Posts Tagged ‘retail’
Powa-Tag is a UK based start up that helps you buy things on your mobile while you’re in store (or outside) – and it’s got some powerful big retailers on its side, too.
240 retailers, including HarperCollins, Reebok, Argos and Adidas, are all in partnership with the Point and Click app, which uses QR codes so that you can make instant purchases in a shop without having to queue for the tills. Or you can buy when a shop is closed, or have stuff delivered to you if the store you’re in is out of stock. Basically, you can point your phone at a shop window and buy stuff at midnight when it’s shut. WEIRD.
The app also allows stores to bombard target customers with special offers – which won’t be irritating at all!
But…aren’t QR codes a bit 2009? Wouldn’t it put sales assistants out of a job? And if you want to buy on your mobile, wouldn’t it be easier just to go home, put the kettle on and browse the online store, rather than lurking about outside an empty shop in the middle of the night, waving your phone about?
This old lady is confused.
The Co-operative are having a terrible time, what with a scandal or two, losing a lot of money and they’re selling off their farms. However, they can’t just admit defeat. They’ve got to do something about it in a bid to revive themselves.
It seems the Co-op think success lies in convenience and they’re set to double the number of convenience shops they have, to around 4,000 in the next five years.
The company’s retail chief executive, Steve Murrells, wants to turn around the Co-op’s food business and said that he’d be overseeing an expansion that would double its capital expenditure to around £300m a year, as well as investing in cutting prices, smartening the stores up and growing their range of own brand products.
There will be 150 Co-ops opening per year, with that target looking to increase if all goes according to plan as Murrells hopes to become the UK’s “leading store retailer”. ”We want to have a shop on every corner in every community around the country,” Murrells said.
You’ll have to fight Tesco for it.
We’re all used to hearing news that the high street is on its knees and retailers are openly weeping into the bins outside Claire’s Accessories as their empires crumble. And we’re all equally used to hearing how the cost of living has skyrocketed while our wages, er…haven’t.
But today, we can walk down the high street with a little spring in our step because the British Retail Consortium have announced that high street prices are falling at a record rate.
That’s right, we’re paying less and less in the shops, with goods costing an average of 1.4% less in February than in previous months. Some things went even lower, with clothing and shoes were 12% cheaper than last year.
February marked the tenth month in a row that deflation had occurred on the high street, and food inflation also feel slightly from 1.5% in January to 1.1%.
So can we look forward to paying even less for our stuff? Helen Dickinson from the BRC thinks so.
‘Many of the larger food retailers have been looking closely at their investment in promotions and price cuts, suggesting competition could intensify further.’
LET’S BUY EVERYTHING.
We’ve already had Jamie and his empire of Italian chain restaurants that charge £15 for an underwhelming bowl of pasta. But who is the next sweaty, corpulent and bad tempered chef to gain UK wide domination?
Step forward Gallic bad boy and uber-wanker Marco Pierre-White, who has put down his beefy stock cube for five minutes and signed a deal to roll out 50 new restaurants in his name across Britain in the next five years.
The deal is with a hotel development company, and will incorporate his two brands – Marco-Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill and Marco’s New York Italian restaurant. The latest will be in the Indigo Hotel in Manchester, which will open next year. There are already three successful restaurants in Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle, and he plans to spread like a culinary PAN-demic around other major cities very soon.
The depressing onslaught of the celebrity chef continues unabated, and their cache means they can charge £60 a head for food that couldn’t give the Berni Inn a run for its money. And the chef with the name above the door (and on the walls, and on the menu) is invariably conspicuously absent.
But will this be different? Well. Jay Rayner, food critic of the Observer, visited White’s Steakhouse in London and said ‘everything we ate was awful in that “someone must be punished” sort of way’.
Privilege checkers are always asking celebs and politicians about the price of a pint of milk. But now there’s an easy answer, thanks to Tesco, who have sparked a price war over the white stuff by charging just £1 for four pints.
Tesco has undercut its rivals Morrisons and Sainsbury’s by 39p – and they’re using milk as a weapon in the latest bid to compete with their budget rivals. Asda already sell four pints for a quid, but this is the first part of Tesco’s concerted effort to win back customers and offer them cheaper deals.
CEO Phillip Clarke admitted that Tesco had ballsed up by not helping customers enough during troubled times. He said: ‘Businesses which don’t change with the times don’t succeed and we did not change enough, not enough for our customers. But now we have changed.’
They’re claiming that their price cuts, which come with the not-very-catchy slogan ‘Prices Down and Staying Down’ could save customers £100 a year. They’ve also slashed prices on onions, carrots and other everyday fruit and veg.
