Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Poundland now letting you shop online

September 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

poundland Poundland now letting you shop onlinePoundland has launched online, meaning you can buy their wares on the internet. There’ll be the usual items available, like shampoo and packs of biros, but there’ll also be Poundland’s own brands like the Jane Asher kitchen range and Tommy Walsh’s DIY stuff.

There’s no minimum order value, but it will charge you £4 for delivery. You can buy in bulk, and if you spend over £50, delivery will be free.

Jim McCarthy, Poundland’s chief executive, said: “The online shopping market is a rapidly growing channel and one which could provide a significant potential opportunity for us. This trial is an important first step towards giving more customers access to our amazing value.”

This follows Poundland’s £55m takeover of the 99p Stores, as the company expand in the UK. They’ve got nearly 600 shops now throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Sales have been up too, rising by 11.4% and of course, profits are up as well.

Visit the Poundland website here

food poisoning 300x300 Product Recall: Sainsburys, Aldi and Iceland food poisoning scareA number of supermarkets have recalled products over food poisoning concerns. The Food Standards Agency said Sainsbury’s have recalled their SO Organic British Double Cream, Aldi have recalled their McCallums Scottish Double Cream, Iceland have recalled their Double Cream and Müller Wiseman Dairies have recalled their Müller Wiseman Dairies pasteurised Double Cream.

So what’s the craic? Well, they said that “low levels of Listeria monocytogenes have been found in a limited number of pots”.

An agency spokesperson said: “Listeria monocytogenes can cause food poisoning, especially in vulnerable groups and expectant mothers.”

So, if you’ve bought any of these, you should absolutely not eat them, or you’ll be making friends with the toilet more than usual. Return the product to your nearest supermarket and you’ll get a full refund. If you’re feeling flush, just chuck them in the bin.

The agency spokesman said The Müller Wiseman Dairies product has been sold convenience shops in Scotland and the North of England, so if you’ve got any bother there, get in touch with Müller Wiseman Dairies at care@muller-wiseman.co.uk or 01355 270 629.

The product details are as follows:

Sainsbury’s SO Organic British Double Cream 300ml’. Use by’ date: September 2, 2015. Batch code: 01716184
McCallums Scottish Double Cream 300ml. ‘Use by’ date: September 2, 2015
Iceland Double Cream 284ml (10oz)’Use by’ date: September 2, 2015.
Müller Wiseman Dairies pasteurised Double Cream. Brand: Müller Wiseman Dairies. Pack size: 300ml. ‘Use by’ date: September 2, 2015.

Tesco is selling vinyl again!

September 1st, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

records Tesco is selling vinyl again!Records are lovely things. It is nice that, when you buy some physical media, you get something big for your money. Of course, vinyl attracts dust and if you’re moving house with a load of records, you wished they’ve never been invented… but other than that, it is lovely to have records in the house.

Of course, vinyl got hammered by the introduction of cassettes and CDs. When everything got thrown into oblivion by MP3s, vinyl clung on in there and is currently in the middle of a small resurgence. While vinyl sales have been climbing, compact disc sales fell by 6.5% last year and legal downloads were down by 9%. Everyone’s streaming these days or off up the torrents.

So with that, surprisingly, vinyl is going to make an appearance on supermarket shelves for the first time in ages!

Tesco will be stocking the new Iron Maiden album, on LP, from Friday. While you’re in your local Tesco, you can see if they’ve got any Iron Maiden beer in and make a night of it, if that’s your thing.

Michael Mulligan, responsible for sourcing music for Tesco, said: “Parents are getting their old vinyl albums down from the loft and teenagers are discovering the joys of the 12 inch record for the first time.”

‘The Book Of Souls’ by Iron Maiden will be on sale in 55 of the largest Tescos and is on a whopping triple LP format and, thanks to the dewy nostalgia in us, we’re going to be very happy seeing a bunch of records in a high street supermarket again.

amazoninstant Amazon: giving away apps and serving booze in under an hourAmazon are up to all manner of stuff at the minute and one thing they’re trialling through the Prime Now service, is putting booze on offer. If you’re in Seattle, and you don’t know what to do with that tossed salad and scrambled eggs, you can order hard liquor and beer, and get it delivered to you within a couple of hours.

