ScamWatch: Asda thieves post themselves stuff

January 30th, 2015 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Burglar Bill 001 300x180 ScamWatch: Asda thieves post themselves stuffBadman news now, and some cheeky urchins have been making off with DVDs and the like from an Asda, using the instore Post Office.

The Ellesmere Port branch in Cheshire has been forced to remove padded envelopes of the shelves after they realised that crooks were using them for wrongdoing.

While it wasn’t the entire area doing it, the Asda said it had narrowed it down to a small number of customers.

Asda was alerted to the scheme last month but it did not come to light until a baffled shopper questioned why envelopes had been moved the other side of the shop to the Post Office where they were needed.

A customer said on a Facebook post that they’d asked about this and got told by the music and games assistant: “It’s because people used to pick them off the shelves, stuff DVDs and such like into them from the store, then post it back to themselves,” he wrote.

“So, stealing without taking anything out of the store. The Post Office then takes it away without you going through the alarm gate.”

“You’ve got to hand it to the crims in the port, it was worth all the hassle just to hear that story!!

Asda have said it was a serious thing and remain unamused. They said they’d be getting the police involved too. So there. “We take shoplifting very seriously and work with the local police to ensure this doesn’t happen in our stores,” a spokesperson said. “This allows us to continue to offer the low prices that customers expect from Asda.”

Argos: in a Sainsbury’s near you!

January 29th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

argos logo 300x230 Argos: in a Sainsburys near you!Argos are branching out and embracing digital sales by opening up some concessions inside some Sainsbury’s shops.

Initially, there’ll be 10 mini-Argos stores at Sainsbury’s, which will be open by summertime.

As Argos move away from relying solely on catalogues, this is a cheaper way for them to expand and, Sainsbury’s themselves who are under increasing pressure from their rivals will welcome any extra footfall that comes their way.

The joint-statement said: “These new format Argos digital stores will provide customers with a choice of over 20,000 non-grocery products which they can either buy instantly in store via tablets, or reserve online for easy collection within hours, the same or the following day.”

“An extended range of around 40,000 products can also be ordered in store for home delivery. The Argos digital stores in Sainsbury’s will range in size from around 1,000 to over 5,000 square feet.”

Sainsbury’s are keen to grab more concessions as Argos is just one of 30 they’d signed-up, including Jessops and Timpsons.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “These 10 Argos stores will complement our supermarket offer, giving customers the opportunity to shop for an extended range of non-food items.

“They will bring something new and different to our customers, and fit well with our strategy of making our supermarkets more convenient.”

Tesco axe thousands of jobs at HQ and flog Blinkbox

January 29th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco woolwich Tesco axe thousands of jobs at HQ and flog BlinkboxNot only are Tesco closing loads of stores and losing the staff that worked there, there’s also a culling going on at their head office. This is going to involve job losses going into the thousands as the company look to rectify the mess that the new bosses inherited.

Sky News have reported that retail giant will start telling senior staff that there’s going to be some changes at the Tesco HQ, which currently employs around 8,000 members of staff.

Dave Lewis, Tesco’s new gaffer, had previously said that as many as 30% of the head office cost-base could be removed, and while that won’t just focus on sacking people, it looks like 2,000 jobs will be going at the very least.

With the Serious Fraud Office investigating Tesco’s £263m accountancy blackhole and 9 executives suspended, this is a troubling time for the supermarket.

Some money is coming back their way, as they’ve confirmed that TalkTalk is going to buy the Blinkbox Movies streaming service off them. TalkTalk will be getting it for a relative snip though, paying just £5m for it. Tesco’s broadband service has also been thrown into to the deal.

Tesco’s Blinkbox Books service has also found a buyer in ebook company Kobo. Customers of both the ebook and movie services will be integrated to the new companies in the coming weeks. This all closes Tesco’s chapter with Blinkbox, after they sold the music arm to Guvera earlier in the week.

A Blinkbox spokesperson said: “Those who access Blinkbox Books on a Hudl will be able to install the free Kobo reading app on their device. We will be communicating the timelines for the transition in due course.” An email will be sent to customers telling them what to do, also. The bad news is that Tesco customers with unspent credit on their accounts won’t be getting it transferred to Kobo.

Things are being shook-up in Tescoville.

Tesco recall squash with disgusting pong

January 29th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco Tesco recall squash with disgusting pongHave you been trying to drink Tesco’s No Added Sugar Double Concentrate Apple and Blackcurrant cordial? Have you been opening the bottle, to find your face recoiling in horror, pouring some out and your eyes start watering, then putting it to your lips and feeling like you’ve just uncovered a corpse in a woodland area?

