Sunday 22 July 2018
 
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News
  As summer approaches, Virgin Media has collaborated with Esprit Digital to offer a POS screen experience that won't be compromised by direct sunlight. A key player in the delivery of high speed broadband, TV and telephony, Virgin Media is the first retail brand in the UK to install digital screens that can be viewed in all light conditions throughout their estate. The first screens, situated in their Oxford Street store, ensure consumers will not experience any viewing difficulties through exterior shop windows in ambient sunlight.  Past consumer problems associated with the sun's trajectory include the inability to read ATM…
Fraudulent use of stolen credit cards, the biggest area of online loss, is down by 8% since last year, a leading industry survey has revealed.     Published by Retail Knowledge and sponsored by payment experts Kount, the UK Retail Fraud Survey 2014, now in its fourth year, is the most extensive report into the systems, processes and strategies of 100 of the UK’s top retailers.   The results of the survey have shown online fraud prevention spend has increased from 0.3% of sales in 2012 and 0.4% in 2013, to 0.43% this year. As a result there has been…
John Lewis has announced plans to further develop its internal vocational qualifications programme through the ‘University of John Lewis’, a range of work-based qualifications designed to offer all Partners the chance to gain externally recognised qualifications and progress in their career.   As part of the offer, John Lewis plans to introduce a pilot Level 6 vocational qualification, equivalent to an honours degree, by the end of this year, aimed at Partners in senior management roles. This is in addition to the retailer’s existing qualification programme, which allows Partners to progress from entry-level qualifications up to Level 5.   The…
Ipsos’ Retail Traffic Index (RTI), the definitive metric of footfall entering non-food stores across all location categories in the UK, including high streets, shopping centres, retail parks and transport hubs, rose by 1.7% in April over March, but suffered a decline of 8.7% year-on-year. For the Easter fortnight (24th March to 6th April), 9.7% fewer shopping trips were made against the equivalent holiday period last year, making it the quietest Easter on record of the millennium for non-food store retailers.   The absence of sunshine and warm weather has resulted in a particularly slow start for the fashion sector merchandising…
Over a fifth of all retailers’ deliveries and home appointments are unsuccessful, wasting millions of pounds in inefficiencies, according to research commissioned by business SMS experts, Esendex.    The research included in-depth telephone interviews with logistics and customer service decision makers at UK retailers and found that each failed delivery or appointments costs £151, on average.  The £151 cost missed delivery/appointment is attributed to an associated increase in admin and business process costs (25%), a lack of capacity utilisation (16%), and call centre overburden (10%), among others. Due to the financial impact caused by inefficiencies, 32% of retailers are considering…
As the luxury retail market in central London continues to grow, retailers are forced to look beyond the traditional streets due to a lack of space and spiralling rents, according to BNP Paribas Real Estate, one of the leading property advisers.    The surrounding streets adjacent to the traditionally prestigious and affluent locations such as New Bond Street, Old Bond street and Sloane Street, demonstrate the most potential for growth, with luxury retailers continuing the emerging trend to open stores in streets such as Bruton Street, Mount Street and Brook Street. Local “cut throughs” and the arcades of Mayfair and…
GMB general union welcomes 12p per hour increase in national minimum wage from 1 October 2013 as a "vital pay rise". However the rise is well below inflation so the living standards of the people at the bottom end of the scale will fall delaying economic recovery says GMB.   Paul Kenny GMB General Secretary said, “This is a vital pay rise. GMB welcomes Vince Cable's recognition that a pay rise is needed by the lowest paid.However the rise is well below inflation so the living standards of the people at the bottom end of the scale will fall. These…
Advisory and restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, offer their comments on how different high street stores have fared in recent months.     Hilco rescued HMV  “HMV lives to fight another day. This is really positive news for the chain and the wider UK retail sector. Hilco understands the market well and is a seasoned high street veteran. The news that HMV is to continue trading will also be welcomed by suppliers as an over-reliance on online channels may be uncomfortable.  The test now is with the consumer. Following the public’s outcry at the demise of HMV, consumers need to start…