Of course, you could just walk down the shops and stretch your legs, but y’know, you might be really lazy for all we know.

Prime Now, which hasn’t been rolled out everywhere yet, lets you get deliveries and fast. If trials are successful, then everyone will be able to get on it you suspect, while Amazon try to dominate the entire world.

Amazon are also trialling a new Android app called Amazon Underground, which is offering ‘Actually Free’ apps, games, and in-app purchases worth $10,000. This means they’re giving away apps that don’t have any hidden in-app purchases, which is nice.

The unusual thing here, is that Amazon is playing with the notion of paying certain developers on a per-minute basis, where money is generated for every minute the app is used. There’s surely going to be some irritating app developments through this, but certainly something to keep an eye out for.

Sadly, the Amazon Underground app isn’t available on Google Play, as Google are massive babies who don’t feature apps that offer access to other apps or games. You’ll have to get it through the Amazon Underground website.

This will replace the ‘App of The Day’ promotional giveaway that Amazon have been doing.

“The Amazon Underground app is a long-term program rather than a one-off promotion. Over time, we’ll continue to invent and add more benefits to Underground. For now, enjoy some actually free apps and games!,” said the firm on its website. This is available to people in the UK, America, France and Germany and will no doubt get rolled out everywhere soon enough.

McDonald’s defend zero hour contracts

August 26th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

mcdonalds McDonalds defend zero hour contractsIt won’t surprise anyone that a company like McDonald’s employs people with zero hour contracts. We believe that Hamburglar has been on one for the past few years.

Well, the UK boss of the meat vendor has decided to defend the company’s use of zero-hours contracts, by saying what all the other businesses who use them say: it helps staff to stay flexible. It also screws a load of people who want more work, but there you go.

Paul Pomroy, while speaking to the Beeb, said that all UK employees were notified of shifts two weeks in advance and were allowed to work elsewhere. He says: ”Jobs at McDonald’s are good jobs. Our staff are trained well and are proud to work for the company.”

Stop laughing at the back.

McD’s are also looking at how they will pay the new National Living Wage to staff who are 25 and over, with Pomroy saying that it’ll be a burden on the company. That’d be the company that are worth $92.5bn worldwide, the poor lambs. Oh, and they’re the same company who are being investigated for dodging $1bn in tax too, and that the EU are investigating them. The struggle is real, clearly.

Of course, Pomroy says that McDonald’s have paid a “fair” amount of tax: “I’m confident we’re going to come out clean, we have paid within 1% of the UK corporation tax for a number of years.”

Maybe the new table service will be the thing that sorts everything out, so we forget about McDonald’s numerous dicky doings.

lidllogo1 300x298 Lidl to bring out Smarter Shopping card and Autumn RangeLidl are going to win some friends with the introduction of the new ‘Smarter Shopping’ card, which will let you gobble up a different promotion each week. However, it’ll only be available in Scotland… for now at least.

The first of the offers came last week, where you can get £5 off when spending £25, and from then on, the following deals will be highlighted online and in-store, for 10 weeks.

Now, this isn’t a loyalty card, thanks to the time frame on it, and Lidl have said that they won’t be collecting data on their shoppers. Basically, you redeem you rewards at the checkout, and there’s no limit on how many times you can use the card.

Nationwide, Lidl have also unveiled their Autumn range of clothes, which has got some mutters of approval. Certain quarters are rather excited at the classic leather biker jacket that is going on sale, for the price of a paltry £14.99. Lidl sold the item last year, which sold out in three days!

They’ll also be selling a black denim jacket (also £14.99) and a Chanel-inspired boucle jacket, whatever that means.

There’s also going to be some leather-look headphones for £7.99 and some mirrored shades for £2.99. Basically, if you buy all of this stuff, you’ll look like an ’80s action film hero.

morrisons 300x300 Morrisons told to stop saying theyre as cheap as AldiMorrisons have had their legs smacked by the Advertising Standard Authority, asking them what they mean exactly, when they say they’re as cheap as budget supermarkets.