You’re not alone as Tesco has recalled their squash after a number of complaints about it having a “disgusting smell”.

The supermarket behemoth have withdrawn the drink after a flavour additive was added “in error”.

Mercifully, this problem isn’t a food safety risk, but the supermarket had to admit that this additive has a “strong odour – similar to garlic, which customers are likely to find unpleasant”.

This follows the news that Tesco will be closing 43 stores and are looking to give the boot to even more in the coming year.

However, this recall isn’t the end of it for Tesco, as some parents have noticed that, after drinking the squash, their children were left with upset stomachs – although, being parents, they probably said ‘tum-tums’ or some other twee nonsense. Over on the PlayPennies website, parents have described the smell as “absolutely disgusting” with another saying it smelled like “rotten eggs”.

Some parents noted that their children had been vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea after drinking Tesco’s No Added Sugar Double Concentrate Apple and Blackcurrant.

Tesco have said: “We have investigated with our supplier complaints about Tesco No Added Sugar Double Concentrate Apple and Blackcurrant 750ml and 1.5l. A flavour additive, which is not part of the ingredients for this product, has been added in error. The additive is called Dimethyl Disulphide and is a common ingredient in food products.”

“It is an approved additive and poses no food safety risk. However, it does have a strong odour, similar to garlic, which customers are likely to find unpleasant. Only products bought since the New Year may be affected, they will have a best-before date of October 2015.”

“Any customers can return this product, open or unopened, to any Tesco store.”

If you’re wondering which juice it is, it is this one, as seen on the Tesco site. If you have an unopened bottle at home, it’d be a good idea to take it back before you end up with a child that ends up crapping everywhere.

Waitrose to create 2,000 jobs

January 28th, 2015 No Comments By Ian Wade

waitrose 1 300x224 Waitrose to create 2,000 jobsExciting job news now, as Waitrose have announced they plan to create 2,000 jobs. Someone’s doing alright aren’t they? Now they’re stopping all that free coffee business at least.

The fancy John Lewis-owned anti-Lidl is planning on opening 14 new stores in 2015, after it had a strong Christmas.

These new stores will be divided between convenience and actual supermarkets.

“Our expansion story continues as we take the brand to more customers,” said Nigel Keen, the supermarket’s development director. Last year many of our new branches received than more than 10 applications for every vacancy.”

Waitrose left the big four supermarkets crumbling, by outperforming them with a 2.8% rise at established stores and a 26.3% increase in sales via Waitrose.com.

Two of the new locations confirmed so far include Wollaton in Nottinghamshire and Milngavie in East Dunbartonshire. They’ll be dancing in the streets in Wollaton and Milngavie.

There’ll also be one at Kings Cross which will also have a cookery school in it. So you can work out how to peel an olive or something.

There’s also 100 new jobs being created at a new e-commerce depot in Coulsdon, south London, which is due to open in March. The facility is replacing Waitrose’s existing depot in rancid old Acton, west London, which has a staff of about 400.

The end of the free coffee from Waitrose!

January 28th, 2015 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

waitrose shopping bag 20 jpg The end of the free coffee from Waitrose!Remember when all those middle class ponces were frightened of being besieged by riff raff when Waitrose started offering free coffee?

Well, the supermarket has decided that this coffee business needs sorting out and have tightened up the promotion, saying that if you want a free brew option with your myWaitrose loyalty card, you’re going to have to buy some food at the same time.

Waitrose have been trialling this new promo at a number of stores, which isn’t surprising if you believe the figures of one retail expert who reckons it is costing the company as much as £150,000 a week to provide the free drink.

From February 9th, you’ll need to buy a butty or a cake to claim your free coffee across all the Waitrose shops. You’ll have to show a receipt if you want in.

Phil Dorrell, director of the retail consultancy Retail Remedy, said: “It was a very good commercial marketing ploy that has over the last few years become a little bit abused. It costs them money to do it and they’ve got to ask themselves is it worth it? Booths do exactly the same thing. Does it really benefit the actual Waitrose customer?”

“The execution of it at store level has been a little poor and allowed people to come in, get a free coffee and then not really shop – and a lot of these people would tend to do that on a frequent basis. That was not the intent of the card. The intent was a thank you from Waitrose. I think Waitrose when they did it were under pressure from all the other supermarkets doing a price war.”

