Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Serious Fraud Office to investigate Tesco

October 29th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tesco’s woes are much worse than they thought

October 23rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homebase: creeping toward demise

October 22nd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tesco sales falling at fastest rate in groceries

October 21st, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

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

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

 

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

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

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

Who are the worst at delivering parcels?

October 21st, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

parcel delivery Who are the worst at delivering parcels?Many consumers have had bother when receiving their online deliveries. Parcels can be late, go missing entirely, contain damaged goods or in some cases, thrown on a roof for you to fetch.

According to Which!!!, 60% of us prefer to shop online for the convenience, even though 26% of us have had trouble with the delivery process. Seems like a gamble we’re willing to take because we’re all fantastically bone idle.

The biggest problem is late deliveries and not being able to choose a delivery time.

However, not all companies are bad. Some are in fact, rather good. According to a Which!!! poll, the best in the business are WexPhotographic.com, JohnLewis.com, LizEarle.com and RicherSounds.com.

Which!!!’s Richard Lloyd, said: “One of the attractions of shopping online is the convenience of having your items delivered but we’ve found the experience can be anything but convenient. We want shops to do more to ensure that the service is first class, first time. Retailers need to respond to consumers’ demands and stamp out dodgy deliveries.”

So with that, let us look at the best and worst companies when it comes to delivering your purchases.

Ten Best Online Shops

1. WexPhotographic.com
2. JohnLewis.com
3. LizEarle.com
=RicherSounds.com
5. AO.com
=Lakeland.co.uk
=Toolstation.com
8. ChainReactionCycles.com
=Coopelectricalshop.co.uk
10. AbeBooks.co.uk
=Screwfix.com
=Wiggle.co.uk

The Worst Online Shops

90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop )
= Halfords.com
= Isme.com
93. ToysRUs.co.uk
94. HMV.com
95. PCWorld.co.uk
= TomTom.com
97. Homebase.co.uk
98. WHSmith.co.uk
99. DIY.com (B&Q)

Tesco misled auditors to inflate results

October 20th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco misled auditors to inflate resultsEveryone is still laughing at Tesco as their woes continue apace. The latest is that, according to leaks, investigators from Deloitte and Freshfields have discovered that a number of execs at the supermarket deliberately misled auditors and accountants to try and hide their dismal financial results.

This is all revolving around the £250m accounting scandal and various sackings that Tesco have found themselves lumbered with.

So what’s the skinny? Well, it is thought that Tesco booked supplier payments that were reliant on condition of them hitting sales targets – ones that they were never, ever going to meet. It seems like this practice has been going on for a while, but were increased just before Tesco’s spectacular slump.

To make things worse, it looks like Tesco’s South Korean wing has been selling the personal data of more than five million customers to insurance companies, which is likely to end in prosecution. Things are so toxic in that area that Tesco’s Asian operations could be sold off. However, that can’t happen while there’s an investigation going on.

As a result, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 48% since the start of 2014.

Tesco are a complete shambles at the minute, but it is very, very difficult to feel sorry for them after they aggressively muscled out countless independent retailers out of the market over the years. So, in short – Haw Haw!

converse Converse to sue everyone for ripping off Chuck TaylorsConverse’s ‘Chuck Taylor’ trainers have been worn by pretty much everyone in rock ‘n’ roll and as a result, are one of the most iconic trainer designs in the world.

With that, just about everyone has ripped them off. Walk into any high street clothes vendor and chances are, they’ll have their own non-branded range of ‘Chucks’.

And Converse are suddenly very unhappy about it.

They’re so unhappy that they’re going to sue a whole load of people, including Ralph Lauren, K Mart and Wal-Mart for infringing their design. Seeing as Converse first released the shoes in 1917, they’ve certainly taken their time in doing something about it.

The company’s chief exec Jim Calhoun said he’s got no objection to fair competition, but, “we do not believe companies have a right to copy the Chuck’s trademarked look.” The company have sent 180 legal cease and desist notices to protect their brand.

Basically, Converse are protecting the design of the rubber toe cap and the stripes that appear on the mid-sole of the trainer. The cease and desist letters, thus far, are being ignored by other companies.

Same-day delivery Amazon is now a thing

October 15th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Screen shot 2010 12 22 at 15.03.25 Same day delivery Amazon is now a thingAs of today, customers ordering stuff from Amazon will be able to get it the same day.

In its boldest impression of ‘a shop’ yet, you’ll be able to purchase online before 11.45am and then collect at one of the company’s 500 collection points.

Also, as part of its ‘Pick-up Location’ programme Amazon also said that users will be able to order by 7.45pm to pick up from 6.30am the following day. It will initially be free to members of Amazon’s £79 per year Prime premium service and £4.99 per delivery for non-members.

