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Morrisons makes a deal with Ocado Friday, 17th May 2013
Photo credit: Morrisons
Morrisons seals a 25-year deal with Ocado for its online service to sell its groceries via online. As it has been hit by lack of online presence in recent years, the fourth largest supermarket in the UK has reported that its website will have a 'Morrisons’ look and feel' and will retain its branding as sets to use Ocado’s distribution centre to deliver groceries.
The company’s initial payment to Ocado will be £170 million in order to obtain Dordon, Ocado's distribution centre at central England, including associated equipment. The company agrees to pay Ocado 25 per cent of the earnings made via its website which will be reduced to 10 per cent after 15 years.
To accommodate Morrisons' range, the company said it will invest further £46 million for expansion of Dordon and also to combine with its systems and find a network of delivery spokes.
For the cost of development Morrisons will invest £25 million more in the year. The firm expects that the online business will have positive earnings by 2016-2017.
Chief executive, Dalton Philips said "I'm confident that Morrisons.com will grow over time to be an operation of real scale and significance whilst creating meaningful long-term value for Morrisons shareholders."
WH Smith voted worst store by consumers Friday, 17th May 2013
Photo credit: WH Smith
Consumer watchdog Which? has found that WH Smith is Britain’s worst store, according to a consumer poll of 100 high street brands.
At the other end of the scale, Apple were crowned the best store knocking off last year’s winner Lush, who finished a respectable second, with the Disney Store coming in at third.
EE and TK Maxx make up the bottom three with EE second bottom and TK Maxx third bottom.
The executive director of Which?, Richard Lloyd said: “We hope shops do the right thing to keep their customers and hold back the decline of the high street”.
In another surprising outcome, budget shop Poundland was rated better than French Connection and Harvey Nichols, whilst 99p Stores and Poundstretcher beat House of Fraser.
John Lewis was named the top department store despite being pushed out of the top five for the first time.
On Thursday, WH Smith issued a statement claiming that its bottom position was “unrepresentative of the 12 million customers who enter our stores each week”.
M&S revamps clothing to improve declining sales Wednesday, 15th May 2013
Photo credit: M&S
M&S will be focusing on better quality and styles in its womenswear to reverse its declining sales over the last two years.
The department store’s new strategy involves the M&S Man and M&S Woman brands that were launched two and half years ago to be replaced by its core clothing range 'M&S Collection' which will joined by ‘Limited Collection’, the company’s range that aims at younger consumer. Part of the plan involves M&S’s sub-brands Autograph, Indigo and Per Una to be made more 'compelling' to consumers.
The new clothing range features autumn/winter's key trends like 'London Calling' a punk style featuring sleep leathers and animal prints, and 'Modern Elegance' which embraces simple tailoring with luxury fabrics.
It’s a make-or-break for its new general merchandise team which was put together by Marc Bolland, chief executive of M&S. The team is led by John Dixon, former boss of M&S's food business, and former chief executive of Debenhams Plc and Jaeger, Belinda Earl.
The firm has included more fashion in womenswear introducing a new quality charter to better its fabric, fit and its overall products, and is making shopping easier in its stores.
Speaking at a strategy update on Tuesday, Dixon told press and analysts: "Womenswear is the golden key to the golden door. If you get womenswear firing on all cylinders, then there's normally a halo effect into the other parts of our clothing and home business."
M&S has reported seven straight quarterly falls in sales and Bolland is now under stress by the firm's investors to revive the 129 year-old clothing company.
Bolland warned the market to not expect much too early as he reported that the new merchandise team will not be making great influence on sale until its new range for autumn/winder hits the shops in late July. The chief executive added that it’s a move towards the right direction and that it is a ‘step-by-step approach’.
Ralph Lauren to open new flagship store at New York on 5th Avenue Tuesday, 14th May 2013
Photo credit: Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren has confirms the opening of its new flagship at 711 Fifth Avenue between 55th and 56th streets. It is expecting to open for spring 2014 and the former Disney space will cover 3,400 square meters.
After the introduction of its previous flagships two years ago at Madison Avenue, this will be the premium brand’s second major flagship in New York.
Genius strikes deal with Caffé Nero Monday, 13th May 2013
Photo credit: Caffè Nero
Genius has partnered with Caffè Nero to provide fresh gluten-free filled rolls to about 600 UK stores which include transport hubs like Nero Express kiosks in train stations and stores in Airports.
The deal means that Caffé Nero will be able to offer millions of consumers with intolerance for gluten or those that avoid it to find on the go gluten free food much better. This includes delicious wrapped brownie, organic soups and snacks like popcorn and sea salt crisps.
