Posts Tagged ‘retail’
Tesco and a customer have been flirting with each other in the most nauseating way imaginable – by writing poems to one another.
That’s right, a pair of Charlies wrote to Tesco’s Sir Richard Broadbent with a poem about salted popcorn and how their local branch had no plans to restock it.
Tesco replied with a poem and a £10 voucher while the rest of us vomited up everything we’ve got (save for the saps who will inevitably say ‘Ooooh stop complaining – it is just a bit of fun!’. They’ll be the first against the wall come the revolution).
Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.
The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.
Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.
Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?
This cost-cutting from the supermarkets of the UK has seen a sharp increase in insolvency among food producers, with the number of companies in the food production sector entering insolvency rising by 28% in the 12 months.
Duncan Swift, a partner at Moore Stephens, says: “Supermarkets are trying to compete on price with Aldi and Lidl, but with profit margins that are far higher than these discount chains.”
So, in the case of farmers and the like, who often operate as sole traders and therefore aren’t registered at Companies House, this means that if they’re suffering, Moore Stephens’ figures are likely to not tell the whole picture of how hard it is for food producers.
Those in the food-making industry are waiting longer to get paid from supermarkets too. Jeff Longhurst, chief executive of the ABFA, said: “Many in the food and drink sector believe the problems with payment terms have now become endemic.”
Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket by market share – revealed a £263m shortfall in profits in October, as a result of problems with the timing of payments received from its own suppliers.
“Supplier contributions cause major cash-flow problems for food producers and can tip them into insolvency,” added Swift. “It’s a raw deal for the food producers who need the supermarkets to reach the public, but who can’t afford the terms of business that the supermarkets foist on them.”
Netto have been opening a crop of new shops with little fanfare, but the one to keep an eye on is B&M Bargains.
Simon Arora, the chief executive of B&M, has been saying that his company are “genuinely disruptive” to the retail industry and that they will be doubling in size in the UK. B&M floated on the stock market earlier this year and are valued at £2.7bn.
While Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Asda have all been keeping an eye on each other, they collectively failed to noticed that B&M, Poundland, Aldi and Lidl have been stealing their customers through good prices and expansion.
B&M also happen to be chaired by former Tesco boss, Sir Terry Leahy, so you know they’re not messing around. The company already has 400 outlets, but they’re looking at getting to 850 stores in the next couple of years.
Arora said: “Half the UK does not have a B&M in convenient access. We will become a national retailer not a regional retailer.” While they don’t sell food, “you can find a toaster in B&M and it will be cheaper than a specialist shop.”
B&M are looking at becoming something like Woolworths, filling the gap for those who want the kind of things you wouldn’t buy with your groceries. B&M are also looking at grabbing the buildings left by Homebase who closed a quarter of their stores.
Sir Terry Leahy says: “The business is well-positioned as the leading limited assortment general merchandise discounter in a growth sector which offers scope for it to at least double in size in the UK alone over the next few years – and we are making good progress towards that objective.”
“B&M has delivered good momentum in sales, profits and cash generation during the first half whilst at the same time pushing on with rapid store rollout and investing in new infrastructure and team capability to support this long-term growth.”
The Big Four – the ball’s in your court.
We all know that the big supermarkets aren’t doing particularly well and, as far as the consumer is concerned, why should anyone care? As long as someone is offering a decent price on decent products, it doesn’t matter where you shop.
And so, to Goldman Sachs who think they have a solution for the big players in supermarket world – they need to be broken up and scaled down.
In a research note, Goldman Sachs said Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons must cut space by around 20% by 2020 if the want to survive the onslaught from Aldi and Lidl. “Our analysis of the UK grocery industry suggests capacity exit is the only viable solution for a return to profitable growth,” their analysts said.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that someone has suggested that. We’ve spoken about the idea of Tesco becoming ‘smaller’ in a bid to stay relevant.
It is believed that like-for-like sales through the bigger stores will fall by around 18% and that earnings could also fall by 60% between 2013 and 2017 if supermarkets don’t sort this issue of space, out.
