Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

August 29th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

We haven’t polled everyone, but we reckon you’d be hard pressed to find someone on this planet who doesn’t like crisps. Only sickos don’t like crisps.

Anyway, it pleases us to announce that there’s a new crisp on the scene, which is not like the others, namely Mackie’s Whisky & Haggis crisps.

Gie it laldy.

whisky crisps 375x500 Crispwatch: Whisky & Haggis!

And that’s not all, as it will soon be joined by Venison & Cranberry flavour too.

The Ridge Cut affairs are in Scottish Co-ops RIGHT NOW, and will appear in Tesco and Asda in October, so petition/ mildly riot accordingly.

It’s a limited edition at the moment, but if it kicks off, it may be added to the range full time.

George Taylor, managing director of Mackie’s at Taypack, said: “We have been delighted with the uptake of our Ridge Cut range thus far, with sales already in line with our core range.”

“We felt it was time to add a Scottish twist to the range as our Scottish flavours have always been very popular. We were particularly keen to try a whisky seasoning as Scotch is so renowned around the world. We tried various combinations and the whisky and haggis pairing came out on top. We are very excited to see the market’s reaction to the new flavour lines.”

The gauntlet has been thrown down, beat that England. Oh and if anyone could source us a box for “research”, we’ll be quite grateful.

Supermarket sales at 10 year low

August 28th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

basket 300x300 Supermarket sales at 10 year lowSupermarkets are still having a topsy turvy time of it, as sales have been hitting a 10-year low.

According to some research by the Kantar Worldpanel (sounds like a support act for Kraftwerk or Can), low inflation in the price of groceries, has seen sales grow by only 0.8% in the last 12 weeks, against figures from a year earlier.

The ongoing price wars and what have you, has driven inflation down to a record low of 0.2%. And guess what?

The main winners in market share again were Aldi and Lidl.

Aldi’s market share rose to 4.8% from 3.7% a year earlier, while Lidl’s share climbed to 3.6% from 3.1%. And it’s not all budget end, as sales at Waitrose were up 3.6% from a year earlier, and its market share edged up to 4.9% from 4.8%.

But it’s grim news for Tesco, as its sales were down 4% from last year’s period, and the market share dropping from 30.2% to 28.8%

According to Kantar Worldpanel director Edward Garner: “Competitive pricing among the big grocers and deflation in the price of staple items such as vegetables, milk and bread has driven inflation down yet again,”

“This naturally impacts on the overall growth of the grocery market, which has fallen to a 10 year record-low of 0.8%,” he added.

Even bigger iPad a-coming

August 27th, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

apple logo Even bigger iPad a comingApple are bringing out a bigger iPad!

According to reports, Apple are launching a new iPad in the first part of 2015 with a new 12.9 inch screen.

This iPad size follows the 7.9 inch and 9.7 inch.

But don’t leap off a cliff just yet, an updated version of the 9.7 inch iPad and the mini will be in the shops by Christmas, according to Bloomberg.

The iPhone is now expected to increase to 5.5 inch screens, which should be announced at an event on September 9th.

Obviously the company is on the skids and keen to do what it can to make up only selling 13.3 million iPads in the Apr-June period, down a colossal 9.% on the same period the year before.

And iPhones only scraped 35.2 million sales, short of the market predictions of 36 million.

Let’s all cross our fingers and hope things work out for them at this difficult time.

Should Tesco break itself up?

August 26th, 2014 3 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Should Tesco break itself up?The incoming chief exec at Tesco is being shouted at by a top industry analyst who reckons the supermarket needs to break itself into pieces so they can fend off the competition.

The marvellously named Bruno Monteyne, who is an analyst at Bernstein Research, says that Dave Lewis should split the supermarket into three separate categories: a high-end ‘Finest’ store (which will go toe-to-toe with M&S, Waitrose and the like), the regular, trad. arr. Tesco shops, and a discount chain to take on Aldi and Lidl.

Monteyne thinks that this is the only way Tesco can stay relevant in the current climate. Tesco need to do something, that’s for sure.

Monteyne is himself, a former Tesco executive, and he said: “Splitting themselves into different channels allows them to use different strategies with different customers.”