Group Executive Director for Caffè Nero, Helen Jones comments:
“We are delighted that the partnership with Genius provides Caffè Nero customers with fresh, high quality products for those who are gluten intolerant, or who select gluten free as a lifestyle choice.”
Boxclever's research shows that coffee shops, restaurants and hotels across UK are losing out on £688 million in potential revenue per year by not providing gluten-free options to their customers.
Genius obtained Finsbury Foods' gluten free business in a £21 million deal selling goods in Holland, Spain and North America.
Chief Executiveof Genius, Roz Cuschieri comments:
“Bringing our yummy and innovative products to consumers wherever they are is really important, particularly as so many of our customers tell us that they struggle to get fresh gluten-free food when they are travelling or away from home. This deal will mean that anyone who avoids gluten can head to Caffè Nero when they are away from their home to enjoy great tasting espresso based gourmet coffee and delicious food.”
Genius, UK’s largest and the number one brand in gluten-free bread has 47.5 per cent share of the free-from bread market. The company's bread is increasing at 21.9 per cent in demand year on year and the deal with Caffè Nero makes it a significant move for the brand to become UK's household name.
Thomson Reuters same-store sale index records modest April sales Friday, 10th May 2013
Photo credit: Thomas Reuters
The Thomson Reuters same store sales index shows how thirteen major U.S retailers have reported a 3.8 per cent increase in April sales at stores open at least a year.
The news comes after Wall Street optimistically expected a 4.3 per cent increase, and AlixPartners Managing Director Steve Nevill, says that Wall Street “got ahead of itself” with its expectations.
He went on to say that high unemployment and a lack of consumer confidence is the reason behind the modest April sales.
L Brands Inc, the group which operates companies Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, said sales at all company stores open at least a year were up 2 per cent last month, but shares fell 1.1 per cent.
Costco Wholesale Corp, which sells everything from computers, clothing to garden furniture and food, reported a 4 per cent gain, slightly less than expected. This is in part due to lower gas prices, but the company did say that food and consumer electronics were good, despite shares falling 0.5 per cent.
Not all retailers recorded a less than satisfactory performance however. TJX Cos Inc, which operates T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, and Ross Stores Inc, both surpassed Wall Street estimates comfortably.
Ross’ first-quarter profit forecast subsequently rose after reporting a 7 per cent gain in same-store sales. TJX Cos also saw same-stores sales rise to 8 per cent last month. Their shares were up 0.6 per cent whilst Ross Stores was up 0.2 per cent.
Gap Inc after-hours trading in the market sent their shares up 7.2 per cent, as they recorded a 7 per cent gain in sales for all their companies. Its profit forecast was above Wall Street expectations.
Spending is not expected to rise much in the coming months, as consumers’ concerns regarding the U.S and European economies, the debt debate In Washington, and lack of employment, remain rife.
Furthermore, many shoppers’ have delayed buying Spring clothes due to the cool weather in April.
Adrienne Tennant, market analyst for Janney Capital Markets, said this week that retailers were more aggressive in offering April discounts. She continued to say that discounts had eased up by the end of April, suggesting retailers’ had not over-ordered, avoiding panicked markdowns.
Kate Spade flagship store unveils at Madison Avenue Thursday, 9th May 2013
Photo credit: Kate Spade
The most closely watched brands in the industry Kate Spade is on track to generate USD 700-750m in revenues this year. The ribbon on its first flagship will be cut on Friday.
Kate Spade remains to show impressive sales results and is reported that the brand achieved a gain of 22 per cent in comparable-store sales. In the quarter ended March 30 its net profit increased to 63.1 per cent to $141m which excludes the in-house brought Kate Spade Japan business reaching $25m in sales. This made the company's sales leap 34.1 per cent. Leavitt expects to generate retail sales of up to $2b. The brand reported revenues of $461.9m last year. It is the first move uptown and Leavitt comments: “Uptown is the new downtown”.
Featuring three floors of selling space townhouse and a mezzanine on the second floor, the store is located at 789 Madison Avenue. It has 7,900 square foot showplace with shiny white lacquered walls, marble floors with bows and a whimsical décor.
Barclaycard enters the 'daily deals' market Thursday, 9th May 2013
Photo credit: Barclays
Barclaycard is entering the ‘daily deals' highly competitive market by launching its ‘bespoke offers’ shopping service. The service offers 5,000 deals from well-known brands such as Tesco, House of Fraser, Shell, British Airways and Starbucks. The company aims to lure consumers away from its competitors of ‘daily deals’ providers such as Wowcher and Groupon.
