Posts Tagged ‘retail’
It’s looking like a difficult Christmas for retailers – according to economists from IHS Global Insight, who predict that high street sales will struggle.
The barometer for this, is of course, John Lewis, who are the queen bee of the high street. They reported a 1.8% rise in sales last week, but not all is as it seems. Week on week sales dropped by 1.7%, and retail analysts are not exactly confident about John Lewis’ predictions – take away online sales, and the figures have dropped by 5%. And if JL ain’t doing well, you can bet nobody else will be.
So what does this mean for us? Well, more DISCOUNTS. Because stores that aren’t languishing in the same feted position as John Lewis will obviously need to catch up by grabbing customers any way they can. Howard Archer, from IHS said:
‘John Lewis reported reasonable but unspectacular sales figures, which maintains uncertainty as to just how good a Christmas this will be for retailers. Consequently, a number of retailers may feel under increasing pressure to engage in discounting and promotions over the coming days.’
So we might get some pre-Christmas bargains, but it won’t be plain sailing for the high street.
I blame the bloody bear and the hare.
It seems some of the biggest supermarkets don’t like the idea of Scotland going independent and are threatening to put their prices up North of the Border.
The chief exec of Asda, one of the retailers saying they’ll be putting their prices up, added that an independent Scotland may well be a less attractive place to invest, even though the Scottish government said that they’d lower taxes to make the country more competitive.
“The cost of doing business in different parts of the country does vary,” said Andy Clarke, the chief executive of Asda and they’ve have higher distribution costs in Scotland, on top of cost to a public health levy on shops that sell booze and cigs. ”A ‘Yes’ vote in 2014 could result in Scotland being a less attractive investment proposition for business and put further pressure on our costs,” he said.
A spokesman for Morrisons, also thinking of sticking their prices up, said: “Why should customers in Cardiff subsidise those in Aberdeen?”
Tesco and Sainsbury’s are currently saying “no comment”, but the Financial Times reckon that one of the Big Four have already agreed to put prices up in Scotland.
The Scottish National Party are already planning to cut corporation tax and fuel duty, in a bid to keep retailers costs down and a spokesperson told the BBC: “Scotland would be more competitive and less costly than at present. There is no reason why retail prices in an independent Scotland would be any higher than at the moment.”
Energy companies are clearly getting good at swaying government opinions, persuading Cameron to look at green levies in exchange for cheaper bills for all – are the supermarkets publicly trying their luck too?
It’s a sign of the times when a supermarket has to cut back on its cleaning bill to save cash, but that’s what mucky Morrisons is doing this winter. In a triumph of bizarre logic, bosses have decided to cancel window cleaning at all its stores in a war against slipping sales, which dropped by 2.4% in the third quarter of this year.
The argument Morrison’s have given is this.
‘The weather forecast for this winter shows an increase in snow and frost.’
And as we know, snow is CLEAN. Except when it melts and becomes like grit filled human effluence. They added:
‘Morrisons has decided to reduce window cleaning at stores because it is less important to customers at the darkest time of the year, because the water that runs off windows can be a slippage hazard in the winter, and so we can spend money on maintenance activity that our customers do care about at this time of year.’
Like tinsel! (Covered in dirt).
The cut came into effect on the 2nd December and window cleaners won’t be back again until February, when presumably, the shop will be just called ISONS, and coughing, diseased staff will have desperately scrawled ‘CLEAN ME’ all over the front of the store.
Don’t know about you, but I might take my business elsewhere…
Once again, some pointless berk has decided to make ‘the world’s most expensive’ something. In this instance, it is a ready meal and a chef has thrown oysters, gold leaf and Dom Perignon at it so no-one will buy it for £314, but idiots like us will write about it.
Of course, these ‘world’s most expensive thing that is usually cheap’ projects are PR stunts for those trying to flog something else, so, in the name of fairness, we’ll talk about the ready meal but purposefully fail to mention the people behind it.
So, do you fancy a really posh microwave meal?! Well, Some Chef has invented the Swish Pie which is a fancy version of a fish pie and it contains vintage champagne, lobster, Balik salmon, the aforementioned oysters and gold leaf, as well as wild turbot, white Alba truffles and a load of other stuff no-one cares about like sea salt harvested from the Piran Salt Pans.
It goes without saying that these pies will only be available for a limited time and for the site of Some Chef who made it. If you’re adamant you need a name, let us patronise you with this link.
The pie is topped off with an amuse-bouche of Beluga Caviar, served on two mother of pearl spoons, which will probably impress a some vapid clothes designer or something, especially as each meal is delivered in a bespoke aluminium case, handcuffed to a professional security guard.
Some chef said: “We wanted to take our reputation for making the finest [blah blah blah] truly extraordinary [yadda yadda] always been obsessed with quality ingredients, provenance and unique and [waffle waffle] the most exclusive ingredients while developing this unique recipe to ensure that it really is [kills self]”
Meanwhile, the supermarkets have a load of ready meals you actually want to eat and you’ll probably be able to get 2 for £6.
