Posts Tagged ‘retail’

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.

Bildschirmfoto 2014 02 18 um 17.24.09 300x262 Morrisons trolleys to appear in a canal near youThe end of the £1 shopping trolley coin slot is nigh – Morrisons are ditching the trolley security measure, so it can make life easier for shoppers (and for people who want to recreate the iconic Bitterwallet logo and chuck them in the river).

The trolley security device has been in existence for 20 years, and has effectively put an end to drunk people stealing them and roaming around the town centre yelling ‘I’m a happy shopper!’ while vomiting rainbows of Mad Dog 20/20.

Morrisons say that CCTV combined with bollards will be enough to halt a return to the bad old days of trolley stealing, and plan to free 150,000 trolleys from their shackles. However, the locks will remain in place in high crime areas, city centres, and in hilly areas where they might roll away.

‘Our nation is getting busier.’ Says the new CEO of Morrisons, Dalton Phillips. ‘We have less free time than previous generations and customers have told us that they want a quicker shop. The removal of trolley locks is just one of the many improvements we are making to our store – to make for a faster and easier shopping trip.’

*all trolleys are instantly nicked and melted down for £££s*

[P.S. We know the Feral Trolley Of The Week needs updating more frequently, but we're having technical issues, so stop reminding us. It's irritating us more than it is irrita... who are we kidding, no-one's as irritated as you. Ed]

marks and spencer M&S: The S should stand for slippers, not sexyWhy do you shop at Marks and Spencer?

Chances are, you go there to buy food or other things like socks and undercrackers. Nothing too fancy. No-one shops at M&S for fancy stuff.

Not that the company themselves have noticed, what with their protestantly sexy adverts featuring Annie Lennox, Rita Ora and someone called Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. They want their shoppers to feel like they’re coming to a vibrant place, where ‘it’ is all ‘happening’.


However, M&S has always been most successful when aiming themselves at middle-aged people. Lacy bras and fashionable clothes is not what they’ll ever be known for and, to underline all that, it has been revealed at the M&S annual meeting, that they are the country’s biggest slipper retailer for men.

Get that!

It has been reported that one in five British men have been watching the World Cup in a pair of M&S slippers, and the retailer shifted a whopping 1.3m pairs of house shoes last year – not surprising when Marks & Sparks sell 40 different styles.

So while they try and modernise, maybe they should focus on the grey pound, rather than trying to muscle in on high street fashion chains. What do M&S customers want?! Comfy things! When do they want them?! Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be mooching around the house all day anyway!

Revealed: the voice of the self-service tills

July 7th, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

helena breck Revealed: the voice of the self service tills As you pass your tins of beans and vacuum packed sandwiches over the beepy things, you’ve probably dimly wondered: ‘Who is the woman who does the voice on the supermarket self service tills?’

Is she a robot voice, developed in a lab by Tesco to hit the right soothing notes when she asks you whether you have a Clubcard for the 458,079th time? Or is it a real woman who once spent an afternoon in a sound booth trying to say ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ in a variety of emotionally resonant ways?

Well, wonder no more. The voice of the tills (not to be confused with Alan ‘Voice of the Balls’ Dedicoat) is actress Helena Breck. Early devotees of 80s Eastenders might know her as the long-suffering wife of panto yuppie villain Wilmott-Brown. She was also in Crown Court and Triangle.

And now she’s the voice of 10,000 tills. What a CV!

Ms Breck was chosen after till manufacturer NCR were looking for a ‘calming voice and approachable manner.’ But like any actress, she doesn’t want to be typecast. There’s more to her range than ‘Please scan your items’, ‘Do you have a Clubcard?’ and ‘Please indicate payment type.’ She can do bloody SHAKESPEARE, darling.

‘Out damn spot! Out of the bagging area, I say.’