But the National Farmers Union are furious, claiming that Tesco is ‘devaluing milk’ and causing problems for already cash-strapped dairy farmers. They called on the other major supermarkets not to follow Tesco’s lead.
Still, in the meantime, knock yourself out. Go mad for the milk. Have a bath in it, wash your hair with it, have cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner! It’s cheaper than water! (almost).
Thanks to the wet weather, last month rain was falling and so were retail profits. In fact, February was a lousy month for retailers as business slid into a puddle of doom.
Unless, you happened to sell…waterproof jackets, sales of which were up by 2.4%. Yes, if you’re an outdoor retailer, your cash registers will have been ringing with the sounds of soaked punters snapping up kagoules, wellies, anoraks and umbrellas to fend off the interminable water from the sky.
According to the BDO sales tracker, which monitors retail sales, fashion sales fell by 3.3% because the only thing it was possible to wear was a large waterproof condom and a boat. But like-for-like sales were also hit across the board, dropping by 0.9% due to the dismal wet weather.
But it’s not all bad news for the beleaguered high street! In fact, retailers have escaped relatively unscathed. Sales of homewares went up sharply, rising by 9.8% on last year – probably because we were all spending so much time holed up in the house. And those who managed to get to the high street have been spending their money quite generously.
BDO said: ‘The bad weather has certainly had an impact on footfall, but retailers are telling us that those consumers that braved the elements were spending and that conversion rates were up, which softened the blow.’
So it’s not a complete wash out. And I bet MONSOON did well! Hahahaha!
(I’ll get my waterproof coat.)
They’ll also be making a move into giving everyone the opportunity to make mobile phone payments when they go in to pay £1.09 for a pastie.
The company want to increase sales of products below 400 calories, when maybe, they might see a growth if they make the most unhealthy food imaginable, thereby making it a guilty pleasure and joining in the Britain’s current fetishisation of greasy burgers and the like.
Less health. More junk!
“We’ve got a significant number of products, particularly in the sandwich range, that qualify under that banner and we want to make more of that as part of the sandwich work that we’re doing,” Chief Executive Roger Whiteside told Reuters on Wednesday.
Either way, they’ll have more butties, won’t be stopping the sale of sausage rolls and you’ll be able to pay for stuff with your phone, so there you go. Welcome to the Greggs of the future.
Dixons and Carphone Warehouse are in talks to merge together so, instead of being two companies you like/loathe/are ambivalent toward, they’ll join together to make one giant pile of adoration/hatred/I don’t care.
If they finalise the merger, it could create a company with, in advance of 3,150 shops and yearly sales of around £12bn.
In a statement, the companies said that talks were at a “very preliminary stage and there can be no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming”. As a result, shares in both businesses started jumping all over the place as the stock market got all excited.
“No decision has been reached regarding the structuring of any such merger,” said the companies in the joint statement.
They’ve got until 5pm on 24th March to announce whether they’re going to go ahead with the merger.
There’ll be no joyful patting of back pockets at Asda today, after they announced a disappointing 0.1% fall in sales in the 13 weeks to the 3rd of January. While 0.1% doesn’t exactly seem like a catastrophic figure, it marks the first fall in sales for the supermarket since 2010.
CEO Andy Clarke looked dolefully up from his Asda ham and pineapple pizza and made the usual comments about it being tough year, yadda yadda yadda.
‘It will come as no surprise that 2013 was a tough year for UK retailers and there’s little doubt that the UK retail market is undergoing significant and permanent structural change. Though the economy is showing signs of recovery, it is still susceptible to shocks and the benefit is not yet being felt right across the country.’
(Which, translated from Retail Speak, means ‘Aldi are better than us.’)
Having been blasted for artificially raising prices during the Christmas period so that they could offer Aldi/Lidl busting low prices in January, Asda don’t seem to be having much luck at the moment.
But it’s not stopping them from investing £200m in lowering more prices and spending £750m on a UK wide expansion programme.
But could it all be ill fated? Will the British public desert the Walmart-owned monster in favour of copycat Not Nobs biscuits and scuba diving equipment from our favourite German supermarket?
When you open a bottle of wine, chances are you’re trying to plunge yourself into oblivion to erase the awful grinding drudgery of the day (Amirite, ladies?).
But Sainsbury’s want to shame wine drinkers just that little bit more by telling them how many CALORIES are in a glass. Their new labels are intending to help us make ‘more responsible health choices’ – although I would say that if you’ve got 3 boxes of Stowells of Chelsea and a Wham bar in your trolley, a nutritional information sticker isn’t going to make much difference.
However, Sainsbury’s think it’s important, because they did a survey and found that 85% of Britons knew how many calories are in a 125ml glass.
