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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”.
Selfridges launches 'click and collect' service and gears up for global trading Tuesday, 7th May 2013
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Selfridges are set to launch their first ever ‘click and collect’ service on May 9.
The service will be available for all of their four bricks-and-mortar stores, which include London Oxford Street, Manchester Trafford and Manchester Exchange Square and its Birmingham store situated in the Bullring.
Selfridges’ customers will be able to shop online all day until 4pm and collect the following day from a dedicated collection point as soon as the store opens. Selfridges claim that “No other department store or retail chain offers such an early collection facility.”
Along with the the ‘click and collect’ service, Selfridges are offering customers complimentary parking for 30 minutes at their London store, which has direct access to the collection point for maximum convenience.
This is also in addition to a ‘carry-to-car’ service, set to launch in 2014, and the ability to continue shopping via iPads at the collection point, or directly in store.
Selfridges say that this is “the brand’s considered response to the growing demand from customers to be offered greater shopping flexibility”.
The retail giants have also announced that they plan to go global later on in the year, offering “famously unique and wide-ranging product mix to customers around the world.”
Selfridges to report on record-breaking £1bn sales Monday, 29th October 2012
Photo credit: Selfridges
Iconic department store Selfridges is expected to report back on a record breaking 2011, in which it made £1 billion in sales for the first time ever.
Selfridges is also expected to reveal profit up 5 per cent to £133 million this week.
Speaking to the Sunday Times over the weekend, Selfridges managing director Anne Pitcher said 2012 was also set to be “another good year” despite “difficult” trading during summer, impacted by the effect the Olympics had on high streets across the UK.
The retailer is now said to be preparing for a number of expansions at its flagship Oxford Street store, with the redevelopment of the womenswear and menswear department, alongside the launch of a range of new beauty services.
Debenhams reports full-year profit rise Thursday, 25th October 2012
Image courtesy of Debenhams
Debenhams today reported an increase in full year profit in spite of unfavourable trading conditions.
Pre-tax profits for the year to 1 September were up 4.2 per cent to £158.3 million.
Like-for-like sales, which exclude new store openings, rose 2.3 per cent.
According to the department store, the warm, dry autumn and wet spring negatively affected demand for seasonal clothing.
Debenhams is planning to open 17 stores over the next five years.
As part of an extensive modernization strategy, the retailer is currently in the process of upgrading all of its core stores by Christmas 2014.
Harrods owners collect £100m dividend after record year Monday, 30th July 2012
The Qatari owners of world famous London department store Harrods have paid themselves an impressive £100 million dividend after the retailer announced record annual profits.
Qatar Holding snapped up the store for £1.5 billion in May 2010 from its previous owner, Mohamed al-Fayed.
Harrods pre-tax profits grew 15 per cent to £125.3 million last year.
Turnover was up by 11 per cent to £651.7 million.
During the period, Harrods increased its online offering and began to deliver to more than 30 countries including Saudi Arabia, India and Australia.
Against the odds, Debenhams sales up 3.1% Thursday, 28th June 2012
Photo credit: Debenhams Retail plc
Even with a stormy outlook, Debenhams managed to beat forecasts for underlying sales in its third quarter.
Sales rose 3.1 per cent at stores open over a year in the 16 weeks to 23 June, which includes its fiscal third quarter.
It compares with a rise of 0.3 per cent in the first half and analyst forecasts in the range of a 3 per cent drop to a 1 per cent increase.
"Taking the sales performance, revised gross margin guidance and higher marketing spend into account, we remain comfortable with the market's current expectations for reported profit before tax for the year as a whole," it added.
Debenhams is the second largest department store group in the UK, with around 170 stores in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, and about 70 franchise stores across 25 international markets.
Fortnum & Mason lands new retail director, looks to appoint new CEO Wednesday, 27th June 2012
Photo credit: Fortnum & Mason
It’s all change at the top as the 350-year-old department store appoints Tim Fisher to the role of retail director.
Having previously worked for Marks & Spencer, Fisher started at Fortnum & Mason last month, and is likely to soon be joined by the retailer’s new chief executive, following the exit of Beverley Aspinall in May.
Debenhams hails “future of shopping” with free Wifi in-stores Wednesday, 13th June 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Online or bricks and mortar? It doesn’t have to be one or the other: now Debenhams are rolling out free Wifi into all of its stores, becoming the largest coverage of any department store in the UK.
02 will manage the new service, which will allow customers to use their smartphones and tables to connect to free Wifi, wherever they are in store. Instead of tracking down a sales assistant, customers will be able to check for additional sides and availability using their phones, or scan the barcode of an item to instantly order it for home delivery.
Debenhams director, Simon Forster, said: “We’re seeing the shape of shopping in the future emerging right before our eyes. With over one million customers already with our app on their phones, free Wifi in stores has the potential to transform how people shop.”
Mobile phone transactions currently account for 20 per cent of Debenham’s total revenue, with the new Wifi-enabled stores set to increase this proportion.
Gavin Franks, managing director of O2 Wifi, said of the partnership: “O2 Wifi has announced partnerships with leading brands in 2012. We are delighted to add Debenhams to our growing portfolio. Debenhams have realised the power of using in-store connectivity as a basis to bring innovative services to customers.”
Shoppers wishing to use the Wifi will need to register to the 02 network.
In the money: M&S to launch bank branches Friday, 8th June 2012
Photo credit: Marks & Spencer plc
Marks & Spencer has announced plans to open its first bank branch at its flagship Marble Arch store this summer, before rolling out to 50 larger outlets in the UK over the next two years, according to a report by the Telegraph.
The department store group hopes to cash in on its strong brand identity in the UK, by keeping its banks open twice as long as high street banks, " mirroring M&S store opening hours and enabling customers to bank while they shop, seven days a week".
Marc Bolland, chief executive, said: “M&S is one of the most trusted brands on the UK high street and we’ve achieved this by continually listening and responding to the needs of our 21m customers. This bank will be built on M&S values; putting the customer at the heart of the proposition and delivering the exceptional service that sets us apart from the competition.”
M&S will begin with current accounts for autumn 2012, with the long term view to add a range of services including home loans. It’s thought the launch could provide up to 500 UK jobs by 2013, when a roll out would be well underway.
Despite the downpour, John Lewis sales shine on Friday, 11th May 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
John Lewis managed another double-digit rise in sales last week as rain and storms brought in a shower of transactions.
The department store chain on Friday said sales increased 18.3 per cent year-on-year to £64.3 million in the week to 5 May.
"The weather continues to play a key role in what's selling and what's not, but overall another strong week at John Lewis," said the firm.
"It seems that the wet launch into spring has played out in our favour with all three directorates trading ahead of budget and last year."
Homeware sales increased 14.1 per cent for the week, with sales in the electrical and home technology departments rising 47.2 per cent.