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Wettest summer in 100 years adds mounting pressure to food prices Wednesday, 10th October 2012
Pressure builds on an industry obsessed with cost as the wettest summer in 100 years for the UK, the worst drought in 50 years for the US and a heatwave in Russia creates a perfect storm for rising food prices.
As a washout summer draws to a close, the farming industry is preparing for a surge in food prices. A survey by the National Farmers’ Union found wheat yields fell 14.1 per cent this year on five-year average levels last seen in the late 1980s.
"The poor UK harvest compounds a series of challenging weather events for farmers around the world, most notably drought in North America," Guy Gagen, NFU chief combinable crops adviser, announced on Wednesday.
"The resulting tight supplies of many feed grains have driven up the prices of agricultural commodities around the world. These UK harvest results will do little to alleviate the global dynamics of commodity prices, with the prospect of relatively high commodity levels through to 2013. Cereals prices impact directly on other sectors, especially pig and poultry farmers who are already struggling with higher feed costs."
In the absence of favourable conditions across the UK, US and Russia, the British Retail Consortium is already warning of price “pressures” expected to hit the British consumer.
"There certainly are price pressures in the system which are coming from poor wheat harvests in this country but also in the other big wheat-producing countries. The most recent figures are that wheat prices are up something like 29% compared with a year ago.” Richard Dodd of the BRC told press.
"Our own figures for the shop price inflation for food show that it has been very, very stable - it has been 3.1% for the last three months which is actually a two-year low. There is no food price explosion going on but there are pressures in the system that will work through.
"Our fiercely competitive retail market is protecting customers from the worst effects of these price pressures."
Clarks Shoes crowned top retailer Friday, 8th June 2012
Photo credit: Clarks
The Somerset-based shoe manufacturer has been listed as the country’s number one retailer in the ‘Clothes, shoes and accessories’ category of Which? Magazine’s survey of 100 stores.
Listed in sixth place over all, Clarks managed to outperform rivals in its category including Primark and Marks & Spencer.
Chris Jewell, managing director of the UK and Republic of Ireland commented on the latest accolade.
“Despite a tough economic climate we are continuing to lead the footwear sector, and retain a strong high street presence,” he said.
Jubilee gives John Lewis a 15% sales boost Friday, 8th June 2012
Photo credit: My Retail Media
Sales rose 15 per cent year-on-year for the country’s biggest department store group, largely attributed to a four-day nation-wide celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Sales for the week to 2 June rose to £62.9 million, continuing John Lewis’ recent run of strong trading.
Electricals and home technology, which have remained strong contenders in the run up to the Olympics and the digital switchover in the south of England rose 18.8 per cent for the week. Homewares followed with 9.3 per cent whilst fashion categories saw an impressive 20.1 per cent growth.
"A subdued start to the week, as the good weather continued, gave way to a final three days of 27 per cent plus growth in the run-up to the Jubilee weekend, delivering a 15 per cent overall increase on last year," John Lewis said of the department store outcome.
Jubilee sees Waitrose sales soar Thursday, 7th June 2012
Photo credit: Waitrose Ltd
Waitrose saw its highest week of trading, aside from Christmas and Easter, over the Jubilee weekend as sales rose 19.8 per cent year-on-year.
In the run up to the Jubilee, John Lewis’ supermarket division said bestsellers included pork pies, sausage rolls and scotch eggs, which were up 76 per cent a-piece as shoppers looked to fill their baskets with some iconic British picnic fare.
In the week ending 2 June trifle sales also rose 28 per cent from the same time a year before, while tubes of red, white and blue icing were up 637 per cent.
Speaking in light of the results, Mark Price, managing director at Waitrose, said:
“The prospect of a long weekend and a wonderful focus for celebration spurred shoppers into action. Many people clearly welcomed having a great reason to step away from day-to-day budgeting to stock up on fabulous food and drink for Jubilee parties and entertaining.”
John Lewis picks up British jeweller FingerPrint Monday, 31st October 2011
The Hitchin-based brand has already launched at John Lewis’ Bluewater store in Kent, and will follow its debut with new stores in north and central London, Southampton, Liverpool, Bristol, Cheadle and Cambridge.
Lisa Pugh, FingerPrint’s creative director said: “The expansion into John Lewis is hugely important for our business, and really lifts the company above its competitors.
“Although the business has been highly successful online, having jewellery on permanent display and being able to offer customers the personal service within John Lewis takes us to a completely different level.”
FingerPrint creates jewellery based on impressions of finger prints, which have proven popular with gifts at Christenings and birthdays.
Urban Outfitters under fire from Navajo Nation over labeling Monday, 24th October 2011
US fashion and lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters was left with little choice but to remove the word ‘Navajo’ from product names on its website following a series of complaints from the Native American Navajo Nation.
The move comes after a campaign launched by native American Tiffanie Wilson called the labelling “culturally insensitive”.
“These cheap knockoffs are offensive and only further promote incorrect views of native culture." Wilson said in an online campaign that has to date gained over 13,000 supporters.
Urban Outfitters responded by renaming the products on its website simply as ‘printed’, but it is unclear as to whether the change will extend to any of Urban’s stores in the US and internationally.
The retailer received a letter from the Navajo over a week ago, demanding the name was taken of its products. Since the removal the Navajo Nation Department of Justice, which represents the largest single federally recognized tribe of the United States of America, said the changes were “more consistent with the corporation’s responsibilities than previously demonstrated”.