See, Morrisons ran an advertising campaign where they said that a comparable grocery shop at Morrisons would be cheaper than its rivals. That includes the likes of Aldi and Lidl. If not, you’d be reimbursed. Aldi weren’t having any of that and lodged a bunch of complaints with the ASA like massive grasses.

They argued that the Morrisons advert would mislead shoppers, and that a proper comparison to goods could not be achieved.

The ASA looked into it and today, Morrisons have been told that they can’t show the ads again “until it had provided consumers and competitors with a sufficient method to verify the references to the price-match scheme”. Basically, they’ve said ‘PROVE IT’.

Tony Baines, joint MD of buying at Aldi said: “This supports our view that these adverts did not provide consumers with sufficient price comparison data to enable them to make an informed choice. Our own analysis shows that the Morrisons Match & More scheme did not price match Aldi. In our view, complex price promotions and price matching schemes of this nature are confusing, are not transparent and do not serve the best interests of consumers.”

Morrisons said that four of the five things thrown at them were thrown out by the ASA and, in addition to that, the commercial in question hasn’t been running for months now. Basically, ‘ner ner n’nyer ner’.

Poundland’s takeover of 99p Stores looks likely

August 25th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

poundland Poundlands takeover of 99p Stores looks likelyIt looks like Poundland’s £55m takeover of 99p Stores is going to happen, as the venture has got provisional approval from the competition watchdog, Competition and Markets Authority.

The CMA said that everything seems above board, as the deal won’t make customers “worse off”. Although, if Poundland change 99p Stores prices, then everyone stands to be at least 1p worse off on things like plant pots, German biscuits and dry shampoo.

The initial investigation, which took place in April, said that a merger between the two companies would result in a lessening of competition in some areas, as well as the likelihood of a reduction in promotions, a loss in quality and the closure of some shops.

However, after surveying 5,000 customers and looking through company documents and commercial data, the CMA came to a different conclusion. They said: “Customers would not face a reduction in choice, value or lower-quality service as a result of the merger”. A blunt answer, but an answer all the same.

The idea now, is that the company merger would still face a lot of competition from places like B&M Bargains, Wilko, as well as retailers like Asda and Tesco.

Philip Marsden, Chair of the CMA’s inquiry group, said: “There has been a significant rise in prominence of value retailers for UK shoppers. Our evidence indicates that customers are primarily attracted to Poundland and 99p Stores because of their affordability and see them as good alternatives to each other.”

“Nevertheless some customers can and do switch to other types of discount retail chains. We have also seen in recent years the Big Four supermarkets engaging in intense price competition, some of which involving the promotion of £1 products.”

“On the basis of the evidence to date, we do not think customers will be worse off from the merger.”

Naked Wines to let you text for booze

August 25th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

FineWineCellar 300x300 Naked Wines to let you text for boozeWinos! Are you tired of having to walk to the shops to get your plonk? Are you regularly too leathered to manage to dress yourself properly, but still want to sup more wine?

Well, good news – online wine vendor, Naked Wines, have launched a new service that will let you put a booze order in via text message. ‘ICYMI: I still want a load of wine lol’.

This “Text for Wine” service is being referred to, by Naked Wines owner Majestic Wine, as “the first of its kind”, and is available to you boozehounds for no additional charge, other than the usual standard network rates.

This could be rather handy if you have a lot of wine to get in for a party, and you really can’t be bothered to carry it all from the shops. And get this – you can be “as vague or specific as they want” with their textual order. You can ask for specific wines, or if you’re not sure/don’t care, you can tell them the kind of wine you’re looking for and how much you’d like to pay for it, and staff will sort it out.

You’ll have to be organised though - orders will be delivered within five working days. You can collect them from a Majestic Wines store if you like, but that feels borderline pointless.

This scheme is being piloted in the UK, and if it is a success, then America and Australia will see it rolled out there too. This follows a ‘no minimum purchase’ rule that has just come in at Majestic Wine.

Naked Wines UK managing director Eamon FitzGerald said: “We’re extremely proud to launch our “Text for Wine” service, which gives our customers a new, fast and simple way of ordering their favourite wines.”

“Initial uptake has been very encouraging and it’s easy to see this service being particularly useful for busy customers who don’t have time or access to the website. Now these customers are only ever a text away from ordering a case of delicious wines.”

