Posts Tagged ‘retail’
By 2019, 323 outlets of Homebase will be shut down because they are “unprofitable or are in decline”.
The review of Homebase noted “inconsistent store operating standards” and level of sales across the chain that resulted in a “challenged financial model”.
In plain English, that means they’re rubbish and they’re going to get rid.
That’s not to say all the Homebase shops will be vanishing (although, this is edging toward a Deathwatch) as there are plans to reorganise the remaining stores with 26 Homebases getting a refit.
Tellingly, the Home Retail Group does not plan to refit all of its stores. Looks like the pressure is on for those getting a facelift because, if they don’t work, then Homebase may well get binned off forever.
In a bid to get people into Homebases, the company will put a load of Argos and Habitat concessions within them.
The trouble at Tesco simply won’t go away, with reports that the retailers sales are falling at the quickest rate in the grocery industry. As we all know, Aldi and Lidl’s successes are taking a huge toll on the supermarket.
Tesco sales fell by 3.6% in the 12 weeks to October 12th, reducing their market share from 30.1% a year ago to 28.8%, according to Kantar Worldpanel. It might not seem like a lot from the outside, but in the industry, this is bleak news. Or great news if you’re a rival.
In simple terms, to turn this around, analysts at HSBC reckon that it will cost Tesco £3bn to get things sorted in the UK. The good news for customers is that this should mean a drop in prices on goods by 5 or 6%. It would also mean 20% more staff and an improvement in the quality of their food.
Sainsbury’s are struggling too, with their sales down by 3.1% in 12 weeks, with Morrisons’ sales down by 1.8%. Asda, who have been quietly getting on with business as usual of late, have seen their sales increase by 1%. These figures are all knocked into a cocked-hat though, as Aldi’s sales have shot up by 27.3% and Lidl’s by 18.1%.
According to a detailed new survey of shoppers, Tesco’s brand in the UK is “severely compromised” thanks to a general and widespread disillusionment from customers with Tesco’s service. Research from the firm Lazarus shows that Tesco currently have the lowest overall customer satisfaction metrics in the grocery industry. As a brand, it has been labelled as “tarnished”.
Many consumers have had bother when receiving their online deliveries. Parcels can be late, go missing entirely, contain damaged goods or in some cases, thrown on a roof for you to fetch.
According to Which!!!, 60% of us prefer to shop online for the convenience, even though 26% of us have had trouble with the delivery process. Seems like a gamble we’re willing to take because we’re all fantastically bone idle.
The biggest problem is late deliveries and not being able to choose a delivery time.
However, not all companies are bad. Some are in fact, rather good. According to a Which!!! poll, the best in the business are WexPhotographic.com, JohnLewis.com, LizEarle.com and RicherSounds.com.
Which!!!’s Richard Lloyd, said: “One of the attractions of shopping online is the convenience of having your items delivered but we’ve found the experience can be anything but convenient. We want shops to do more to ensure that the service is first class, first time. Retailers need to respond to consumers’ demands and stamp out dodgy deliveries.”
So with that, let us look at the best and worst companies when it comes to delivering your purchases.
Ten Best Online Shops
The Worst Online Shops
90. Shop.BT.com (BT Shop )
99. DIY.com (B&Q)
Everyone is still laughing at Tesco as their woes continue apace. The latest is that, according to leaks, investigators from Deloitte and Freshfields have discovered that a number of execs at the supermarket deliberately misled auditors and accountants to try and hide their dismal financial results.
This is all revolving around the £250m accounting scandal and various sackings that Tesco have found themselves lumbered with.
So what’s the skinny? Well, it is thought that Tesco booked supplier payments that were reliant on condition of them hitting sales targets – ones that they were never, ever going to meet. It seems like this practice has been going on for a while, but were increased just before Tesco’s spectacular slump.
To make things worse, it looks like Tesco’s South Korean wing has been selling the personal data of more than five million customers to insurance companies, which is likely to end in prosecution. Things are so toxic in that area that Tesco’s Asian operations could be sold off. However, that can’t happen while there’s an investigation going on.
As a result, Tesco’s share price has fallen by 48% since the start of 2014.
Tesco are a complete shambles at the minute, but it is very, very difficult to feel sorry for them after they aggressively muscled out countless independent retailers out of the market over the years. So, in short – Haw Haw!
With that, just about everyone has ripped them off. Walk into any high street clothes vendor and chances are, they’ll have their own non-branded range of ‘Chucks’.
And Converse are suddenly very unhappy about it.
They’re so unhappy that they’re going to sue a whole load of people, including Ralph Lauren, K Mart and Wal-Mart for infringing their design. Seeing as Converse first released the shoes in 1917, they’ve certainly taken their time in doing something about it.
The company’s chief exec Jim Calhoun said he’s got no objection to fair competition, but, “we do not believe companies have a right to copy the Chuck’s trademarked look.” The company have sent 180 legal cease and desist notices to protect their brand.
Basically, Converse are protecting the design of the rubber toe cap and the stripes that appear on the mid-sole of the trainer. The cease and desist letters, thus far, are being ignored by other companies.
In its boldest impression of ‘a shop’ yet, you’ll be able to purchase online before 11.45am and then collect at one of the company’s 500 collection points.
Also, as part of its ‘Pick-up Location’ programme Amazon also said that users will be able to order by 7.45pm to pick up from 6.30am the following day. It will initially be free to members of Amazon’s £79 per year Prime premium service and £4.99 per delivery for non-members.