“They wanted to make a statement to their customers saying “we’re different too”. It’s just a sort of expression of the fact that they were different.”

Dorrell reckons that the ingredients of the tea or coffee available at Waitrose is around 12p and 15p. According to his calculations, that’s around £150,000 a week going down the pan for the supermarket.

A Waitrose spokesman said: “Most people who have their myWaitrose free drink in the café understand that they should buy something from the café to have with their tea or coffee, and so we are simply confirming that. MyWaitrose members who would like to drink their free tea or coffee in the café will also need to buy something, in the café such as a sandwich, cake or piece of fruit to go with their drink. Customers can still buy a drink in the café too.”

“Of course myWaitrose customers can still get their free hot drink from the self-serve machines whilst they are shopping with us.”

Tesco to close 43 shops

January 28th, 2015 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco clubcard 300x168 Tesco to close 43 shopsTesco, in their bid to save a load of money, have announced that they’re going to be closing down 43 stores across the UK.

The majority of these closures will be Tesco Express shops, and it means around 2,000 people will be losing their jobs, or being moved around. On top of that, Tesco will be leaving their HQ in Cheshunt in 2016 after 40 years at the site and there looks like there’s going to be another 49 stores getting the axe too.

Lewis said: “In January I announced that our performance as a business has fallen significantly short of where we would want it to be and that to protect the future of the business in the UK we would close 43 unprofitable stores.”

“The decision to close the stores has been exceptionally difficult to take. I recognise it will affect many hard working colleagues, our customers and local communities.”

And so, to see if you live near one of the Tesco outlets that will be closing down, here’s a long list of place names.

Tesco Express Store Closures

Bearwood
Belvedere
Church Street Ballymena
Heaton Chapel
Heybridge Essex
Houghton Regis
Liverpool Kensington
Longbridge Road Barking
Northfield Birmingham
Raymouth Lane Worksop
Sheffield Manor
South Tottenham High Road
Tredegar
Troon Express store
Walsall Wood
Wealdstone
Whitley Bay
York Road Hartlepool

Tesco Metro Store Closures

Bicester
Bootle
Caerphilly
Crossgates
Devizes
Grangemouth
Mexborough
Morecambe
Ormskirk
Runcorn
Smethwick
Woodseats

Tesco Superstores Closures

Bedlington
Chatham
Connswater
Cregagh Road
Doncaster
Kirkcaldy
Wrexham Dodds Lane

And there’ll be these closures for Homeplus

Bristol Cribbs
Chelmsford
Chester
Edinburgh
Southampton
Staines

ASDA logo Asda change minimum spend on home deliveries to £40There’s going to be some furrowed brows and promises to shop elsewhere as Asda have changed the minimum spend terms & conditions for a home delivery.

Previously, the minimum you spend was £25, meaning you could get a weekly shop delivered to you and not worry too much about your spuds growing tentacles and your salad leaves not liquefying in the kitchen.

However, that’s all changed and now, the minimum spend for an Asda home delivery is £40. That’s according to their website, which you can see here.

There’s some grumbles online too. One Asda customers ranted on Twitter: “Not happy with @asda @AsdaServiceTeam changing their minimum home delivery from £25 to £40. You’ve just lost a customer. Next stop @Tesco”

Another said much the same thing: “So pissed off that @asda is now doing £40 minimum spend on food shop home delivery’s … guess ill be buying from Tesco’s now.”

Another added: “No longer a happy customer. Since [when] did you have to spend minimum £40 for home delivery?! @AsdaServiceTeam @asda”

So, by the looks of things, Tesco will be doing alright in the coming weeks, who still have a £25 minimum spend on their grocery delivery service. Other supermarkets are available…

EGGS 300x199 EasterWatch: Marmite and Pot Noodle eggs are now thingsCalm down the rioting, lovers of Pot Noodle and Marmite, for there IS an Easter egg for you after all.

Yes, Unilever have brought out Easter eggs for both their unique products, which they hope will ‘broaden the appeal of Easter’. Bloody Hell.

Each egg will have flavours of each product embedded within the chocolate, which may sound a bit mental, but actually might be quite nice. However, we at Bitterwallet can only go so far in fields of research, and will await public consensus before running to the nearest confectioners on this occasion.

Unilever has formed a partnership with the confectionery firm Kinnerton to deliver the chocolate egg which carries hints of Marmite and is promoted under the slogan ‘love it or hate it’.