Kelkin Choc wafers 300x175 Product Recall: Various chocolate wafers in salmonella warningSimilar to the Tesco recall of the ‘Free From’ Belgian Chocolate Wafers, which saw salmonella warnings, there’s a product recall on Sainsbury’s Kelkin Milk Chocolate Break Wafers “Free From” Gluten.

Food Standards Agency have said that Valeo Foods are recalling a product, with a spokesperson saying: “Valeo Foods has recalled the above product on a precautionary basis. The potentially-affected batch is only sold in Sainsbury’s stores in the UK.”

“Sainsbury’s has displayed point-of-sale recall notices in stores. These notices tell customers about the recall and advise them of what actions to take if they have bought the product.”

“If you have bought the above product, do not eat it. Instead phone the company’s Customer Careline on 0808 208 3258.”

The details of the product affected are: Kelkin Milk Chocolate Break Wafers ‘free from’ Gluten, best-before date: 1 February 2016. No other Kelkin products are known to be affected.

Enjoy 300x188 Product Recall: Various chocolate wafers in salmonella warningThere’s also a recall on Bakers Delight Free From, Enjoy – Wafer Fingers.

All date codes are being recalled on this one, and Bakers Delight is recalling the product after routine tests have shown the presence of salmonella in certain batches of a similar product.

Please do not consume this product, but return it to Waitrose for a full refund.

If you require any further details please call Bakers Delight Customer Services Department on: 01706 650356.

Basically, a lot of chocolate wafers are being recalled at the moment so it might be an idea to give them all a miss until this gets sorted out.

tip jar 209x300 Are Côte restaurants taking all the staffs tips?We learned of Pizza Express’s ‘unique’ approach when it came to the tips their staff get, but the Côte restaurant is taking it to the next level. And they’re annoying us because Côte has a special character in it that we have to keep typing out.

So what’s occurring? Well, Côte are apparently taking all the tips that they automatically add to bills, and the staff don’t see any of it. That 12.5% they add goes straight to the company, which customers thought were going to the pockets of service staff.

Côte has 72 restaurants, and has defended themselves by saying that it allows them to pay their staff a higher hourly rate, of around £7.50/£8. According to the Standard, a staff member said: “We are told by management that we don’t get to keep the service charge because we get paid more than the minimum wage, so we should be grateful, but most of us would prefer earning the minimum wage and taking home our tips for the hard work we do.”

The Standard add that staff are told to tell customers who enquire about the tips, that the service charges are dished out between workers. While that is technically true, it seems odd that a business would go about raising wages this way. The charge is automatically added to a customers bill, but they can ask to have it taken off, once they’ve paid up.

Another member of staff said that any cash tips are to be handed over to the company: “One night I was waiting a large group and had to split the bill for each guest. At the end they left a £100 cash tip, but I was forced to hand it over to my manager and never saw that money again.”

Iain Wright MP, chairman of the Business Select Committee, said: “When you go into a restaurant you have a direct relationship with that waiter and you want to reward them for looking after you. I’m particularly outraged that the firm would tell staff to essentially lie to customers. If I say to someone serving me in a restaurant, “do you get the service charge” I expect it to go 100% to them as a tip for great service. For Côte to say it’s going to the bottom line rather than in people’s pockets is unacceptable.”

“There’s a principle of making sure the tips that you give over and above the bill of the restaurant is given to the staff. It’s hugely important and should be given 100% to the staff to show your thanks. I think we have to expose some of the negative business practices that don’t help the staff.”

“This seems to be the tip of the iceberg. There’s a principle of making sure the tips that you give over and above the bill of the restaurant is given to the staff. It’s hugely important and should be given 100% to the staff to show your thanks. I think we have to expose some of the negative business practices that don’t help the staff.”

This follows the news that Côte have seen their profits jumping up by 27% last year, to £16.3 million.

A spokesperson for Côte said: “At Cote the optional service charge is used to increase the pay of all restaurant level staff above what would typically be seen as market standard. Whereas the base salary for a waitress in the industry would typically be minimum wage, currently £6.50 per hour, we are able to pay more like £7.50-8.00 per hour through using the service charge.”

