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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”.
BRC report shows UK retailers suffered sales drop in April Wednesday, 8th May 2013
Photo credit: My-Retail Media
Weather has had a huge influence on retailers as fashion sales were weak in the early stage of the month but consumer spending revived as spring arrived.
The wintry weather has influenced UK retailers’ sales significantly in comparison to last year, as last month retailers suffered a drop in sales by 2.2 per cent. The overall growth average of the British Retail Consortium was 2.6 per cent due to the effect of the Easter falling in April last year and March this year.
The growth in sales shows a slower pace compared to last three months to February and March while BRC states that recuperating consumer spending stayed elusive. However, after removing the Easter distortion retailers saw better results than March.
According to BRC’s director general Helen Dickinson, it is hard to spot trends to revive consumer spending however competitive pricing is significant to generate sales.
On the other hand, health and beauty sector gained positive results both ways, sales were strong in products such as cold, flu remedies, bronzing and skincare.
Next posts Q1 sales boost Wednesday, 8th May 2013
Image courtesy of Next
Next today posted a small upturn in quarterly sales after recent good weather provided a shot in the arm for trading.
The retailer has reported a total sales rise of 2.2 per cent in the 14 weeks to 4 May, its fiscal first quarter.
"Trading has been volatile and particularly poor through March and early April. The marked upturn in sales in mid-April corresponds to the break in the very cold weather," the firm said.
Retail sales dipped 1.9 per cent whilst Directory sales were up 8.9 per cent.
"We anticipate that the continuing decline in real earnings will depress discretionary spending for at least the next 18 months, if not longer," it said.
Shares in the company have increased 22 per cent over the last six months.
Retailers welcome sun as sales improve Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Fashion retailers across the UK have welcomed a sales surge after the arrival of sunshine encouraged shoppers to splurge on new spring collections.
The improvement in the weather saw apparel sales rise 13 per cent in the last week of April.
Non-fashion sales were up 3.4 per cent for April, aided by the commencement of ‘DIY season’.
BDO partner Don Williams has warned businesses against complacency, stating that stores cannot rely on warm weather alone to drive sales growth.
Kate Spade sales up 22% as Fifth & Pacific narrows losses Thursday, 2nd May 2013
Photo credit: Lucky Brand Jeans
Kate Spade and Lucky Brand owner Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., on Thursday posted upbeat first quarter results after managing to narrow its loss from last year.
In the three months to 30 March, net loss came in at USD 52.2 million, or 44 cents a diluted share for Fifth & Pacific, an improvement on the USD 60.6 million, or 60 cents a share recorded a year ago. Net sales rose 17.2 per cent to USD 371.8 million from USD 317.1 million.
Reporting back on the first quarter, William L. McComb, chief executive officer, said, "We were pleased with the performance of Kate Spade and Lucky Brand during the quarter, where both brands had solid increases in net sales and adjusted EBITDA. Kate Spade posted a 63 percent increase in total net sales and a 22 percent increase in direct-to-consumer comparable sales, driven by strong performance in all channels of its business."
McComb added that the group “remain excited” about the recent launch of the Kate Spade Saturday, describing a “promising start” for the lifestyle brand.
Fifth & Pacific said direct-to-consumer comparable sales for the Kate Spade brand rose 22 per cent and for the Lucky Brand business 2 per cent. Comparables at Juicy Couture fell 2 per cent.
‘Lipstick effect’ brings boost in beauty sales Friday, 26th April 2013
Long-dubbed the ‘lipstick effect’ for the rise in beauty sales correlating to a dip in consumer confidence, it seems British shoppers are still resorting to small luxury purchases to boost their mood.
The latest report from Mintel found spending on beauty and personal care products has increased 11 per cent since the beginning of the credit crisis in 2007.
With 36 per cent of Brits reportedly feeling worse off than a year ago and only 22 per cent experiencing an improvement in their financial circumstances, Mintel said the findings are evidence that shoppers will still turn to cheaper luxury goods and cosmetics, such as lipstick, in order to improve their mood amidst an uncertain economic climate.
High streets report sales dip for unseasonably cold March Monday, 8th April 2013
The formidably cold March weather dampened high street sales and increased the likelihood that Britain will enter a “triple-dip” recession, according to data released by BDO.
Like-for-like retail sales in the UK dipped 0.9 per cent in March in comparison to the previous year. The decline was a direct result of shoppers’ reluctance to buy new spring and summer collections due to the unseasonably low temperatures.
Apparel sales dropped 3.4 per cent, offsetting a 7.3 per cent rise in non-fashion sales due to a surge of home and kitchenware purchases for Mother’s Day gifts.
Don Williams, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “Retailers that failed to adjust stock levels and the supply chain accordingly were already on the back foot when the mercury dropped and will now have to work extra hard to catch better prepared rivals.
“People remain cash-strapped so their natural instinct is not to spend unless given a good reason.
"A product consumers like, with a strong focus on value, price and service is no longer enough, they also need an occasion like Mother’s Day, Easter or the school holidays to give them that final nudge.”
High street footfall up 6% for Easter Wednesday, 3rd April 2013
High street footfall saw a six per cent increase during the Easter holidays, according to Springboard.
Diane Wehrle, retail insight director at Springboard, said: “This Easter hit after a payday weekend and struggling retailers will be thankful for that.”
Data released by the New West End Company described the Easter trading period as “brisk”. £75 million was spent in members’ stores during the first two days, £15 million more than in 2012.
March shop price inflation up 1.4% Wednesday, 3rd April 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
New figures show shop prices in March rose at the fastest rate since December as the cost of non-food goods increased for the first time in over a year.
According to the latest results from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), shop price inflation rose 1.4 per cent overall last month, up from 1.1 per cent in February.
Conditions for consumers remained tough as food price inflation remained high at 3.5 per cent in March, a trend only exacerbated by the fastest rise in non-food goods in 15 months.
Prices across health and beauty products, stationery, DIY and gardening goods and books all rose, while the year-on-year price deflation in shoes, footwear and electrical goods decelerated to 2.2 per cent from 4.2 per cent in February.
Overall, non-food inflation rose to 0.2 per cent in March, up from a 0.4 per cent deflation in February.
Speaking in light of the results, Helen Dickinson, director general at the BRC said: "Total inflation is at its highest rate since December, again reflecting that many retailers went into the new year with less stock to clear so discounting is less extensive compared with 2012."
The trade association went on to warn that the wintry conditions across spring and Easter could result in more discounting by retailer during April.
Which? survey uncovers diminished consumer confidence after horsemeat scandal Wednesday, 13th March 2013
According to research carried out by Which?, six in ten consumers have altered their shopping habits in light of the horsemeat scandal.
Consumer trust in the industry has fallen by a quarter, with 30 per cent now overlooking processed meat and a quarter buying fewer ready meals with meat in or choose vegetarian options.
The survey also found that two-thirds of people did not think the government had paid enough attention to enforcing labelling laws, while half of the consumers surveyed said they were not confident that ingredient information was accurate.
The Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: "The horsemeat scandal exposed the need for urgent changes to the way food fraud is detected and standards are enforced. These serious failings must be put right if consumers are to feel fully confident in the food they are buying once more.
"Ministers must ensure that everyone involved, including their own departments, the FSA [Food Standards Agency], the food industry and local authorities, are crystal clear about their responsibility to protect consumers and are properly equipped to do so."