Amazon reckons that this drives people back to high streets where they spend more money in other shops. Usually a few bob in Poundland and some slap-up sausage rolls from Greggs.

Chris North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk said “We know that customers want a variety of different delivery options and many are choosing collection from pick-up locations as their preferred delivery method. You can certainly expect us to continue to add more and more pick up locations to the thousands already in existence.”

“We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best,” said Mr North. He claimed “This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”

Amazon reckon they now have over 6000+ pick-up points, which themselves have doubled in number in the last year.

Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weather

October 14th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

shoppers Biggest fall in UK shopping thanks to warm weatherReports are saying that we’re currently looking at the weakest performing high street since the worst bits of the 2008-09 recession.

An unusually warm September was blamed on all this, even though they would’ve blamed it on wet weather if that was around. Basically, people don’t know why we’re not shopping as much as we used to. Maybe its because we’re skint?

The British Retail Consortium said that the year-on-year drop in consumer spending was the most pronounced since December 2008, but said that there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture continued to be strong.

Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “In September, we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales.”

“Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong, with furniture outperforming all other categories.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turn around retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn-winter ranges.”

“The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focused on their customers.”

Aldi loves credit cards

October 9th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi loves credit cardsThere’s a lot to like about Aldi – you don’t get a myriad of offers for loans, mobiles, banking or pet insurance; you just walk in, do your shopping and go home without being mithered.

One drawback was that you couldn’t use your credit card in all of its stores… but that’s all about to change as the budget supermarket is now going to lift their self-imposed ban on plastic money.

The reason they haven’t been accepting credit cards, is that they’re more expensive to process than cash and debit cards. However, from the 13th October, you can use them. .

“It is another potential barrier to shopping at Aldi that we are smashing down,” said Matthew Barnes, Aldi’s joint UK managing director.

Branches in Scotland and Wales have doing credit card transactions, which saw English customers having a moan about it all on Aldi’s Facebook page. It seems that Aldi is willing to take a risk with their profits with the cost of processing credit card payments, thanks in part to the fact that Aldi revealed record annual profits for last year.

Bad news for the competition.

morrisons 300x153 Big Four supermarkets too obsessed with each other and pointless loyalty cardsWhen Morrisons announced that they were going to price-match Lidl and Aldi, everyone sighed. The Lidl trolled Morrisons. Fact is, loyalty cards are not nearly as good as the Big Four supermarkets think they are.

The supermarkets will hardly notice though because they’re not looking at the customer, but rather, far too obsessed with the competition.

A former senior Tesco executive has hit out at all this. Andrew Higginson said: “We need our boardrooms to have less hubris and to be more honest about the job the company is doing for its customers.”

“Management teams often seem to be focused on the wrong thing. Too much of the industry has raised prices to widen margins. Aldi and Lidl haven’t got any cheaper, it’s that the supermarkets have got more expensive. Supermarkets haven’t focused on customers, or Aldi or Lidl, or Poundland. They’ve been very focused on each other.”

This is why customers have been showing no loyalty to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. And why should they? Consumers aren’t going to be won over with a loyalty card, which are often more trouble than they’re worth.

In 2014, a lot of customers are savvy enough to know that, for example, Morrisons ‘Match & More’ initiative is not really a thing to help us save money, but rather, something that helps the supermarket to collect data on us and our shopping habits. Of course, there’s now so many loyalty cards on the market that the novelty wore off years ago. When Tesco launched the Clubcard back in 1995, it was a big deal – now they’re ten-a-penny.

Most importantly, shoppers have realised that you’re better off shopping at somewhere that has consistently low prices rather than relying on someone who will try and woo you with cashback or coupons. Not everyone is convinced that the Morrisons price match scheme will pay its way, while they know that Aldi and Lidl will be cheap, regardless.

Soon enough, we could see a Deathwatch: Loyalty cards.

How much is Asda’s £1 bag of bananas worth?

October 2nd, 2014 13 Comments By Mof Gimmers

sad bananas 300x201 How much is Asdas £1 bag of bananas worth?A smart cookie called Alan Hudson went to Asda and decided to pop a £1 bag of bananas on the scales at the self service checkout to see how much they were worth if he’d bought them loose.

The answer? A decidedly unpoundly 54p.

Of course, the news that a supermarket is pulling a fast one isn’t at all surprising, but this is some brazen nonsense from Asda.

Train driver Alan, who filmed his discovery and shared it with The Mirror said: “It’s disgusting really. There are millions of people living on the poverty line, trying to reduce the cost of their shopping as much as possible and looking out for bargains.”

“That bag had a bright red sticker on it, saying they were a pound. It makes it look like a bargain, when in fact you’re getting ripped off by nearly half. I’m definitely going to be reconsidering my shopping habits, and I hope others do too.”

