Posts Tagged ‘retail’

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 No 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.

No-one has been running Tesco’s finance for months

September 25th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco NEW No one has been running Tescos finance for monthsLaugh At Tesco Week continues apace with the news that their board is having a nervous breakdown when they found out that no director had been in charge of Tesco’s finances for the past five months.

Even though chairman Sir Richard Broadbent said that the former finance director Laurie McIlwee had been working on a part-time basis (with the fabulous job title of ’CFO Emeritus’) since quitting, turns out that was a load of cobblers and that Tesco are running their multinational company like a provincial chip shop.

Amazing.

It looks like Sir Richard’s position is somewhat untenable, what with this and the small matter of Tesco’s £250m profit shortfall.

Tesco announced that McIlwee’s replacement, Alan Stewart, was being brought in two months ahead of when he was supposed to start, presumably ringing him up and saying; ‘Can you start early mate? We need to get things running professionally again and we’re running out of a bollocks to drop.’

Sir Broadbent was asked about McIlwee’s absence and he said that he “was available to us to oversee that transition but he has not been in the office this weekend.” adding that: “He’s not in the office because, as I said, he was not directly involved and has not been directly involved in the recent days and weeks.”

Basically, since McIlwee quit, Tesco have been issuing profit warnings all over the place. It has been quite extraordinary.

In the statement last night, Tesco said: “Tesco stated on the 4th of April that until he officially left the company in October, Laurie McIlwee would be available to carry out transitional activities and support handover with colleagues as required.”

“During the transition period Laurie has in fact not been called upon by Tesco and has not been involved or had any input to any financial matters or held any position of responsibility in the company.”

The result of all this is City investors, who are dumping tens of millions of Tesco shares. The whole company, it seems, is about as slick as peanut brittle drying in your hair.

There’s inevitably going to be more laughs to be had at Tesco’s expense. They really are a farce.

tesco bag 300x187 Serious Fraud Office keeps tabs on Tesco and other grocersWe continue to laugh at Tesco’s woes (yes, we’re very petty) today as it has been announced that the Serious Fraud Office is keeping an eye on what’s going on at Tesco after they invented £250m in their accounts.

Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have also been warned by auditors that they’re being watched too, as they could be liable to an accounting balls-up.

The Financial Conduct Authority have also been told about the goings-on at Tesco and now, it looks like the mega-grocer could be forced to open up old accounts, from 2011. Why? Over in That America, law firm Glancy Binkow & Goldberg said they’re looking at allegations on behalf of Tesco’s US shareholders over possible violations of federal securities laws.

There’s a lot of rumours knocking about that Tesco have been railroading suppliers into getting rebates and, according to The Times, these rebates could be sought with little notice under the guise of growing commercial income for marketing or promotions.

Cantor Fitzgerald retail analyst Mike Dennis said: “This was a well-known practice within Tesco and we believe it has been going on for at least a year or more, and became more desperate as sales full further.”

Not only that, the South Koreans are coming after Tesco too. Prosecutors in South Korea are investigating Homeplus (owned by Tesco) over allegations that the company’s managers sold customers’ private information to insurance firms.

The FRC said: “The FRC has disciplinary powers in relation to misconduct by accountants and, through the Financial Reporting Review Panel, can also require a company to restate its financial statements. The FRC does not have powers to monitor or require restatement of unaudited trading statements. It will consider the outcome of the investigation announced by the company and determine whether it should take regulatory action.”

Asos in bother with brands

September 24th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

bw asos 300x168 Asos in bother with brandsAsos seem to be annoying their third party brands.

The online retailer’s’ heavy discounting and regular price promotions have made some companies question their future with them.

One unnamed retailer, who blabbed to the The Telegraph, reckon that Asos’ stategy is damaging to their brand, and this particular retailer is considering leaving the site for good.

Alongside Asos’ own brand, there’s a number of high street and designer partners including New Look, Birkenstock, French Connection, and River Island.

The online user base has increased by 25% over the past year, and now has 8.8 million active users.

Sales over the year increased 27%, leading CEO Nick Robertson to state that that the company was focussed on reaching £2.5bn in sales as its next target.

However, Asos themselves have refused to comment on its relationship with third-party brands.

It isn’t a good time for the company, seeing as they’re currently on Deathwatch after posting two profit warnings this year and a warehouse fire that dented the company for £30 million in lost sales alone. Shares have been falling and Asos said: “In the new financial year we’ll make significant investments in our international pricing and proposition, as well as in our logistical infrastructure and technology platform. As a result, we expected profit before tax for the year to August 31 to be at a similar level to 2013-14.”