Ah, they’re sticking with that slogan. One day Marmite will realise that people either love something or hate something in general, and their whole pitch will be rumbled.

The firm’s UK head of licensing Julie McCleave said: “Building on the success of our first ever Easter egg launch last year with iconic ice cream brands Magnum, Cornetto and Mini Milk, we wanted to bring something new to the Easter egg market once again for 2015. ”By broadening the appeal of the Easter egg fixture, we anticipate that the new additions will drive sales for retailers by offering an exciting new product from brands that consumers know and love.’

The Easter egg market is worth a whopping £365 million a year in the UK, so understandably, Marmite and Pot Noodle want in on a bit of that. Kinnerton’s Rachel Wyatt said: “Easter isn’t just for kids. We want to bring fun to Easter fixtures by using these two iconic brands. The Marmite Easter egg, which shoppers will either love or hate, combines Marmite with chocolate.”

‘Easter fixtures’. Good grief. Each egg will set you back a fiver.

SSE joins in with the energy price cuts

January 26th, 2015 No Comments By Ian Wade

sse SSE joins in with the energy price cutsSSE have become the latest energy company to announce a price cut.

The company become the fifth of ‘The Big Six’ energy firms to have announced a reduction in their price cuts, following recent moves by the likes of E.On, British Gas, Scottish Power and Npower.

Now they’re all staring at EDF to follow suit.

SSE will cut domestic gas prices by 4.1% from 30th April, which should save their average households around £28 a year. Whoop. They’ll be mindful that they’ve got to win people over after it was revealed that Ofgem are investigating them.

SSE – who have around 8.7 million customers – have also said it would extend its guarantee not to increase its gas and electricity prices until July 2016, and that wholesale energy costs now make up “less than half of the typical household energy bill”.

Steve Forbes, SSE’s director of GB Domestic, said: “We were the only supplier to freeze prices and we promised we would cut them if we could; now we’re delivering on that promise with an average £28 reduction in gas bills.”

“There are significant other costs within energy bills, including those relating to government-sponsored environmental and social policies and the roll-out of smart meters.”

Chipping in, Alistair Phillips-Davies, SSE’s chief executive, said: “Customers are at the heart of SSE’s business, and our work to secure their energy supplies in wholesale markets last spring enabled us to guarantee that prices would not increase until at least January 2016, showing we are committed to treating all of our customers fairly and to giving them stable prices over the long-term.”

“We’re being true to that commitment with a 4.1% reduction in the typical gas bill and an extended guarantee meaning gas and electricity prices won’t go up before July 2016 at the earliest.

SSE reckon the prolonged period of mild weather to 31 December 2014 meant that average consumption of electricity was estimated to have fallen by 5.6% while average consumption of gas dropped by almost 16%.

This ongoing set of price tumbles is responding to politicians and general “stop charging so much” level headed humans as well as due to the reduction in oil and gas prices. For that reason, the energy industry is undergoing a full scale inquiry from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the way it operates. The CMA inquiry is expected to report its provisional findings in May or June.

Deathwatch: BHS

January 26th, 2015 3 Comments By Ian Wade

bhs logo Deathwatch: BHSSir Philip Green has popped BHS on the market.

The department store for elderly relatives has been struggling for a while, and clocked up a pre-tax loss of £69 million.

The chain has 185 stores in total, and has been on the high street since 1928, and was inspired by the launch of Woolworths, but wanted to be a bit classier.

BHS has been a central part of the Green empire, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Wallis, since he bought the chain for £200million in 2000.

Sir Phil bought the company in 2000 for £200m from the Storehouse group. Initially, it was a success and was one of the main reasons that helped Green to become a billionaire and opened the opportunity for him to buy Arcadia. However, the high street is a very, very different place to the one it was at the turn of the Millennium.

2013 saw sales at the chain dip 3.5% to £675.7 million, and a pre-tax loss of £69.6 million. Blimey. Despite a near 1% rise in sales to £2.7billion, BHS slid further into the red. The group also did not pay out a dividend for the ninth year in a row.

According to rumours, Primark had been sniffing around the chain as well as HMV restructurers Hilco.

British high street 300x180 Cheap stuff helps the High Street have best Christmas in yearsPeople really went for it shopping-wise in December, according to new results from The Office for National Statistics.

The decline in prices due to supermarkets being at war with each other and snip-some petrol, helped retail achieve its strongest sales in over a decade

Prices in stores fell 2.2% in December compared to a year earlier, the biggest drop since June 2002.

