go for stuff you really want, or that is genuinely a good price. There’s also a dedicated Black Friday section with our pals at HUKD which you should definitely keep an eye on.

ASDA logo Now you can collect and return third party online orders from AsdaAsda is allowing everyone to collect and return online orders placed with third party retailers through any one of their stores across Britain, via a service called ToYou.

The first to sign up with this scheme, is fashion retailer Missguided. The fashion retailer has been the victim of its own success of late, with a lot of complaints floating around on social media, because of late deliveries as the company are unable to keep up with demand. Presumably, teaming up with Asda, could help relieve some of their problems.

Asda are talking to four more companies too. Customers will be able to track orders, and collect from in-store booths and kiosks at Asda stores, and they say that ToYou can offer 24-hour delivery on orders that are set before 9pm. We’ll see.

“Interest for internet shopping is continually expanding and with it develops the craving of online merchants to have physical stores where their clients can get to, said Ian Stansfield, Vice President of Asda’s logistics services and supply chain. “Not just are we furnishing online retailers with a vicinity on the high road but on the other hand we’re connecting a hole for clients who need to gather or return their online orders while completing their window-shopping.”

With Asda’s sales on the decline lately, this could be just the thing to get people coming through their doors again.

Product Recall: URGENT recall on these Fisher Price Car Seats

November 11th, 2015 9 Comments By Bitterwallet News

URGENT RECALL – Fisher Price Car Seats

If you’re popping your little bundle of joy into one of these three car seats, Fisher Price have issued an urgent recall.

recall 500x250 Product Recall: URGENT recall on these Fisher Price Car Seats

The recall affects three seats and calls for customers to return their purchase to Argos immediately for a full refund.

We have identified a potential safety issue with three Fisher Price Car Seats. The safety restraints do not fully comply with our test   requirements and could compromise child’s safety in the event of an accident.

If you have one of these car seats, please STOP USING IT IMMEDIATELY and return to an Argos store for a full refund, or replacement.

Argos have set up a helpline for customers with any questions regarding this recall – you can reach them on 0800 917 0722

Get more info on current product recalls and what you should do here


Mr. Happy Aldi & Lidl give the worlds best shopping experience

Aldi and Lidl continue to annoy Britain’s biggest supermarkets, as they’ve been named the world’s top brands for giving customers a good shopping experience. They’ve been praised for giving everyone a simple, clear, and hassle-free time of it when we’re collectively down the shops.

Aldi came top in the annual Global Brand Simplicity Index for the sixth year on the bounce, with Lidl coming third. Google came second, but they’re not a proper shop. Likewise, Netflix, who came in fourth spot.

“Brands that offer simpler customer experiences are rewarded with passionate customer loyalty, more innovative employees and greater revenue. In short, embracing simplicity improves the bottom line for brands and organisations,” said Howard Belk of Siegel & Gale, who conducted the poll.

Of course, Aldi has been topping a number of polls lately, surpassing Tesco for brand value earlier this year. Everyone else needs to up their game, clearly.

McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC also got in the top 10, while the bottom 10 was filled with banks and insurance companies. No surprise there. Ryanair, if you’re wondering, despite their attempts to be friendlier, still came third bottom. More needs to be done there, obviously.

Top 10 brands worldwide from Global Brand Simplicity Index:

1. Aldi
2. Google
3. Lidl
4. Netflix
5. McDonald’s
6. Burger King
7. Ikea
8. YouTube
9. eBay
10. KFC

black friday 2015 300x149 Amazon and Argos tell us what to expect from Black FridayBlack Friday is on the way, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You can literally do nothing about it, if you like. Anyway, Amazon and Argos have started dropping hints about what they’ll be doing, and there’s going to be a lot of deals indeed.

Amazon have said that they’re going to offer over 7,000 deals for Black Friday 2015, starting Monday November 23rd and finishing on Sunday November 29th.

As ever, there’ll be the usual ‘lightning deals’, where deals will appear for a limited time, and they’ll also have a ’deals of the day’ section, with items available at knock-down prices for 24 hours.

Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, said: “Customers love Black Friday. Every year we see more excitement and more demand for great deals. That is why we now have more than 20 times the number of deals than we had back in 2010 when we first introduced Black Friday to the UK.”

“Black Friday looks set to be the biggest sales day of the year. Last year we saw unprecedented demand for deals from the early hours of the morning through to the late hours of the night and we are confident that the trend will continue this year.”

This follows Argos announcing their Black Friday plans. They said that deals will be available every Friday between now and December 25th, as they hope to relieve some of the chaos of Black Friday itself. They’re probably relieving some of their own pressure, and won’t end up making loads of customers angry again, with their doddering IT systems.

Argos has said its Blue, White and Red Fridays will allow shoppers to spread out their shopping and budget over several weeks, and the deals are already underway, with offers on Call of Duty Black Ops 3, an LG 4K Ultra HD Freeview TVs, and offers on Beats Solo 2 On Ear Headphones.

David Robinson, managing director at Argos, said: “Customers just can’t wait to start their Christmas shopping and we want to reclaim Fridays for Brits and celebrate them every week between now and Christmas. Fridays have always been a special day in the minds of the British public, whether it represents fish ‘n’ chips, drinks down the pub or simply the start of the weekend.”

“We are, of course, gearing up for Black Friday like everyone else, but we don’t think getting a great deal should wait until then and this weekend we know our customers will love our famous ‘3 for 2’ toys event and amazing ‘feel-good’ deals.”

Morrisons sales on the slide, again

November 5th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

new morrisons logo 300x212 Morrisons sales on the slide, againIn ‘lets all blame Lidl and Aldi!’ news again, Morrisons has reported another quarter of falling sales. Like-for-sales fell 2.6%, and it isn’t surprising when you consider this decline has been consistent for some years now.

“The business is moving at pace on the long journey towards improving the shopping trip for customers,” said David Potts, chief executive. “Our priorities for the rest of the year are unchanged – to stabilise trading, reduce costs and further improve the capability of the leadership team. We are making good progress in many areas and customers are noticing improvements.”

Of course, the supermarket sold off their 140 M Local shops earlier this year, and have also closed a number of supermarkets that weren’t making the company any money. They also booked a £1.3bn write-down on the value of its supermarkets.

Morrisons have said that they’re getting rid of complex promotions, and all those other things that consumers just don’t like. They introduced a confusing price-match scheme, but quickly ditched it when they realised no-one wanted it. There’s more expense coming their way, as they’re being sued by their own staff over a data breach.

However, they’re giving themselves a good name, with schemes like the one where they’re going to give unwanted food to charities and community groups.

With Aldi and Lidl keeping prices low, rather than offering bewildering deals and schemes, Morrisons would do well to crib notes from their German cousins.

M&S sales fall, for the millionth time

November 4th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

marks and spencer M&S sales fall, for the millionth timeHave you been shopping at Marks and Spencer recently? It would suggest no-one has, as their sales have gone and fallen again (for the six months to 26th September). With a shop as (formerly) reliable as M&S, how on Earth can the management balls this up?

As ever, food sales are good, and in fact, increasing – it is just in every other department that the chain is falling down on. General merchandise, including their clothing division, were down by 1.2%.

Of course, the company are still making a profit, but that figure has been falling year-on-year. And right on cue, we’ve got another shop saying that ‘conditions on the high street are challenging’. All the shops chuck that out when these things get announced.

M&S said: “In the second quarter we took a decision to focus on full price sales and discount less which affected sales performance. Despite some improvement in consumer confidence, market conditions continue to be challenging in both the UK and the international markets.”

See that? While their rivals are selling products more cheaply, or doing a number of sales and promotions, M&S aren’t. They’re not into that, and likewise, neither are British consumers. M&S are also designing their own clothing, which isn’t a bad idea, until you look at the clothes they’re actually trying to sell.

It looks like M&S are going to focus on food sales, which is a good idea, as there’s (forgive the pun) an appetite for their wares. Of course, they’ve just unleashed their Sparks promotion as well, which they’re hoping will get people back through the doors.

However, in other departments, M&S looks old-fashioned and overpriced. We’ll have to see if they can get their fingers out in the new year.