The rise of the budget supermarkets continues –with Lidl planning to double the amount of UK stores to 1500. Everywhere you go there’ll be a Lidl. The UK will be littered with off brand German biscuits and tubs of coleslaw the size of your head, and there will NEVER be any time to pack your bag at the till.
Unlike Tesco, who are struggling like a kitten down a well, Lidl sales are growing by 18% a year. Owner Ronny Gottschlisch (try saying THAT when you’ve had a few) said they were trying to put their cheap and cheerful budget image behind them and grow into a force to be reckoned with.
‘We really see ourselves these days more of a supermarket than the hard discounter of the past.’ He said. ‘Those times are over.’
What they want now is to appeal to their target demographic, a person called a ‘Maidstone Mum.’
‘Those Maidstone Mums are no longer afraid of being seen in a Lidl store,’ Mr Gottschlich said. ‘I actually do think we are entering a new era. I think that people’s perception in the past was that there must be something wrong with the quality of what those people at Lidl offer because they have such reasonable pricing in their stores.’
I can’t speak for those ladies in Maidstone, but I’ve only seen Glasgow Mums in my local store with a Berkeley Superking hanging out of their mouths, threatening children called Lacie-Ann near the JFC frozen nuggets. Still, it’s good to have ambition…
Christmas is coming and the shops are getting their displays ready. The best Bitterwallet has seen is this, spotted by an avid reader in “deepest Lancs”, which stars a lovely festive scene made out of beef dripping, surrounded by bits of carcass.
Feel free to send us any fine displays you spot.
[image Goff McGough]
Amazon are hoping that they won’t have to deal with pesky humans who complain about their working conditions by doing deliveries by drones.
During a TV appearance, Amazon bigwig Jeff Bezos played a video showing the little flying robot (an octocopter if you prefer) picking up goods in little buckets and scooting them through the air for delivery.
Of course, people are already mocking the idea, as seen below.
“I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,” said Bezos. ”We can do half-hour delivery … and we can carry objects, we think, up to five pounds (2.3kg), which covers 86% of the items that we deliver. It’s very green… better than driving trucks around.”
These flying machines can cover areas within a 10-mile radius of a distribution centres and Amazon think they can implement this within the next 5 years. Naturally, there’s a lot of safety issues to resolve, but these octocopters would be “ready to enter commercial operations as soon as the necessary regulations are in place.”
The retailer already have a name for the service too: Amazon Prime Air. What do you make of it all?
The Great British high street is in such terminal decline that it needs to be bulldozed and rebuilt on a post war scale. That’s according to the rather dramatically named Distressed Town Centre Property Taskforce.
The taskforce was set up after Mary Portas was paid tons to go around tutting at shop windows and be photographed outside BHS in a directional catsuit – and it thinks that the entire infrastructure of the high street needs to be changed. The group, which is made up of retailers, investors, bankers and landlords has been researching possibilities for improvement for months. And their verdict is to KNOCK THE BUGGER DOWN.
The problem seems to be that there are too many shops. Endless branches of Claire’s Accessories, massive amounts of retail space, and giant malls. ‘There’s still a need for vibrant retail, just less of it.’ Said the group’s chairman, Mark Williams. ‘People do not shop in the same way.’
So what do they suggest? Well, a massive restructuring of city centres, a strategy to determine land ownership, a High Street property fund, flexibility to change use of empty properties, and more power for councils to purchase land.
Who’s going to pay for it? Well, they want funding to be restructured, too. Mark Williams added:
‘There is a huge amount of private sector funds available to regenerate town centres. But it requires scale and planning. What it’s not there is for piecemeal change, an ad hoc approach to fix the odd shop. So we’re looking about scale and critical mass. And in that sense the private sector will respond to local authorities and government initiatives.’
Oh, it all sounds very complicated. Can’t we just bung a couple of branches of Subway and a Millie’s Cookies in there and just hope for the best?
A woman with the wonderful name of Misty Moser was left dry-heaving into the night air as she opened up a bag of frozen green beans, ready to serve her family some grub in Oregon.
As well as the frozen veg, she was shocked to see a great clump of something fall out, which appeared to have a mouth.
She initially thought the item was just some beans all stuck together, but soon, she realised that what she had found was more sinister than that – a snakes head.
“I noticed it had a mouth, nostrils, and little tiny eyes. Not what I thought I was buying,” she said.
The store where she purchased the green beans is going to investigate, while Momma Misty is trying not to cry as she’d already served up some of the greens from the packet already.
Veteran of the war, 92-year-old Tony Ball, was stopped from buying booze at his local Tesco, relieving him of his last pleasure on Earth, leaving him to stare blankly out of the window. Why was he stopped - because he didn’t have any ID (and well done for being able to read and remember a headline).
Tony was all set to get stuck into two bottles of vodka but found a check-out girl asking him to prove he was over 18. Let us look at his youthful face shall we?
