Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Tesco: woes continue

September 1st, 2014 2 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!

christmas tree 300x214 Selfridges open up a Christmas shop in the middle of a heatwave‘It’s nearly Christmas!’ you almost certainly haven’t thought as you find yourself in the middle of a load of sunny weather and the kids having their school holidays.

However, that hasn’t stopped Selfridges opening their Christmas store, serving as a timely reminder that you better hurry up and buy your loved ones a festive gift, what with over 140 days to go until Christmas.

Selfridges’ London shop has in advance of 700 sq ft of Christmas happening on their fourth floor, which will see snow and scarves greeting shoppers who are wearing shorts or speedos or something.

Geraldine James, Selfridges Ms Christmas, said: “Despite the summer weather, we’re in full festive mode here at Selfridges. We’ve been working on this year’s Christmas Shop since Christmas last year.”

They’re not the only ones. In the Trafford Centre, Clintons have also started rolling out their Christmas junk as well.

The Mail asked a bunch of people what they thought about it all. One shopper said: “I normally buy my cards two weeks before so to see them on sale now is quite laughable.”

“It’s too far ahead, we haven’t even got summer out of the way. I actually came out into town to buy a barbecue and popped into this shop for a birthday card. I couldn’t believe it when I saw these Christmas cards – no doubt the Christmas trees will be out on sale soon.”

Of course, there’s always the option of completely ignoring all the Christmas stuff, but there’s nothing quite as British as moaning about Christmas coming too soon.

Greggs 300x286 Greggs: They actually sells things that arent bad for youGreggs have been performing well, but it isn’t all cheese and ham slices and steak bakes. No. Greggs is trying to be a bit healthier, which is very distressing news for all concerned.

With more seating in shops and a bunch of salady things and butties that are under 400 calories, they’ve got one eye on becoming a budget version of Pret or something. And they’re doing something right, because half-year profits up nearly 50%.

Greggs’ finance director, Richard Hutton, said: “We want to make sure we keep pace with changing taste. People have developed a taste for good coffee and healthy food.”

However, the good people of Britain are still great enough to know the value of deliciously greasy food, with Hutton adding: ”We still sell more sausage rolls than anything else, more than 100m a year. You will still see the sausage roll as a snack. It has 350 calories. There’s nothing to worry about for the sausage roll.”

Next up for Greggs is new fresh soup and hot sandwiches in the Autumn. Basically, they’ve noticed that everyone likes coffee shops, so they’ll be better than them by being a coffee shop that sells pasties.

“Greggs has a similar model to Pret. We have a similar supply chain, although we own our own bakeries, Pret don’t. Both are about good food made fresh.”

Just don’t remove too much salt and grease from your food though because, really, that’s the reason why people still shop there. If it doesn’t pass Dr Nick’s see-through food test, it isn’t worth bothering with.

Primark have a lot of detractors because their clothes are cheap. Snobs don’t like it when people can buy new outfits, while others worry for the welfare of people in sweatshops who make the garments (but are seemingly less bothered about premium brands who do the same things).

Now, the budget fashion vendor is in hot water for getting all thinspo. A mannequin was spotted in one of the store’s windows and, as the photo shows, the ribs are sticking out on it.

primark ribs 500x500 Primark cause a stink with protruding ribs mannequin

Shopper Mel Fraser wasn’t happy about it after seeing it in Glasgow. She messaged Primark directly, asking: “Dear Primark, is it really necessary that these new mannequins have protruding ribs?”

She continued: “I’d just like to see mannequins in all different shapes and sizes in all stores rather than young girls thinking this is the only way to be.”

Of course, thin mannequins also represent one of the shapes and sizes a woman can be, but you get the picture.

Primark replied, saying they’d look into it and said that they are currently changing its window displays. They’ve removed the dummy and in a tweet, said: “The mannequin you describe will not be used in this way again.”

Co op 292x300 Co op stores play unsigned bands... staff unhappyThe Co-op have decided to play music from unsigned bands in their shops in a bid to make everyone think they’re the lovely, kind supermarket on the High Street. They want to improve their image after all manner of drugs and sex-work was associated with them.

The Co-op signed a deal with licensing agency Emerge, which doles out music from unsigned bands and musicians to shops like Argos and Sports Direct. Crucially, deals with Emerge cost half a much as playing music by signed-artists.