The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) commercial arm has appointed a new Chief Executive. Mark Proctor will join the organisation as Chief Executive Officer, BRC Trading.    BRC Trading is best known for its suite of BRC Global Standards. It is the world’s biggest provider of product safety and quality standards for food manufacture, packaging, storage and distribution, and consumer products. BRC Trading is also responsible for a range of highly respected retail conferences and events.   Mark has spent his career in the global food and consumer product safety and quality assurance industries, with organisations such as Exova, SAI Global Assurance…
Online sales at John Lewis have passed the £1bn mark on a rolling 52 week basis, alongside a successful launch of a new multi-million pound web platform. The milestone comes a year ahead of the retailer’s forecast, which had estimated reaching £1bn of sales in 2014.   The department store has invested nearly £40m in its new website during the three year project, which is the foundation for future online growth and its customer-focused omnichannel strategy.   Mark Lewis, who has recently joined the retailer as online director, said, “Passing the £1bn milestone almost an entire year ahead of schedule…
John Lewis today confirmed that work will begin next week to build the new £7 million John Lewis at home in Ashford.   The shop, located on a site close to junction 9 of the M20, is expected to open its doors before the end of2013 and will boost local employment with the creation of around 125 new jobs.   The new build will extend over two floors with the ground and first floor selling areas totalling 39 000 sq ft. The plans include a customer café and around 200 car parking spaces.   The John Lewis at home format focuses…
It must convince women to return and renounce competitors to succeed. M&S market share has been declining since the late 1990s. Its core customers, women, no longer regard it as the primary destination for clothes shopping and unless Marc Bolland’s team can produce a turnaround over the next six months, there is likely to be another change of management disrupting performance again. Maureen Hinton, Director of R&A Verdict Research, explains...   Long gone are the days when M&S was so far ahead of its nearest clothing competitors its market share appeared unassailable (in 1997 it had 16.0% of the womenswear market.) Recent…
High street music retailer HMV will be given a lifeline after a rescue deal which could save 2,500 jobs and up to 136 stores.   The deal, struck with restructuring specialist Hilco, will ensure that the famous brand remains on the nation’s high street following the announcement that it would go into administration in January. Dan Wagner, CEO and Chairman of mPowa and Powa Technologies, which is responsible for implementing online and mobile retail platforms for some of the leading high street names, said, “The way consumers engage with retailers is undergoing seismic shift driven by innovations in technology. Only…
Verdict Retail Lead Analyst Patrick O’Brien on why click & collect will not be the saviour of the high street   An omnichannel approach is essential for major retail chains in terms of being able to engage with customers through the channel of their choice, but the idea that click & collect can halt or even reverse the damage that the online shopping revolution has done to the high street is just wishful thinking.   Building a truly omnichannel operation is imperative for retail chains. Without being able to offer a seamless experience between online and physical channels, retailers will…
Jessops, the iconic UK photography retailer, will re-open its doors today after a vote of confidence from Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones CBE.     In a major comeback, Jones will launch six stores today, then up to 30 more throughout April, at the rate of one a day.   Leading from the front, he will take the helm and assume the role of Chairman and Chief executive. This follows a £4m investment in revitalising Jessops stores, with flagship outlets including Oxford Street and Birmingham, the largest photographic imaging store in Europe.   The move comes as a boost to…
The world’s longest designer dress was revealed today at the centre of a spectacular opening ceremony. Curated by British fashion designer Henry Holland, the event welcomed shoppers into Trinity Leeds – the only major shopping centre to open in the UK this year – for the very first time.    Measuring 15 metres high, the equivalent of the height of three double decker buses and 480 square metres wide, the world’s longest designer dress was worn by aerial acrobat and former Cirque Du Soleil principle artist, Colette Morrow.  Thousands of shoppers watched on in awe as the larger than life…
The greatest success in the heritage of British retail trade, Harrods stocks the very best of everything. Their motto is Omnia, Omnibus, Ubique- all things, for all people, everywhere.     The 2, 700 square foot Timothy Oulton gallery showcases the best in British design, an aesthetic that respects tradition, while remaining cutting edge and thoroughly modern. Sophisticated yet relaxed around the edges, Timothy Oulton dares to straddle that line.     Tim says, "Harrods is the perfect place to show our range because they are committed to curating the best in the world, in the heart of London. We…