Tony said: “I laughed, but she then said, ‘We’re not allowed to serve you if you’re underage’. By the look on her face she wasn’t joking. I said, ‘Do you mean it?’ and she said, ‘Yes’. So I said, ‘You can tell Tesco what to do with their stuff’, and walked out.”
One of the managers at the Tesco in Feltham, said that the staff member in question had done it before ‘as a joke’, continuing: “Our colleague was trying to be light-hearted, but we appreciate the joke wasn’t shared. We have apologised and we’re keeping Mr Ball’s bottles for him if he chooses to drop by, with our compliments.”
If we ignore Adam Littler’s figuratively/literally mix-up, he wore a pedometer to work at a giant distribution centre so he could see what distance he covered during a 10-and-a-half hour night shift.
Apparently, he said he was expected to collect orders every 33 seconds and was subjected to “unbelievable” pressure to meet targets. He said: “You all literally work to the bone and there doesn’t seem to be any reward or any let-up. I’ve never done a job like this before. The pressure’s unbelievable.”
Adam worked as a ‘picker’ at Amazon’s huge 800,000sq ft warehouse in Swansea. There, pickers have to push a trolley around and fetch the items people have ordered online. Staff are given handheld scanners to let them know whether they’re hitting their targets or not, as everyone is tracked by a GPS system. Staff are even tracked on toilet breaks while they’re having a poo.
You may have seen Adam on BBC1′s Panorama last night in a documentary which looked at working conditions at Amazon. Another employee at the warehouse in Rugeley said working for Amazon was like working in a “slave camp”. Miss three targets and get three strikes, which means you’re out.
Of course, Amazon deny many of these claims and said productivity targets were in-line with performance levels achieved by its workforce, with a spokesman saying: “The safety of our associates is our number one priority.”
How far does your boss make you walk? Are you doing a paper round and all this seems like nothing? Are you a traffic warden who thinks Amazon staff should shut up? Or do you just think it’d be nice if Amazon paid some tax? Thoughts, as ever, in the comments.
If you don’t get any presents this Christmas, Lindt might have the answer with a new display. See, their milk chocolate ‘Gold Reindeer Sleigh’ was spotted by an avid BW reader who noticed that, this year, Father Christmas will be getting gigantic rabbits to hoik him along.
Worse than the prospect of giant, flightless rabbits is that we might not get our presents ’til Easter, when these bunnies are usually seen in the shops.
Terrible news either way.
Shoplifter gets beat down - bitterwallet/shoplifter
Mortgage overpayments are rife - bitterwallet/overpaying
Banks to stop premium rate phone numbers - bitterwallet/bankphone
McDonald’s – now with sexual assault - bitterwallet/mcdonalds
Supermarket offers – are they misleading and confusing? bitterwallet/offers
Greggs say no to sauce - bitterwallet/no-sauce
Getting refunds on downloads - bitterwallet/refund
The best of the rest
Google and Microsoft block abuse online - bbc/block
Android device having battery issues? - androidpolice/battery
Apple to bring 3D sensors to their game - techcrunch/apple3D
Hackers are going after governments - theatlanticwire.com/anonymous
Facebook filled with corpses - what-if
Samsung shares rise, despite Apple spat - dawn/samsung
Six months after it launched in North America, Amazon Coins have been propelled into the UK and German marketplace. Of course, we’ve already got money that works perfectly well, but Amazon clearly felt the need to create their own currency.
Of course, this is a virtual currency and you can use it to buy paid apps and the like, from the Amazon for Android Appstore. That’s if developers buy into the idea.
Obviously, Amazon think it’ll be worth our while, saying: ”For many Indie developers, Coins has accounted for the majority of their revenue since Coins launched in the US.” The company have celebrated the launch by giving away a small amount of virtual-dough to Kindle Fire owners, most of whom will be looking blankly at it, wondering what to do with it. Maybe buy a virtual bookmark?
As for the exchange rate, 400 Amazon Coins is worth £4 according to Amazon. Naturally, Amazon haven’t forgotten about real money as they are looking at moving into the London Underground. Tube users might not be able to get tickets anymore, but they will be able to buy gadgets and whatnot.
As the Underground is closing their ticket offices (so they can go 24 hours), Amazon are looking at moving in. It has been reported that Transport for London are talking to Amazon about converting ticket offices to drop-off points for goods.
Asda has already announced they’re moving into the Tube, so customers can pick up groceries when they’re not at home to take deliveries.
If the High Street is struggling, maybe it should look to moving everything underground, like some Dystopian sci-fi film?
Morrisons are to start doing online deliveries and they’ve got some new, rather busily designed vans to show off as a result. And bosses at the company reckon that a million new households will be able to shop with them each month by the end of January 2015.
Chief executive Dalton Philips says that Morrisons will be a unique web offering: ”We are late to the party but I am confident we can make quite an entrance.”
Customers will have to pay £1, £3, or £5 for deliveries, depending on the time of the day, and each order must be worth at least £40.
They plan to deliver fresher food than everyone else. They also plan to deliver bananas in bubble wrap and mangoes in socks. Fancy a bit of that?