The supermarkets have already noticed this and tried to find a remedy for it, that’s why so many of them are setting up ‘convenience’ versions of their supermarkets, because no-one is using their enormo-markets that are found out-of-town.
And while the big four have been slashing prices, or at least threatening to, it isn’t enough according to Goldman Sachs. They think that “the major decisions that will shape the future of the UK grocery market are yet to be taken”.
We can only wait and see.
Tesco are trying to win over the public with free WiFi in their stores. Of course, this means Minority Report fans are going to lose their baps over this, thinking that the whole thing is an exercise in stealing your data and tracking you around the aisles.
In fairness, that’s probably true.
In a press release, Auntie Tesco said:”Customers are now able to take advantage of BT WiFi free in Tesco Extra and Superstores across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Tesco is helping customers get more value out of their shopping experiences with free and fast WiFi access at stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, thanks to a new partnership with BT.”
So how do you go about getting it?
Tesco add: “To enjoy the new service, customers should simply select ‘Tesco Wi-fi’ or ‘BT’ on their smartphones or tablets and they can begin browsing. The free service has been fully rolled out to 806 Tesco Extra and Superstores in the UK and 113 stores in the Republic of Ireland.”
While you’re using it, you’ll be allowed to download Clubcard vouchers and get product information too, as well as browsing recipes and hawking the latest in-store offers and all that.
Tomas Kadlec, Group Technology Director, Tesco, said: “Customers now want the same kind of experience in-store as they enjoy online, with fast and convenient access to product information, pricing and offers at the touch of their fingertips. We were the first supermarket in the UK to offer free WiFi and the first to launch online shopping. We’re now bringing these innovations together to put our customers in control with better service and value than ever before.”
Get on the torrents while you’re shopping for beans, eh?
The site where people take pics of things for followers to go “Oooh” at, is wanting a piece of the online retail action, and is in talks as to how to monetize the site.
The chap in charge of engineering at Pinterest, Michael Lopp, claimed that the company was looking to redefine how consumers find goods online.
This comes after Adobe reckoned that Pinterest could become a goldmine, and even projected that it would overtake Facebook.
Lopp said: “When we think of retrieving information, we think of search. If you don’t have a keyword though, you’re out of luck and if you want to browse, search engines are the wrong tool. We call this the discovery problem. There’s a big opportunity to help people browse and discover ideas and projects before they’re ready for search phase.”
Pinterest hopes to be the place where consumers check out new and exciting things, rather than the dull old search engines of Google and Amazon.
Pinterest is responsible for 23% of referrals to e-commerce sites. Lopp also stated that there are 30 billion pinned posts on the social network with that number growing by an average of 25% every quarter.
And there’s us thinking it was just used by a bunch of girls gawping at photos of things that they can’t afford.
Andy Clarke, who just happens to be the head honcho at Asda, has said today that things have slowed down for the Wal-Mart owned retailer and that, like everyone else, Aldi and Lidl are eating into their customer base. He’s vowed to turn things around as the company recorded their first significant slump in sales since the discount supermarket onslaught began.
The supermarket chain’s sales had fallen in the third quarter of this year, which is of note because Asda’s sales haven’t seen a drop in like-for-like sales since 2010.
So what are Asda going to do? Well, Clarke isn’t impressed with the other retailers attacking the German supermarkets, and he said: “We won’t be knee-jerked into reacting to short-term tactics. Vouchers can win quarters, but strategies win decades.”
“The last quarter has seen a shockwave go through our industry and others are starting to respond to the challenges they face. I expect that we will see another tough quarter and I’m under no illusions that the battle continues to rage.”
That means Clarke will oversee price drops, a revamping of big stores and doing something meaningful with their digital side of the business. Clarke wants it delivered “with agility and pace”.
“We have more to do on the discounters,” said Clarke, “but we continue to close the gap on price and offer 10 times the range across stores and online. A new reality is upon us and, although we were the first to adapt, we need to do everything to remain ahead of our traditional competitors while removing reasons for customers to go to the small discount shops.”
“A year ago we took clear action to tackle the changes in our market and implement a five-year strategy to redefine value retailing. That is a long-term strategy that won’t be delivered overnight. But our early, decisive action has seen our business outperform our traditional competitors in a market that is in unprecedented distress.”