The data is slightly wonky due to figures from 2013′s Black Friday being added to that December’s figures, whereas in 2014, the Friday was accounted for as part of November’s figures.

But it’s all quite promising, as the ONS said overall sales jumped 5% in the three months to December on the same period last year – the biggest increase since 2004, and was far better than them economists had predicted. The supermarket prices fell 0.9% in December, which reflect the price war, but also the general price of living in late 2014, with multiple discounting across the board.

However it’s not all jolliness for retail, as department stores suffered most from the impact of Black Friday with online sales falling year on year for the first time since records began at the start of 2008, and month-on-month volumes fell by 4.5%, the worst decline since January 1996.

Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at advisory group Deloitte, said: “This was a good Christmas with some strong performances, but it seems the real winner was the consumer. Intense competition and deep discounting both before and after Christmas drove sales but will have hit profits hard.”

“When Black Friday comes next year many retailers will think very carefully about how to maximise the unquestionable customer demand while taking into account how it impacted profitability and trading through the Christmas period.”

Argos in racist doll fracas

January 23rd, 2015 7 Comments By Ian Wade

Argos have found themselves in a row. A RACE row about dolls. So they have.

The original click and collect front, have a white doll priced £10 more than their black and Asian offerings.

The white ‘Maria’ doll, made by French company Corolle Calin, is being sold on the Argos website for £34.99, while Asian and black dolls ‘Yang’ and ‘Naima’ are for sale for £24.99.

‘Yang’.

All the dolls are, like, the same and beautiful inside and of the same dimensions and on the manufacturer’s website all three are sold at the same price of £23.

A mum of three named Lisa O’Reilly from Lincs reckoned: “It’s unacceptable for children to think white is better or more desirable. It’s wrong for our youngsters to grow up thinking non-white skin colours are worth less.”

“There’s enough prejudice in the world already without battling against racist toys.”

Argos blamed it handily on a genuine pricing error and said it was urgently rectifying the problem. Why, even a spokesman chipped in with “[We] can confirm all three dolls will be priced at £24.99″.

So that’s alright then. Nothing like checking these things BEFORE they’re uploaded, eh.

eBay cutting a load of staff

January 22nd, 2015 No Comments By Ian Wade

ebay eBay cutting a load of staffebay are cutting a load of jobs. The forum for old toot and hooky goods is shedding 2,400 staff in the first three months of 2015.

This comes after news that they are about to split away from their long running association with PayPal.

ebay dropped the news when they were unveiling the fourth quarter earnings report and they bugled in a statement that it wanted to refocus the businesses and ensure it was “set-up to compete and win”.

The online jumble sale also said it has made an agreement with activist investor, Carl Icahn, to give investors a greater say in its PayPal business once it is spun off in the second half of this year, as eBay also announced that it was considering a sale or public offering of its enterprise unit.

Fancy that.

They must be doing something right though as the company’s share price went up this morning. How to get ahead in business – sack a load of people and sell off your financial arm.

UK set to spend more on fancy wines

January 21st, 2015 No Comments By Ian Wade

FineWineCellar 300x300 UK set to spend more on fancy winesThe UK is set to spend more on wine than the French in the next few years, according to vital research.

British boozers are increasingly flashing their cash on higher priced wines, rather than the traditional ’8 for a tenner’ deals that we’re used to

The UK actually spends an average of £7 a bottle now, and overall look set to splash out £11 billion by 2018, turning the UK in the second biggest vino market after the states, barring any wine-based scandals

By then, wine consumption will reach 1.54billion bottles – the equivalent of 22.5 litres per head – according to a forecast by International Wine & Spirit Research for wine exhibition Vinexpo.

In some ‘no shit sherlock’ findings, they also noticed that wine sales were down during the recession.

Prosecco is the main driver in the wine explosion, with a 43% rise in its sales in recent years. Speaking about these spurious and wild claims, Vinexpo’s Guillaume Deglise said: “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over.”

“While the UK market shed 9.6million cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.

White wine is the UK’s favourite, with 676.7 million bottles bottles expected to be drunk this year, rising to 698.7 million bottles by 2018. Spanish reds like the Rioja are becoming more popular, as drinkers turn their backs on French wines such as Bordeaux, and sales from regions such as Chile, Australia and South Africa have also slumped somewhat too.

So, that’s why you’ve been seeing all those ‘wine o’clock’ comments from functioning alcoholics on Facebook and Twitter.