If the third party brands decide they’ve had enough of Asos, they could ‘do a Phones 4u’.

Sainsbury’s new trolley for disabled kids

September 23rd, 2014 2 Comments By Ian Wade

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys new trolley for disabled kidsSainsbury’s have launched a new shopping trolley designed especially for parents with kids who have disabilities.

600 of the trolleys will be sent to stores across the country this week.

The new trolleys are designed for children with the likes of cerebral palsy and autism, and fitted with a special padded seat and harness designed for maximum comfort and security.

All Sainsbury’s supermarkets will have at least one of the new trolleys by the end of October.

Sainsbury’s had invited parents Maria Box and Stacie Lewis to trial-run the new trolleys, after learning of their frustration with the current trolleys being unsatisfactory.

Hannah Bernard, Sainsbury’s director of customer experience, said: “We were reviewing our range of trolleys when we read about Maria’s experience and Stacie’s call for supermarkets to introduce a new trolley for disabled children. We immediately contacted them and invited them to trial our new trolley with their children.”

“We always had trolleys for parents with disabled children but they weren’t appropriate for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism. We hope these new trolleys will make shopping much easier for thousands of parents like Stacie and Maria and are very grateful to them for helping us with the design.”

Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People said: “It’s excellent news that Sainsbury’s are taking steps to improve the shopping experience for disabled people. This new trolley should serve as a benchmark for others in the retail sector.”

Hurrah all concerned!

Tesco invent £250m in their profits and suspend execs

September 22nd, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

tesco extra Tesco invent £250m in their profits and suspend execsEveryone enjoys it when Tesco make a pig’s ear of something. They’re too big for their boots, so even if these cock-ups don’t necessarily mean that they’re in trouble, we should take every opportunity to mock them when it presents itself.

And so, Britain’s biggest supermarket have overestimated their profits by £250m, like the massive idiots they are.

They were talking about their expected profit for the half year, and invented a whole load of money ”due to the accelerated recognition of commercial income and delayed accrual of costs”.

“On the basis of preliminary investigations into the UK food business, the Board believes that the guidance issued on 29 August 2014 for the Group profits for the six months to 23 August 2014 was overstated by an estimated £250m. Some of this impact includes in-year timing differences. Work is ongoing to establish the extent of these issues and what impact they will have on the full year,” the company said in a statement.

The stupid gits.

Tesco have gone off crying to Deloitte and asked them to undertake an independent and comprehensive review of this balls-up, as well as consulting Freshfields, their external legal advisers.

Once they get this sorted, they will provide a further update of their interim results, which will now be shared with the world on the 23rd October 2014.

We can only hope that even more money goes missing, because we’re petty and cruel.

*update*

Tesco have gone and suspended four executives, including its UK managing director, after their overegging of profits and have launched an investigation, which will be undertaken by Deloitte.

As a result of this debacle, the company’s shares fell 10%. ”We have uncovered a serious issue and responded accordingly,” said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis.

Lewis said “a number of people” had been suspended from duty, and one of those is UK managing director Chris Bush, according to the BBC.

Lewis added that he expects Tesco “to operate with integrity and transparency” and that they ”will take decisive action as the results of the investigation become clear.”

Made.com congratulate Scotland on their independence

September 19th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

The Scottish Independence Referendum (or, ‘neverendum’ for those who have been furiously bored by the whole thing) has had a lot of people debating and musing, and when that happens, you can bet your ass that a load of people in marketing are looking at ways of getting on board with the whole thing.

Made.com got a bit trigger happy, congratulating the Scottish on their new found independence… that didn’t happen.

IMG 0864 381x500 Made.com congratulate Scotland on their independence

 

What with Scotland still being part of Britain for the time being, the email will have no doubt offered Scots a painful glimpse into a future they could’ve had, where they could’ve had a bunch of navy blue things in their houses.

Obviously, navy blue things are banned now.

Made.com realised their error and sent another email out, which was inspired by the Union Jack, which will serve to offer certain Scots the bleak realisation that they’re tied to David Cameron for a while yet.

IMG 0867 347x500 Made.com congratulate Scotland on their independence

 

Now, all Scottish people who voted ‘Yes’ will be required to store all their broken dreams in a £179 ‘Jack Upholstered storage box’ while watching their hopes float away while sat on a £769 ‘Edward Jack Armchair’.

Cruel business this politics lark.