Amazon reckons that this drives people back to high streets where they spend more money in other shops. Usually a few bob in Poundland and some slap-up sausage rolls from Greggs.
Chris North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk said “We know that customers want a variety of different delivery options and many are choosing collection from pick-up locations as their preferred delivery method. You can certainly expect us to continue to add more and more pick up locations to the thousands already in existence.”
“We know that Prime customers love fast delivery and the convenience to pick up their order at a time and place that suits them best,” said Mr North. He claimed “This new service brings together both of those great benefits.”
Amazon reckon they now have over 6000+ pick-up points, which themselves have doubled in number in the last year.
An unusually warm September was blamed on all this, even though they would’ve blamed it on wet weather if that was around. Basically, people don’t know why we’re not shopping as much as we used to. Maybe its because we’re skint?
The British Retail Consortium said that the year-on-year drop in consumer spending was the most pronounced since December 2008, but said that there is some comfort to be taken from the fact that spending on big-ticket items such as furniture continued to be strong.
Helen Dickinson, the director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “In September, we saw the lowest retail sales figures since December 2008, excluding Easter distortions. This can be attributed to a number of factors including the continuing decline in food sales.”
“Furthermore, there was exceptionally low demand for items such as boots and coats, resulting in the lowest fashion sales performance since April 2012. However, demand for big-ticket items continues to be strong, with furniture outperforming all other categories.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “After a bumper summer, this is a disappointing outcome for retailers and has undoubtedly reversed some of the sales gains made in August. However, if temperatures drop to a more seasonal level this cooler weather will quickly turn around retailers’ fortunes and help them to sell their autumn-winter ranges.”
“The grocers had another challenging month, with further price cuts and promotions announced by most. With a rebasing of margins in the grocery sector throughout the year, this final quarter will see sales go to those who are most focused on their customers.”
One drawback was that you couldn’t use your credit card in all of its stores… but that’s all about to change as the budget supermarket is now going to lift their self-imposed ban on plastic money.
The reason they haven’t been accepting credit cards, is that they’re more expensive to process than cash and debit cards. However, from the 13th October, you can use them. .
“It is another potential barrier to shopping at Aldi that we are smashing down,” said Matthew Barnes, Aldi’s joint UK managing director.
Branches in Scotland and Wales have doing credit card transactions, which saw English customers having a moan about it all on Aldi’s Facebook page. It seems that Aldi is willing to take a risk with their profits with the cost of processing credit card payments, thanks in part to the fact that Aldi revealed record annual profits for last year.
Bad news for the competition.
When Morrisons announced that they were going to price-match Lidl and Aldi, everyone sighed. The Lidl trolled Morrisons. Fact is, loyalty cards are not nearly as good as the Big Four supermarkets think they are.
The supermarkets will hardly notice though because they’re not looking at the customer, but rather, far too obsessed with the competition.
A former senior Tesco executive has hit out at all this. Andrew Higginson said: “We need our boardrooms to have less hubris and to be more honest about the job the company is doing for its customers.”
“Management teams often seem to be focused on the wrong thing. Too much of the industry has raised prices to widen margins. Aldi and Lidl haven’t got any cheaper, it’s that the supermarkets have got more expensive. Supermarkets haven’t focused on customers, or Aldi or Lidl, or Poundland. They’ve been very focused on each other.”
This is why customers have been showing no loyalty to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. And why should they? Consumers aren’t going to be won over with a loyalty card, which are often more trouble than they’re worth.
In 2014, a lot of customers are savvy enough to know that, for example, Morrisons ‘Match & More’ initiative is not really a thing to help us save money, but rather, something that helps the supermarket to collect data on us and our shopping habits. Of course, there’s now so many loyalty cards on the market that the novelty wore off years ago. When Tesco launched the Clubcard back in 1995, it was a big deal – now they’re ten-a-penny.
Most importantly, shoppers have realised that you’re better off shopping at somewhere that has consistently low prices rather than relying on someone who will try and woo you with cashback or coupons. Not everyone is convinced that the Morrisons price match scheme will pay its way, while they know that Aldi and Lidl will be cheap, regardless.
Soon enough, we could see a Deathwatch: Loyalty cards.
The answer? A decidedly unpoundly 54p.
Of course, the news that a supermarket is pulling a fast one isn’t at all surprising, but this is some brazen nonsense from Asda.
Train driver Alan, who filmed his discovery and shared it with The Mirror said: “It’s disgusting really. There are millions of people living on the poverty line, trying to reduce the cost of their shopping as much as possible and looking out for bargains.”
“That bag had a bright red sticker on it, saying they were a pound. It makes it look like a bargain, when in fact you’re getting ripped off by nearly half. I’m definitely going to be reconsidering my shopping habits, and I hope others do too.”
Alan added: “I do like bananas, but I’m going to think twice about where I buy them from.”
Asda, of course, defended their bananas. A spokesperson said: “The majority of bananas we sell are loose which require a little bit of ripening at home and are price locked at 68p per kilo.”
“Our pre-packed bananas are stored for a little longer and have already been ripened so they’re perfect to eat as soon as you’ve bought them, they are then pre packed by hand, which is why they’re slightly more expensive. We clearly label the prices in store, so customers can choose which product is best for them.”
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.”
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!‘
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.
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.
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.
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.
We 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.”