Alan added: “I do like bananas, but I’m going to think twice about where I buy them from.”

Asda, of course, defended their bananas. A spokesperson said: “The majority of bananas we sell are loose which require a little bit of ripening at home and are price locked at 68p per kilo.”

“Our pre-packed bananas are stored for a little longer and have already been ripened so they’re perfect to eat as soon as you’ve bought them, they are then pre packed by hand, which is why they’re slightly more expensive. We clearly label the prices in store, so customers can choose which product is best for them.”

Morrisons & Lloyds tackle dodgy finances

September 30th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

morrisons 300x300 Morrisons & Lloyds tackle dodgy finances

Morrisons’ former head of tax and group treasurer has been charged with insider dealing over snide trades in Ocado shares which were made last year. It just so happens that this all went down when the supermarket was getting into a partnership with the online grocer.

Paul Coyle was arrested at the start of the year and now has to appear at Harrogate Magistrates Court with two charges levelled at him, announced by the Financial Conduct Authority, relating to trades made when Ocado shares rocketed by 150% and a 36% spike on the day the deal with Morrisons was confirmed.

Of course, Morrisons are distancing themselves from all this, with their management saying that they are completely satisfied that they followed proper procedures. They said: “Morrisons is satisfied with its governance and procedures concerning the handling of market sensitive data in this case and found that the company’s procedures had been properly followed.”

“These accusations, if proven, would be the result of an individual acting alone.”

Meanwhile, over at the Lloyds Banking Group, they have sacked eight members of staff for their part in manipulating Libor and fraudulently reducing the cost of access to the Government’s Special Liquidity Scheme, say reports. The bank has also held back £3m in bonus payments to the individuals too.

Lloyds chairman Lord Blackwell has described the actions of the employees as “completely unacceptable”, but surely, not at all surprising?

In addition to fiddling Libor, Lloyds have also been hit with a penalty for rigging the ‘repo rate’, which is used to calculate the level of fees it had to pay for access to the Bank of England’s liquidity scheme, which helped to lower the cost of funding during the credit crunch.

Thus far, Lloyds have been fined £218m for their part in all this, and Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Antonio Horta-Osario says: “Having now taken disciplinary action against those individuals responsible for the totally unacceptable behaviour identified by the regulators’ investigations, the board and the group management team are committed to preventing this type of behaviour happening again.”

We’ll see.

Sainsbury’s drop a shop window clanger

September 30th, 2014 5 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Window displays can be works of art, but mostly, they’re a load of cobblers. However, Sainsbury’s have taken it next level thanks to whacking a poster that was clearly meant for staff only in the front of one of their stores.

Where a nice offer or charity drive should be, instead, some berk has put a poster up which says ‘Hey! Staff! Lets try and rinse people for a bit more money! Right guys? Right!

Byt7 gMCYAA6qhs 500x375 Sainsburys drop a shop window clanger

The poster, as you can see, regards the Fifty pence challenge (no, not a thing where you place a 50p between your buttocks and try and drop the coin in a glass) where the staff have been challenged.

“Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end,” says the poster THAT THEY HAVE STUCK IN THE FRONT WINDOW.

[via twitter]

Urban Outfitters sell most vinyl

September 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

FKA twigs   LP1 Urban Outfitters sell most vinylUrban Outfitters – for many years now, it’s been the shop that one wanders about feeling elderly and square, and now, they reckon they’re the world’s biggest seller of vinyl records.

Yep, the shop that reimagines bumbags and anything else that was wretched from the past, and even more wretched now, has become the leader in flogging records.

Vinyl sales have continued with a total of 6.1 million albums sold in the United States in 2013 – the highest number since 1991 – and the figures for this year are set to be even higher.

“Music is very, very important to the Urban customer… in fact, we are the world’s number one vinyl seller” said Calvin Hollinger, the company’s chief administrative officer.

Now, let’s approach this sensibly and explain why this is so.

Urban Outfitters have over 400 branches worldwide, and even if the range is very hipster-based – like most fashion stores, their new vinyl selection is more curated than that of an HMV – they know their market. The average shopper isn’t going in there to source a Moody Blues long player, they’re all up for more now sounds from the likes of voguish hitmaker FKA Twigs (who we have used as an illustration).

Also, they have an innovative inventory model wherein they essentially rent out their record shelves to over 100 different vendors. The retailer provides stores with an online list of inventory which they can then stock on consignment.

Urban Outfitters is the most 00ze shopping experience imaginable, navigating through the Napster, MySpace, Facebook and Spotify eras and managing to keep its head above the water throughout.

There’s also the fact that 90% of its customers probably never experienced vinyl growing up, and are now probably thinking it’s quite the thing. Mind you, you could probably flog them 8-track cartridges if you go down that route of thinking, the goons.