So there you have it. Asda are feeling the pinch too. Can they outwit their rivals?
Sainsbury’s have got ’round to noticing the “unstoppable growth” of discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi and, as a result, have announced that they’re going to be doing £150m worth of price cuts, as it funked its way into a first-half loss.
And worse still, they predict that underlying profits will be lower in the second half of the year than the first.
The price cuts mean that Sainsbury’s will be cutting back on spending on new stores, according to Mike Coupe, the new chief executive of the retailer. Of course, with all this, their shares are falling, down 4%.
Mike Coupe added that, after doing a review of the company, he’s found that customers and staff want a “better, brigher, sharper Sainsbury’s”. What customers want, in plain English, is a reasonable price for decent products. Also, it’d be nice if bosses at supermarkets stopped being so pessimistic and sounding for all the world like they’re going to top themselves in the veg aisle. All we want is a good price and non of that emo business, thank you very much.
John Ibbotson, director of the retail consultancy Retail Vision, told the Guardian: “Just like the old British empire, the big four are now in an irreversible decline. The middle classes are on the move, and their destination is Aldi and Lidl. Does Sainsbury’s have the market savvy to stop the grand exodus, and retain a core customer? The upheaval will go on for years, and the low-cost discounters look set to be the main winners. The only limit is how many stores they can open.”
Argos have been having all manner of technical difficulties on their website, with people not able to buy their things, and now, it is the turn of BHS.
The company put a message on Facebook:
“We would like to sincerely apologise for the technical difficulties we have been facing on the website over the past 48 hours. Every effort is being made to fix these issues by our technical team. We are extremely sorry for any inconvenience and frustration this may have caused you.”
“We will keep you updated as to when the site is fixed and how we plan to rectify the situation. Thank you for all your patience and understanding. The BHS team.”
Of course, with Black Friday imminent, BHS could be in a very sticky situation. Rest assured though, if you’ve been screaming at your computer, thinking that it is only you who is suffering an outage on the site, everyone’s in the same boat.
Menswear retailer Burton also saw their site on the blip thanks to ‘technical issues’. With Black Friday and Christmas just around the corner, looks like some IT teams are going to have to do a load of overtime.
The gadget enhancement allows Nectar-holding customers to build a ‘virtual basket’ of products they’re most keen on, before they shop. It also helps them navigate around the chosen branch, and will even allow for customers to scan and pay at the shelf through a mobile.
The supermarket reckons it will shave minutes off your life spent in their stores. That could really backfire though, eh?
Other upgrades include more flexible delivery slots, with bookings on the half hour as well as the hour, and greener delivery options allowing shoppers to book slots in one vehicle if it’s delivering to neighbours. Far out, maaaaan.
Sainsbury’s digital and technology director Jon Rudoe has weighed in with a say: “We know that customers’ weekly shop doesn’t start at our front door – they know what they like and they also like that search for a bargain. They still want to come into store – but with limited time, they want to be able to get their shop done quickly. That’s why we’re putting digital firmly at the forefront of our agenda, and putting technology in the hands of our customers”.
At least he didn’t say solutions, but for a moment there, we were all thinking it.
They’re throwing £600m of investment at it, doubling the number of outlets they have. There’s going to be a lot of Dairyfine chocolates in lunch boxes soon enough.
Aldi said: “This includes plans to create at least one apprenticeship position per store, per year, which would see the employment of between 600 – 1,000 apprentices each year as Aldi strives towards 1,000 stores.”
“Apprentice training and development will be supported by a new Apprenticeship Academy located at Aldi’s offices and distribution centre in Bolton, which is due to open in March 2015.”
As well as apprenticeships, there’ll be management roles as well as in-store and regional distribution centre roles.
Matthew Barnes, group managing director of Aldi UK, added: “Our expansion plans mean that we can accommodate growing shopper numbers, while ensuring that there is an Aldi store only a short drive away from people, no matter where they live in the country. We are opening our doors across the UK, making it even easier for people to shop and save with us.”
Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s weren’t able to pass judgement on this news because they were too busy soiling themselves and wondering whether or not to apply for a job with the discount chain before their companies implode.
The supermarket initially said: ”It is Lidl UK company policy that staff speak in English to customers, irrespective of their native language. This is for the benefit of all our customers as well as our staff to ensure a comfortable environment where all feel included.”
Of course, this made some people really angry and made some racists shout “QUITE RIGHT!”
Lidl, aware of the pending storm of faeces about to hit them, decided to make things absolutely clear and issued a statement via Facebook. They said:
“To our lovely customers. We apologise for the continued confusion surrounding the use of the Welsh language in our stores. To be completely clear, we have never and will never ‘ban’ the use of the Welsh language at Lidl. Nor do we prohibit staff from speaking Welsh to each other. Those of you who have visited our Welsh stores will know that we embrace the language, with many of our stores also having Welsh signage. We hope that this helps to resolve any misunderstandings going forward.”
They continued: “There has been a lot of misinformation circulating regarding our business language and we would like to clarify Lidl UK’s position on languages in the work place.”
“We understand that in certain regions of the UK there are other official languages in use and we welcome the use of these in our stores. We also ask that, if possible, our staff respond to customers in the language in which they are addressed. As an international company we are extremely proud to support such a diverse workforce, and value the contribution of each and every member of staff. We do have a general policy in the UK stating that we carry out our working communication in English, such as when speaking to fellow employees on the shop floor. As a business we have to have this in place to help reduce misunderstandings and encourage the building of good relationships across the business and with customers.”
“It is a great asset for our business to have such a multi-lingual workforce, and one that we value and champion. We absolutely aim to empower and encourage any staff members to use their language skills to assist customers. Equally, whilst staff are on their break, they are of course welcome to converse in their language of choice. We only ask that they consider their colleagues who may be sharing rest facilities at the same time.”
“In light of recent events we would like to assure our staff, customers and the general public that we do continually review our policies and will be considering all feedback that has been presented to us.”
Hands up if you think one of the big supermarkets leaked this story to the press because they’re pig-sick of Lidl chipping away at their profits.
All 870 of the chicken-based restaurant chain’s interiors are set to be revamped from March 2015, which they reckon represents “the future of interior design for KFC”.
To get an idea of what’s to come, the chain have launched the new spruce-up at their Bracknell branch, with Exeter and Reading next on their list.
Although they’ll have to pull their finger out, to get it nationwide before their self-imposed deadline.
Gone are the easily-copied-by-Chicken-Cottage fittings of old, and now it’s all exposed ceilings and textured brick effect walls, accessorised with illustrations of, well, mainly chicken, from commissioned artists
Jane Sawby of KFC’s in house interior design cabal, reckons the design was inspired by “families and friends coming together around the kitchen table to share freshly made food” adding, “KFC was designed with sharing in mind”.
You’ll also be able to see your food being prepared in a “semi open-plan kitchen” get-up.
Swaby continues: “The sense of the kitchen being the heart of the home really influenced the authentic, inviting design. You can feel the openness and warmth from the moment you step through the door and we hope that customers feel at home in the new restaurant.”
There’s just too much speak there, so we’ll leave that with you to digest what they’re banging on about. Basically, it sounds like they’ve noticed how well Nando’s and Bar Burrito are doing.
So now, you can skive at work while putting tins of pineapple rings and sink unplugging juice into a virtual basket and then pick them all up at your convenience.
The order cut off time for next day Click+Collect has been extended to 5pm too and there’s an earlier collection time of 3pm. This is all incredibly exciting isn’t it? You’ll also be able to pick your shopping up from ‘selected Tesco partners’ if you don’t have one near to you.
If you order by 5pm (Sunday – Friday) you can collect in store after 3pm next day. If you order on a Saturday, you can collect your shopping after 3pm on Monday (that doesn’t include bank holidays).
You’ll need to take some ID and a copy of your confirmation email when you collect your order, which is all pretty standard.
If you don’t believe us, and think this news is too fantastical and far too good to be true, Tesco have announced it on their website where you can see the full glory of their announcement. See it here.