“Rip out 20 per cent of the range, have cheaper shelving and cheaper products in the more deprived areas and give customers a better deal. In London, where people want someone behind the counter who knows the difference between a parma ham and a serrano ham, that requires more investment.”

“By Tesco promising to have the same prices in the most affluent areas as the poorest areas, it’s basically tied its hands behind its back by committing to an uneconomical model. Tesco could probably be cheaper than Aldi in some areas, but national pricing would force them to do the same in Chelsea as well and Chelsea wouldn’t be successful.”

What do you make of that? Eccentric ramblings of a lunatic? Sensible thinking from leftfield? Sod Tesco, and here’s to them dying on their arse?

Amazon goes shopping

August 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitch 300x300 Amazon goes shoppingAmazon.com have bought live-streaming gaming network Twitch and they’ve paid $970 million for it too.

In cash.

They’d been in a bidding war with Google for Twitch, which allows gamers to broadcast live streams from PCs, XBox and PS4 consoles of themselves playing video games.

Twitch, who we banged on about here, also run gaming events and redistributes content from Joystiq, Gamespot, and Destructoid, Manvsgame and more.

Twitch also has 55 million visitors, which might have something to do with the keen interest from both companies.

This is seen as another step in Amazon’s strategy to big up their entertainment services, and video games are a big old market where cash literally grows on trees (especially in the online game ‘Cash Trees’ where you play a tax-dodging entity having to hoover up as much cash off trees or something).

But what has Jeff Bezos to say, hmmm?

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon, and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month.”

Tens of millions. Bet his pants tightened at that.

We’re spending less on food

August 22nd, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade
lidl shopper 300x199 Were spending less on food

“Mmmm Earlobe risotto! Yum!”

Food shop spending dropped in July for the first time in a quarter of a century.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, a year-on-year fall of 1.3% was the first seen since records began back in January 1989.

The price wars have had some effect, as the report says that prolonged discounting was affecting overall sales.

It goes on to suggest that the big supermarkets have been upping their game against having their market share arses kicked by the likes of Aldi and Lidl.

The headline figure for retail sales showed a weaker than expected 0.1% growth month-on-month.

However, a three-month on three-month increase of 0.3% was the seventh consecutive improvement, the longest period of sustained growth by this measure since November 2007.

It’s also quite good news for online shopping, as spending increased 11.2% in July on a year earlier but fell 1.9% compared to June.

Speaking some sense, and illuminating the caution, Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte said: “Many consumers are yet to feel the benefits of the economic recovery and are reluctant to let go of their recessionary behaviours, particularly when shopping for food.

“Consumers continue to show a willingness to spend on non-food items, but are doing so selectively.”

Deathwatch: Hazelnuts

August 21st, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

250px Nutella Deathwatch: HazelnutsIn today’s No. Not this. Not now news, there’s a Nutella shortage a-coming. Widespread riots are predicted among the painfully twee.

Around 70% of the year’s hazelnut crop has been wiped out due to a March frost in Turkey.

The price of hazelnuts has gone right up, too, to a 10 year high, with worries that the prices will only increase as the shortage bites further.

Nutella fans should be very concerned, as it has 50 hazelnuts per jar.

Ferrero, who make Nutella, are the largest consumers of hazelnuts, having bought the Turkish supplier Oltan Group in July.

There’s no clear news at the moment of impending price rises on hazelnut-based treats, but we’ll keep you in the loop about exactly when and where to turn up with pitchforks and the like.

You can also contact the samaritans if you’re having any troubling thoughts regarding this news.

Everyone needs a Lidl black dress

August 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

lidllogo1 300x298 Everyone needs a Lidl black dressLidl are moving into the fashion world, which means you’ll be able to buy all your Friday night clothes at the same time as filling your trolley with meat and bargainous booze.

From next Monday, you’ll be able to buy clothes for ladies, including a leather-trimmed jacket for £14.99, ankle boots for £9.99, something called ‘stretch’ jeans for £6.99 and shirts for £5.99. Men – don’t feel like you’re being left out. You’ll be able to buy clobber for yourselves as of November.