Poundland sales close in on £1bn

July 3rd, 2014 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

poundland Poundland sales close in on £1bnPoundland is having a really lovely time of it at the moment, with their sales nearing  £1bn, which means:

a) It is very likely they’ll expand across the country.

b) They’ve got £1bn in pound coins, so we might see the owner up The Asda putting truckloads of quids into those Coinstar machines.

Last year, Poundland made £880.5m in total sales, but this year, that has risen to £997m, which is a terrific amount of money for a shop selling Super Noodles, black socks, plant pots and one pound dildos (no, seriously).

The company already opened 70 new stores in the UK in the year, which means there are now 528 places to buy cheapo stuff. If the success continues, we should really consider dropping the ‘Eng’ from England and handing ourselves over to our new quid-obsessed overlords.

Poundland chief exec – Jim McCarthy- told the BBC that their research suggests that they could open 1,400 new stores across the country but “internally we use 1,000. It’s a nice round number.” He added that he wasn’t too fussed about the firm’s successes in light of the country’s recovering economy, saying that, even though it seems counter intuitive, “Poundland and other discount retailers do better as consumer confidence improves”.

Andrew Higginson, chairman of Poundland, added: ”I expect that Poundland will continue to benefit from its strong trading platform, its universal appeal and the structural change in consumers’ shopping behaviour.”

In other news, in what seems like a tremendously perfect fit, Poundland opened its first store in Torremolinos on Wednesday and plans a Spanish invasion over the coming months, presumably keeping an eye on the resorts. We can only hope that a Greggs opens up next door, for those Brits who miss home too much.

Ocado actually makes a profit

July 1st, 2014 1 Comment By Lucy Sweet

ocado logo 300x204 Ocado actually makes a profit Here’s a retail industry shocker – Ocado is no longer in debt since it made a lucrative multi million pound deal with Morrisons. Famously, the delivery company has never made a profit in almost FIFTEEN YEARS of existence, but thanks to the deal, it’s now reported pre-tax profits of £7.5m.

In an attempt to waste use the money, CEO Tim Steiner has announced plans to open a high tech, super whizzy warehouse to fulfil orders, based in Andover, now forever known as the birthplace of the Barclays poo.

The deal with Morrisons is helping Ocado out of its tightest spot yet – last year it posted a loss of £3.8m, and it has warned that there’ll be slow growth for online sales as the grocery market is ‘subdued’.

(Unless you’re actually successful, like Aldi and Lidl.)

Shares in Ocado have also fallen by 4.7%. But with Morrisons on their side – which isn’t struggling AT ALL – they’ll be fine. Won’t they?

selfService 1700875c 300x187 9 out of 10 customers hate self service tills We use them because they’re there (and they’re marginally preferable to monosyllabic/overtly effusive checkout assistants). But a staggering 93% of us can’t abide self-service supermarket tills and say that they cause more problems than they solve.

A survey by cash management company Glory Global Solutions revealed the huge amount of customers who are frustrated, bamboozled, and otherwise kicked in the bagging area daily by self-service machines.

But we would rather use them than stand in a queue behind a glacially slow old lady buying 6 tins of marrowfat peas.

However, there’s a weird gender divide when it comes to using them. 80% of women used them regularly compared to 77% of men. But women were more likely to start yelling at the machines, with 96% admitting that they’d lost it in front of one, compared to 89% of men.

Interestingly, more than a third of customers avoided self service at both supermarkets and banks, preferring human interaction. And a quarter said they didn’t use the technology because it was ‘too slow.’

Young people, though, use self-service machines willy nilly and have few complaints, probably because they grew up with the sound of their mothers swearing at a computerised voice.

But the results showed that despite the rise of the machines, many of us see (human) customer service as a vital part of doing our shopping and banking. Mike Bielamowicz from Glory Global Solutions said:

‘While the majority of UK consumers are open to using self-service machines at least some of the time, it’s significant that interaction with a staff member is still a key part of the retail experience for many people.’

*Seeks assistance*