Jane Ellison, Public Health Minister, welcomed the move, saying: ‘The use of calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks is a key way the industry can help support responsible drinking. Sainsbury’s are once again helping to lead the way in providing consumers with the information that they need to make informed choices. We welcome this move and urge others to follow suit.’
For the record, apparently there are 228 calories, which is the equivalent of two fish fingers.
(Yes, but can fish fingers get you pished?)
Tea might be as British as it gets, but it’s usually grown and picked by sad, underpaid ladies in a field in India or China, then shipped off to feed our insatiable appetite for the hot stuff. But soon you’ll be able to have a cuppa made from leaves grown in Cornwall. PROPER BRITISH TEA, INNIT? *UKIP face*
However, it’s all a little bit more artisan than a crumpled packet of One Cup from Asda. The Tregothnan estate in Cornwall has been growing tea since 2000, in a humid microclimate on the South West coast, and they’ve agreed to sell it through Waitrose. And apparently, the wet weather has created ideal conditions for growing tea.
‘The current extreme wet seems to suit the bushes as long as they are not actually sitting in water.’ Said the estate’s managing director, Jonathan Jones.
‘It mimics much of the Darjeeling climate in India or some of the famous tea regions in China. In fact some of our team is in Shanghai now and will be meeting with companies who wish Tregothnan to also grow tea for them in Cornwall.’
SELLING TEA TO CHINA? Whatever next? Women dressed as men? Men pretending to be ladies? Global warming? Ooh, I say, Doris!
There are fewer empty shops on the UK’s high streets, according to some new data.
The Local Data Company, which monitors more than 2,000 town and shopping centres and retail parks, said average vacancy rates were below 14% for the first time in four years. However, there are still more than 50,000 empty shops in town centres.
At its peak in 2012, vacancy rates were 14.6%, compared with 13.9% in December 2013. It could be down to those seasonal affairs that pop up selling tinsel-based tat, but the majority of the vacancies are being filled by food and leisure businesses.
There are also some regional variations in their findings, showing that vacancy rates in the North West, North East and East of England have all increased in the past 12 months. With the North West being the worst hit, with 17% of shops currently empty.
It’s said to be due – in a no shit Sherlock manner – to the prominence of out-of-town shopping experiences and retail parks.
Back from the brink, the gaming vendor has announced plans to really corner the pre-owned games market.
They’re looking to refit a small number of their existing shops under a new name called Gametronics.
Initially, these stores will crop up in places that already have more than one Game store. These outlets won’t just stock previously owned games, but will also sell other forms of technology, such as phones, tablets or consoles.
It looks like Game are going after the market currently bossed by CEX.
In the Gametronics shops, you’ll be able to trade-in games and gadgets in exchange for credit that you’ll be able to use in Game stores. Could be handy if you want to palm off your PS3 if you’ve got your eye on a PS4. You can assume you’ll be able to trade things in for straight cash also.
How low can you go? Well, prices are now 1% less than they were a year ago, as retailers resorted to desperate price cutting measures just to get punters through the doors.
As eagle eyed bargain hunters now demand discounts as their inalienable consumer right, and will browse the internet and go elsewhere for better value, high street prices have dropped like a drunken Sally Bercow onto a random guy in a nightclub. 1% might not seem like much, but it’s the steepest slide in prices since 2006.
Helen Dickinson of the BRC said:
‘Shop prices are falling at their fastest rate for seven years, a new record for our data. January is always a key month for sales and promotions, but discounts have been deeper and more widespread than last year and we are seeing this trend continuing.’
Prices in the January sale were 10% less than last year (WHOO!) with a 3.8% drop on the prices of furniture and carpets and a 1.8% drop in electricals.
Obviously, food has gone up and wages are stagnating, but who needs money and food when you’ve got a cheap PS4 and a massive DFS sofa?
High-end retailers will have NEIGH worries this month, thanks to an influx of Chinese shoppers spending their New Year holiday at the shops. Luxury brands such as Burberry, Omega and Fortnum and Mason are set to hear the sound of galloping Chinese tourists, eager to snap up some bargains.
Chinese visitors to Britain were responsible for a 14% rise in UK spending over Chinese New Year in 2013, and they’re not going to New Look, either. Designer handbags, jewellery and watches are the big draw, with Chinese visitors last year spending a whopping £741 per transaction last year.
Fortnum and Mason have even prepared their sales team by organising cultural training, and recruiting staff that can speak Mandarin.
Meanwhile, stores in the London Luxury Quarter (which incorporates 42 streets and 70 shops in Central London) are using special displays, installing Union pay payment services and hiring staff to specifically target the Chinese market.
So retailers can saddle up and watch all that money from the East flow right in, while domestic customers can only afford to stand outside, gaping at all those lovely handbags and eating a Chow Mein Pot Noodle in the rain.