“Shops normally have to pay a public performance licence to play well-known music, but the artists we represent are emerging artists and we create a direct licence between the business and the artist,” Gideon Chain of Emerge told The Telegraph.

“We then supply their music to the businesses, which is about 50 per cent cheaper than if they wanted to pay mainstream artists,” added Chain.

However, the supermarket’s employees are not happy about the unsigned bands being played in their stores and have started griping about it online, saying that they want rid of this ”terrible” music, which they have to endure all day. The Grocer reports that staff are demanding an immediate return to recognisable artists.

“The new cooperative radio unsigned artists initiative is absolutely diabolical,” one employee posted to The Co-Op Employees’ page. “More so for staff than customers. People want familiarity and songs they know, not to mention the staff who are subjected to these songs on a loop on a daily basis.”

Another angry employee spat that “even hipsters” would not listen to the “rubbish” music being played in their branch.

Should we introduce a supermarket levy?

July 28th, 2014 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

supermarket sweep b 300x225 Should we introduce a supermarket levy?There have been calls for local authorities to be allowed to impose ‘supermarket levies’ so they can help to revive town centres.

However, if the supermarkets get charged for existing, then they’re going to stick the price of their products up aren’t they?

These proposals has been put forward by a group of councils, led by authority in Derby. They think that these levies could generate as much as £400 million.

Anyway, those in the know about supermarkets think this is a bad idea.

“Profit margins at supermarkets are wafer thin. You cannot just continue to take money out in taxes before prices will have to rise. The business rates system needs overhauling and simplifying and this would only add more of a burden and more complexity,” said one supermarket source to the ThisIsMoney.

Derby City Council leader Ranjit Banwait said that life was being ‘sucked out of the city centre’ by out-of-town supermarkets and that, if they’re going to dominate local traders out of business, they should pay something back to the community.

The submission was made under the terms of the Sustainable Communities Act which encourages local initiatives and would apply to stores with a rateable value of £500,000 or more.

Surely there’s better ways of councils kicking some life back into their communities? If town centres are suffering, then how about going easy on the cost of parking in the community, which is just as prohibitive as anything else? Or maybe they should offer reduced business rates to independent businesses who are trying to offer something different to the hypermarkets?

Of course, one way of saving the country loads of money is to look at the expenses and budgets of local councillors too, but chances are, this union of local authorities aren’t as keen on that.

Aldi is COMING

July 22nd, 2014 3 Comments By Lucy Sweet

aldi logo 252x300 Aldi is COMING First it was Lidl. Now Aldi are looking to expand in the UK and blitzkrieg the supermarket scene like a giant budget zeppelin.

Tesco, who are currently crying into a bag of their ill-fated own brand salt and vinegar doughnuts, will be quaking at the news that the German brand is planning a £600m expansion. It’s planning to open 60 new stores and a massive distribution centre in the Venice of the North – Barnsley – and it’s also making in-roads into city centre convenience stores.

This is Aldi’s biggest investment in the UK to date, and will double its workforce to 24,000.

Unlike Tesco, confidence is running high at Aldi, and they’re expected to announce a profit jump of 25% when it releases its figures in September.

Managing Director Roman Heini said that Aldi’s business model was simple and that gave them a chance to be close to the market. ‘I’m glad we don’t have huge complex beasts with online, banking and huge ranges.’

(He means Tesco).

Joint managing director Matthew Barnes added, rather evilly: ‘We have been happy for our growth to be below the radar. We are even more happy if the other grocers are not worried about us.’

(That means they’re going to ATTACK Tesco with cheapness).

Be afraid, retailers. Be very afraid.

pop up 300x300 Pop up shops arent just annoying    theyre also worth £2.1bn The phrase ‘pop up’ surely has to be one of the most odious in recent memory, along with ‘heads up’ and ‘totes.’

But it turns out that rather than just being a trendy, half-arsed conceit pedalled by drinks brands, vintage stores and other self consciously hip companies, pop up shops are actually making money for the economy: £2.1bn, in fact.

Pop up shops are the children of the recession – temporary stores in empty properties or in town centres where rents are too high to sustain them – so it’s no surprise that they’re flourishing.

But a recent study by EE suggests they’re an economic force to be reckoned with. There are 9400 pop up shops in the UK, which employ 23,400 people – and they’re likely to grow by 8.4% in the coming year.

We’re spending money in them, too. The report predicts that the average customer spend will grow from £110 to £120 next year.