Avid Bitterwallet reader, Steve Hogarty, spotted something in Boots and needed to share it with everyone. He’d spied their essential-for-summer product, called ‘Boots’ Hot Weather Refreshing Spray’, which sounds magical, especially if you’ve been struggling in the heat.

He said: “The special formula in Boots’ Hot Weather Refreshing Spray is a closely guarded secret. Only two scientists know— oh.”

BwdnaPTIMAEi97N 500x340 What is the secret behind Boots Hot Weather Refreshing Spray?

 

So as you can see, Boots are flogging plain ol’ water in a spray can and saying that the ‘Hot Weather Refreshing Spray’ is good ‘for sensitive skin’ and is to be used by ‘adults and children’.

You have to admire the brass balls on Boots for this.

Tesco: woes continue

September 1st, 2014 5 Comments By Ian Wade

tesco bag 300x187 Tesco: woes continueIt’s been a rum few days for Tesco.

One of their key shareholders, Harris Associates, has sold nearly two thirds of its stake in the beleagured supermarket.

The American investment fund Harris Associates, had been Tesco’s seventh largest shareholder.

Chief exec David Herro told the Sunday Telegraph “We have sold, in the last month, probably two thirds of our position

“With so many unknowns … those risk factors are just too high to justify a big position.”

This comes after Tesco issued its second profit warning in two months, and estimating that annual profits are more likely to be 25% lower than last year. Continuing a three year decline.

It’s probably not the ideal welcome for Dave Lewis, who takes over the top job today, a month ahead of what had been planned.

Tesco, who has lost the bulk of their business to up-and-coming budget retailers such as Aldi and Lidl, also slashed its dividend by 75% to give Lewis greater flexibility to revive the world’s No.3 retailer.

Can it catch up on lost ground? Who knows? Should they break themselves up in a bid to stay in the game?

Should Tesco break itself up?

August 26th, 2014 4 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?

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…

You’ll have to wait for Poundworld.com

August 12th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

one pound coin 300x300 Youll have to wait for Poundworld.comIf you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the chance to spend your money on Poundworld.com, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer.

The company have announced that they won’t be going through with the Poundshop.com venture that they launched with Poundland founder, Steve Smith. Basically, the family who run the world of pounds can’t come to an agreement with those from the land of pounds.

Poundworld announced the joint venture in February 2014 and would provide stock to a site that would, they say, be the first ever online single price point website. Of course, everything costs the same on a torrent, but that’s nitpicking.

While Poundworld would provide the goods, other aspects of managing the business, from operations and fulfilment and all that, would be overseen by Steve Smith. It looks like Poundworld didn’t think Steve Smith was up to the job of looking after the customers.

Instead, Poundworld plans to launch their own online shopping portal later in the year.

Chris Edwards, a junior trading director at Poundworld commented: “A mutual and constructive decision has been made by both parties for Poundworld to end its association with the Poundshop.com brand. We are still committed to online and Poundworld is putting plans in place to go it alone with our own online venture. By doing so, this will enable us to have full control over all aspects of the business ensuring that the site reflects our ongoing brand values and strategy.”

“We wish Steve every success for the future,” they added, like they’d just sacked some 17 year-old who didn’t impress during his probationary period of their first office job.

Happy 20th birthday online shopping!

August 12th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

online shopping  Happy 20th birthday online shopping!To paraphrase The Beatles, it was 20 years ago today, when online shopping first appeared to us.

Or, just in case the pedants haven’t had enough tea this morning, it’s the 20th anniversary of the first secure online transaction.

And what did that purchase consist of? Why, it was a copy of tantric hitmaker Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales which went for $12.48 (plus shipping). Rip off.

Since then, it has grown exponentially (online shopping, not Sting) to the point where 95% of the UK spent £91 billion online in 2013, with one in four of us doing it at least once a week.

Unsurprisingly, the research by Shop Direct, reckoned that most of the online shopping was done on laptops and PCs, with one in 10 doing it from a mobile and one in five on tablets.

Of the most popular purchases, Books are top with 64%, clothing and accessories (you can never have enough hats, gloves and shoes) are next at 60%, Music and entertainment solutions (56%), electronics (54%) and holidays and travels (50%) as the things most frequently bought online.

The survey gets nosier and gleans that more than a quarter of the 1000 people surveyed do it in bed, one in seven get up to it before work, while one in 20 do it while commuting.

Can you beat that? Where’s the oddest place you’ve bought a Sting CD online? Send in photos of proof!