“This applies to all restaurant level staff, as good service is a team effort from the person serving the food to the person cooking the food or cleaning the kitchen.”

Same day delivery from Argos?

August 20th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

argos logo 300x230 Same day delivery from Argos?Even though Argos can be a bit ‘free jazz’ when it comes to delivering your goods, they’re not letting a little thing like that get in the way of their ambitions.

They’ve announced that they’re trialling a same-day delivery service for online purchases in certain bits of the UK. It’ll be running via their ‘Fast Track’ service.

So what’s the scoop? Well, there’s going to be three delivery slots per day, 7 days a week for £3.95. If you order something before midnight, Argos can get it to you the next morning between 7am – 1pm. If your order is placed by 1pm, you can have it delivered on the same day between 2pm and 6pm. For any orders placed by 6pm, they’ll offer you a delivery slot between 7pm and 10pm.

At the moment, it’ll only be available in the South East, but it looks like a nationwide roll-out is likely. That won’t stop your cynicism about the whole thing, will it?

In addition to all this, Argos already offer the Fast Track service for in-store collection in selected stores, for purchases that you have made on the internet.

If you want to find out more about this, then check the Argos Fast Track page.

Sainsbury’s extends price pledge online

August 19th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

sainsburys 300x192 Sainsburys extends price pledge onlineSainsbury’s are extending a price matching scheme to online orders, in a bid to win everyone over. Doesn’t help if they don’t sell anything that you want, but the thought is there at least.

The ailing supermarket said that they’re going to expand their Brand Match scheme to online orders from August 19th.

You’ll know this scheme if you’ve been in one of their stores any time since 2011.

Basically, it works like this – Sainsbury’s prices are compared with similar branded groceries at Asda and, if Asda are cheaper on a basket of at least 10 items, Sainsbury’s customers get a money off coupon for the difference, which you can spend on your next shop.

Or, you could forget about having a pocket full of vouchers for 28p, and just shop somewhere that is cheaper in the first place. And people wonder why everyone’s off to Aldi and Lidl.

That might be why Sainsbury’s posted a sixth straight quarter of falling underlying sales in June, and have seen their share price drop by 19% over the last 12 months.

Morrisons to axe M Local stores

August 17th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

morrisons 300x300 Morrisons to axe M Local storesMorrisons are looking at getting rid of its convenience stores – you’ll know them as the M Local shops – after the supermarket reviewed where it was at. They were slow on the uptake of local shops, compared to Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and as such, have been pretty much left behind in the sector.

Their main supermarkets aren’t much better either, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now.

And it looks like someone called Greybull Capital is going to snap the stores up. They love a troubled business though, as last year, the investment company threw money at the struggling Monarch airline, to the tune of £125million.

With around 160 convenience stores, chairman Andy Higginson said that more than 30% of these shops had not worked and new chief executive David Potts has been very clear that he wants to focus on the bigger supermarkets. The company have already said that they’re clearing out throughout, with 720 jobs being chopped from their headquarters.

Morrisons said earlier in the year: “Convenience is a channel that we expect will continue to grow in future. Over recent years, we have been working to grow M local at pace in order to quickly gain critical mass and learn.”

“However, for stores now in their second year, we are not seeing the level of trading performance we had anticipated.”

Free ATMs in shops? Maybe not

August 17th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

reg varney cash machine 300x300 Free ATMs in shops? Maybe notIf you’ve been drawing money out for free down the shops, that might all be about to change warn the UK’s shopkeepers, thanks to a change in how they are taxed.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) are asking the government to exempt ATMs from business rates, which cost shops up to £15,000 per machine. And now, some shops are being asked to cough up for one off bills which are running into tens of thousands, because charges have been backdated to 2010 by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

The ACS, who rep independent traders, said: “We believe ATMs are a high street enabler providing shared benefits to a range of traders, allowing consumers to access their cash and spend it within their local communities.”

So what to the VOA have to say about this? A spokesperson says: ”We are currently reviewing ATM sites to ensure all sites that should be assessed are correctly rated. This treats all businesses equally, and ensures they pay their fair share of the overall business rates bill.”

“We will continue to consult with the machine operators who will be affected by this exercise.”