Mike Tomlinson from EE says that pop up shops are a ‘breath of fresh air’ and ‘truly embody the entrepreneurial nature of the UK.’

So think about that next time you’re in that shady branch of American Sweets, looking at a dusty box of Lucky Charms and wondering whether it’s all a front for money laundering.

Tesco chief-exec jumps ship after profit warning

July 21st, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

for b3ta tesco value droid 192x300 Tesco chief exec jumps ship after profit warningTesco are incredibly successful, which is why it is funny when they have a bit of turbulence. Their chief-executive – Philip Clarke – is now the ex-chief-exec as he’s resigned following a profits warning. He’s already been replaced by Unilever exec and non-executive director of BSkyB, Dave Lewis.

It is worth pointing out that Tesco are still making a shedload of money and that Philip Clarke is still considerably wealthier than anyone we know.

Tesco have said that trading conditions were more challenging than anticipated and that sales and trading profit in the first half of the year were below expectations. Of course, they had to say it was trading conditions, rather than holding their hands up and saying ‘we’ve kinda been crap for a while now are we’re sad that everyone has started to notice and shop elsewhere.’

During Clarke’s tenure, Tesco have seen three years of falling sales in Britain

Some of the board have backed Clarke, saying that major restructuring at Tesco has been part of the problem, as well as the advancing influence of Lidl and Aldi and online shopping. Others, meanwhile, think Clarke had an attitude problem.

Sir Richard Broadbent, the Tesco chairman, said: “Having guided Tesco through a substantial re-positioning in challenging markets, Philip Clarke agreed with the board that this is the appropriate moment to hand over to a new leader with fresh perspectives and a new profile.”

Clarke said: “Having taken the business through the huge challenges of the last few years, I think this is the right moment to hand over responsibility and I am delighted that Dave Lewis has agreed to join us.”

Hands up if you think anything’s going to noticeably change at Tesco…

Lidl goes FANCY

July 15th, 2014 No Comments By Lucy Sweet

Châteauneuf du Pape AC Aldi Lidl goes FANCY In a direct attempt to wooooo middle class shoppers who would rather flagellate themselves with uncooked quinoa than set foot in a Lidl, the German budget supermarket is now offering fancy French wines alongside the off-brand dodgy cider and cans of beer with ‘BEER’ written on them.

Yes, Lidl is seriously stepping on the other supermarket’s toes here, offering wine from the Chateauneuf-de-Pape vineyards for much cheaper than anywhere else. Prices start from £4.99 for a cheeky white Cote de Gascogne (nothing to do with Gazza mercifully) to £21.99 for a 2006 Chateau La Tour.

Lidl are spending £12 million – the most they’ve ever spent – on this product launch, and are hoping to change the way the budget supermarket is seen by the middle classes – and lure them away from Waitrose.

Ben Hulme, senior buying manager for wines at Lidl, said: ‘Our choice offers extraordinary value for money for some of the best wines in the world. Our pricing is transparent and open, unlike a lot of the permanent ‘offers’ on the High Street.’

Of course, everyone knows that the middle classes secretly shop at Lidl anyway, buying up parmesan and Parma ham undercover of darkness while wearing joggy bottoms to hide their shameful privilege…

British high street 300x180 Retail growth slows right down thanks to interest rate panic According to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium, we’re not spending again – this time because we’re worried about interest rates.

Retail growth rose by just 0.6% last month, which is the slowest growth since May 2011. Demand for big exciting things like appliances was weaker, and we didn’t spend as much money on food, either, preferring to shop cheaper and rely on offers.

And despite the healthy housing market, it seems we’re holding off on getting that new kitchen or buying accessories for our houses. David McCorquodale from KPMG, who helped to compile the figures for the BRC, said:

‘June saw the brakes applied to spending as shoppers put purchases of big ticket items on hold whilst they waited to see if the Bank of England would take action on interest rates. Even sales of home accessories and furniture flatlined, which is surprising given the UK is reportedly in the midst of a housing boom.’

So it seems like we’re putting everything in the mortgage pot for a rainy day. But Helen Dickinson from the BRC said it was OK, the UK is still on track for economic recovery. She puts it down to competitive food pricing which has changed shopper’s attitudes.

However, once interest rates do rise, we’ll be spending NOTHING. We’ll see what happens to the economic recovery then, Helen.