Of course, Lidl have sold clothes before, but this time it is different. They’re describing the new ranges as ”high-end, on-trend”, which means they’ll be flogging stuff to go to the pub in, rather than basic undercrackers and fleeces.

This is all bad news for Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons who have seen their sales hamstrung by German budget supermarkets. Now, it looks like Lidl are going after Asda’s ‘George’ market, which has been lucrative for the Wal-Mart owned retailer.

Josie Stone, non-food buying manager at Lidl UK, said: “This is the first time ever that we’ve done such a high-end fashion promotion and we’re hugely excited about launching these lines on 25th August. Not only are these jackets bang on trend for this season but they’re also £15 a pop, which is unbeatable value for such high quality. So we’d advise customers to be quick getting down to stores on the 25th because they’re likely to be snapped up very quickly.”

Naysayers will no doubt turn their noses up at Lidl’s fashion choices and no-one expects them to win any awards for what they get in, but cheap clothes are big business – just look at how well Primark are doing at the moment.

Lidl is set to go from 600 stores to around 1,500 in the near future, and they’ve got a customer-base of 5 million shoppers per week in the UK.

Looks like they’re trying to take over the British high street, Lidl by Lidl…

iPhone 6 to have reversible USB

August 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

reversible usb port 300x225 iPhone 6 to have reversible USBLooks like the iPhone 6 will have a reversible USB cable with it.

An Apple bod posted a picture of the cable on Twitter, which helpfully showed the difference between the old school normal cable, and the new so-called “lightning” cable.

The Lightning cable can already be used in the latest round of iPads and iPhones, and so users no longer need to have freak outs about plugging them in wrong anymore.

According to a patent discovered by uSwitch, the cable is very clearly a thing. Designed to help rid the planet of “user frustration” and to reduce the potential for USB connector damage.

Another, new reversible cable was announced by the snappily titled USB Promoter Group, but that’s not compatible with ANYTHING useful at the moment.

So there you have it. Less swearing in your life.

Tesco Reading ready to rock

August 20th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

tesco.jpg small 300x225 Tesco Reading ready to rockWell Tesco in Reading certainly know their market in advance of the Reading Festival.

The Reading branch of the superstore have geared up for this weekend’s annual A-Level knees-up by replacing everything with booze.

Approximately four aisles of the West Extra branch are currently loaded up with alcohol.

And if you wanted an avocado or light leaf mix bag, you’ll be disappointed, as that’s now home to vodka and Jägermeister.

The festival, which has been going since around 1654 or something, usually sees revellers turn up on Thursday ahead of the three day affair, and once camped they’re soon on the prowl for refreshments.

This year’s event features Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys, The Horrors, Disclosure and all that sort of thing, and traditionally tends to attract a more rough and ready younger set than the likes of Glastonbury.

A spokesperson for Tesco said they were expecting to serve 35,000 customers each day.

“We know from previous years just how important our store is to those attending the festival and we’re working really hard to make sure we’ve got everything they need, including food, wellies, tents and bedding. We’ll continue to stock everything our regular customers need for their normal weekly shop.”

Although one would imagine regulars would’ve got used to it by now and prepared their fun-shelters accordingly.

Interest rates: no need for rise

August 20th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

British high street 300x180 Interest rates: no need for riseThanks to supermarket price wars and sales on the high street this summer, there’s been no need for the Bank of England to go ahead with early interest rate rises. Hurrah!

The consumer prices index, or CPI, went from 1.9% to 1.6% last month, which means it is still below the Bank’s 2% target for the seventh month on the trot.

The Office for National Statistics reckon this is down to a third month of falling food costs, which is due to the supermarkets scrambling for what customers they can get with all manner of discounts and offers.

The July RPI figure, which they use to set next year’s regulated rail fares, came in at 2.5%, which hopefully is good news for commuters expecting a massive price increase in the new year.

The City was a bit freaked out by the drop in CPI. Experts said the lack of evidence of inflation would stay the hand of the Monetary Policy Committee from a first rate since 2007.

There’ll no doubt be more exciting news like that when the Bank publishes the minutes of its August meeting, but otherwise that’s all quite optimistic news isn’t it?