The service that tailors the offers according to the consumers buying habits and selected preferences is available to not just Barclaycard holders but to all UK consumers.
Deals offered involves a £10 Starbucks card for £5, a '3-for-2' offer for dry cleaning at Johnson Cleaners, and 5 pence off per litre of fuel at Shell which MoneyComms' Andrew Hagger comments: “Something that will have more appeal as it is a genuine saving off an everyday essential purchase and will help families struggling to manage the family budget." The company claims that the deals could save up to £2,100 per household annually and drive sales for UK retailers.
Chief executive of Barclaycard, Valerie Soranno-Keating commented:
"Once we get to know a customer, we will have the ability to make suggestions to them on how they can save more money."
The chief executive states that the company will also help merchants (from large businesses to local independent firms) to track their deals and put tailored offers online however, the service does not share customers’ personal data.
According to the CEO of Barclaycard at Barclay PLC Ms Soranno-Keating, it is the only bank in the UK that has relationships on the consumer and merchant side. With the flexibility and offers the bank has, it is helping consumers look for value and also helping merchants increase sales.
Targeting consumers that suffer from ‘offer fatigue’, the company aims to rise above other loyalty and deals offer by providing a personalised service. It entails for the consumer to browse offers by product, location or keywords and while they shop online, Barclaycard will create a selection of deals targeted at the shopper on a 'For You' tab.
With Barclaycard keeping an agreed margin of the sale, the transactions for most deals will be online.
The UK Cards Association spokesman states that the service is an intelligent method for linking offers to consumers which is becoming more popular for all sectors not just financial ones.
After just two years the bank closed its flagship loyalty points scheme 'Freedom' and launched 'Freedom rewards credit card' offering a £30 voucher when consumers spends £500 on the card during the first three months. Consumers can earn double points on petrol and groceries and for the first nine months the card charges 0 per cent on balance transfers.
The 'Barclaycard Cashback' offers consumers 6 per cent cashback for three months if they use the card 15 times a month. For five biggest purchases Barclaycard offers consumers a 6 per cent rate and 0.5 per cent for the rest, which total to £120 in cashback over those three months.
Rise in footfall by 19.2% during the warmest weekend of the year Thursday, 9th May 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Over the Bank Holiday weekend the rise in footfall ran a spend of over £220m, according to New West End Company and Heart of London Business Alliance that represent over 1,000 businesses in London's retail heartland.
Jack Tyrrell of New West End Company commented that the 3 day long weekend was all about domestic shopper:
"The increase in domestic visitors and the long-awaited sunshine has bolstered trade for retailers, theatres and restaurants. Shopping has obviously been thirsty work - over 6,000 afternoon teas were sold in the West End on Saturday and we’ve seen record footfall numbers across the whole of the West End. Footfall across Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street was up by over 14.3% year-on-year."
According to ATOC commercial director David Mapp, with people heading out to enjoy the warm weather the train company saw 6 million journeys being made via train over the Bank Holiday weekend in UK of which half were to, from or within London.
Marks & Spencer’s Contactless Payment Launches Nationwide Wednesday, 8th May 2013
Photo credit: Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer has launched ‘contactless payment’ service nationwide to 644 UK stores, including its railway and airport franchise stores after a successful trials in 25 London stores last summer. Processing 230,000 contactless transactions every week Marks & Spencer stands as the UK’s leading contactless retailer.
The self-service has continued to grow in popularity with busy customers that are on the move. One in seven card transactions under £20 are completed through contactless payment. The contactless payment allows customers to make payment via card or phone without having to enter their pin. A quarter of contactless payments processed through self-checkout points in the Food Halls.
The company has started to see increasing use of the contactless cards in busy urban centres including Manchester, Croydon and Reading.
Richard Crooke , store manager at M&S Finsbury Payment which completes one in three contactless card transactions under £20 said:
“In busy central stores that receive a huge lunch time rush, contactless payment is helping to revolutionise the customer experience. Self-checkout tills are already very popular, but contactless helps reduce queue times even further, giving customers a payment option that’s even quicker than cash.“
Visa debit card is supported by contactless cards, which allows current account customers to earn one point for every £1 spent at M&S via their Visa debit card.
New research from M&S Bank2 reports that customers are becoming ‘savvy’ and 51 per cent admit loyalty points influences how they shop. Visa Europe forecasts that there will be over 33 million contactless cards in the UK by the end of 2013.