Please say it is.

ditto pic 300x219 Tumblr and Ditto: stalking your photos for brandsIn ‘web-stalking brand awareness reach’ news, Tumblr have teamed up with Ditto Labs. Ditto analyse photos posted on social media, and scan them for any brand-related data.

Basically anything can be deemed as data, from a brand of drink being drunkenly held aloft, to a sportswear label seen on a garment.

Apparently this deal will give advertisers the chance to see how they’re being perceived.

It’s a new way of research without badgering you on the street or filling in a form, but still feels a little stalkery.

But the futuristically named T.R. Newcomb, head of business development at Tumblr, stated: “If Coke wants to understand the nature of the conversation we can sift through and deliver it to Coke.”

He ominously added “Right now, we’re not planning to do anything ad-related.”

Yeah right. Either way, looks like Yahoo!, who bought Tumblr, are finally throwing a bit of weight around in a bid to start making more money on the blogging portal.

Petrol prices down for the bank holiday

August 19th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asda petrol Petrol prices down for the bank holidayIt’s the last bank holiday before Christmas, so to celebrate, supermarkets have cut petrol prices by up to 2p a litre and diesel by 1p!

Asda kicked it off when they bugled that they’d be cutting their prices today (Tuesday), capping petrol at 124.7p a litre and diesel at 128.7p, which is the lowest the chain have had since January 2011.

Then Sainsburys and Tesco both chipped in by saying they’d be reducing their prices on petrol and diesel too, although neither chain has a national price cap.

Supermarkets being supermarkets, they’ve always had the chance to offer cheaper deals for the driver, especially when tied up in points and rewards and brand loyalty type stuff.

However this move has been seen as a response to the otherwise slightly dearer independents, according to Paul Watters, AA’s head of public affairs

“We have seen competitive independent retailers east of London selling petrol as low as 125.9p a litre recently, which heralded a more general move by Asda,” he said. “With its national pricing policy, that lower pricing will be spread to drivers across the UK and will spur other retailers to follow.”

“However, depressed demand is also a major influence as families in the UK, Europe and the US continue to struggle with family finances. Although pump price movements have been relatively benign this year, the trauma of price spikes from 2011 into 2013 continues to haunt drivers.”

According to the AA, the average price across the UK yesterday was 129.71p a litre, and diesel was 133.74p.

The other supermarkets are set to follow, because that’s what they do.

Microsoft have come to the aid of those who like to film shedloads of shaky, shonky footage with a thing called Hyperlapse.

The technology allows you to shrink hours of footage into minutes without all the juddering and shaking. It’s the first time that time-lapse photography has been brought to first person type devices.

This is great news for anyone who has sat through their chum’s five hour epic motorway films or endless footage from an amateur rock climb.

The technology controls shake at faster playback speeds by going beyond what’s done by typical stabilization algorithms. Which in English means that it essentially smooths video by cropping out pixels at the edge of a frame.

Hyperlapse does this via a reconstructing camera movement, distance and angle with each frame and borrows pixels from multiple frames to smooth the video.

There is no news of a release date just yet, as they’ve only just managed to shrink the software down to one PC, but the possibilities are endless, and will help make Microsoft quite attractive to film makers… if they all weren’t such Apple fanboiz already.

Raleigh Choppers: back. Back. BACK.

August 14th, 2014 6 Comments By Ian Wade

chopper 205x300 Raleigh Choppers: back. Back. BACK.The Chopper is back.

Yes, the slightly comically named Raleigh bike with its unique monkey handlebars and two different sized wheels (so far, so penny farthing) is back in production.

Due to the demand of nostalgic parents, the sort who keep voting for Star Wars in film polls and vaguely recall Texan Bars, Raleigh have replicated it and re-released the Chopper for a whole new generation.

Around a million and a half Choppers sold originally, but production was ended in 1979, just ahead of the whole BMX thing and Raleigh wooing the kids with Grifters.

Halfords will be stocking a limited number of the flaming red ‘Hot One’, although anyone expecting it to be on sale at its original price of £32 will be disappointed, as the new version will set you back £250.

Ben Hillsdon, Raleigh marketing manager said: “Whether you’re young or old it’s hard not to be taken in by the charm of the Chopper.”

It’s true, very few can resist the charm of sitting on a bright red chopper.