Not only has great customer service always been a part of the John Lewis ethos, it is also a key element to its recruitment, reported Carole Donaldson, Resourcing Manager from John Lewis, at a breakfast  seminar hosted by WCN, the leading Global e-Recruitment software supplier.    “Every candidate is also a potential customer, so much so that applicants could equate to a significant amount of potential revenue in custom. It’s vital they leave the application process having had a good experience of our customer service. With 95% of our recruitment being in volume such as seasonal jobs, we need to ensure each applicant goes away with a positive brand opinion,” said…
The retro afternoon tea trend sweeping the nation is set to hit Hyndburn as Oswaldtwistle Mills prepares to open a new £100k tea room.     The Terrace Tea Room will open on Wednesday 27 March and will be run by the Massarella Catering Group, the retail catering company behind the mill's popular Café Nova restaurant.   The fully licensed tea room will create six jobs and occupy a 1500 square feet space, with a 68-capacity indoor seating area plus external terrace seating.   Hungry shoppers can enjoy cream teas or an afternoon tea of smoked salmon, cucumber and egg…
The number of high street stores that are closing has risen at an alarming rate according to new research.     Figures from PwC and the Local Data Centre have found that over the last 12 months, an average of 20 shops closed every day. Retailers selling computer games, health foods and cards were among the hardest hit, making up a large percentage of the 7,337 closures last year.   With many calling for drastic change to enable the survival of the high street, Dan Wagner, CEO of mobile payment company mPowa, thinks that shopping should be redefined. He says…
John Lewis has today announced an investment of £32million to fund an extensive refurbishment programme in four shops this year, including its flagship department store on London’s Oxford Street.   John Lewis High Wycombe, Kingston and Nottingham are also set to benefit in 2013, with a further £25 million earmarked for other, smaller investments across the retailer's 39 shop estate before 2014.   Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis said, “Investing in our shops is crucial to ensure we continue to provide powerful and compelling destinations for our customers to visit. These upgrades reinforce our commitment to the high…
Oswaldtwistle Mills has launched the UK's first Peacock's concession after the value high street retailer was taken over by the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group.     The fashion chain will join more than 100 other retailers in the former textile mill as part of a concession strategy developed by new owners in conjunction with Oswaldtwistle Mills.   Edinburgh Woollen Mill first joined Oswaldtwistle Mills in August 2011 and has enjoyed a successful 18-month trading period at the store.   Oswaldtwistle Mills' managing director Boyd Hargreaves believes more and more high street retailers are set to explore the concession format to…
Retail marketing expert Dr Scott Dacko says shops need to offer customers something unique if they are to survive the radical transformation the UK high street is in the grip of.     Fashion outlet Republic was the latest chain to hit the wall last week, following Blockbuster, Jessops. HMV and Comet since the turn of the year.And according to the latest date from the British Retail Consortium the UK high street suffered its sharpest drop in shopper numbers for two years in January, with one in seven now standing empty. Latest shopper numbers at high-street outlets were down 3.3 per…
Scoop International Fashion Show, Europe’s most dynamic and creative fashion industry event revealed over 250 UK and International premium, directional and contemporary labels at its fifth edition at the iconic Saatchi Gallery between, 10-12 February 2013.     Scoop International facilitated an extra 20% of designer collections showcasing stunning boutique labels covering collections from womenswear, footwear, accessories and jewellery, placing Scoop International firmly at the forefront of the industry fashion tradeshow calendar with buyer footfall numbers up by 26% from the last edition in February 2012.   Premium retailers visited the show included; Harrods, Matches, Browns, Fenwick Stores, Fortnum &…
Leeds-based integrated agency McGrath O’Toole has been appointed by the John Lewis Partnership to brand its ‘Partners’ Counsellor’s Directorate’ and the related change programme ‘Driving the Difference’, as well as design and implement a range of on and offline employee engagement approaches.   The project win - secured after pitching alongside two other shortlisted agencies - will see the team develop a new strategic and creative approach, drawing upon the unique ethos of the retail giant. Mark Petty, programme manager at the John Lewis Partnership said: ‘Each of our 82,000 employees across the group, including both John Lewis and Waitrose,…
Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, and founder of the “Support for Independent Retail” campaign calls for all independent retailers to lead by example and to pledge to support their own local, independent traders.   Over 16% of Independent Retailers fear that they will go out of business in 2013 according to research completed by BIRA (British Independent Retailers Association) and O2 Priority Moments in October 2012. The latest figures published by LDC (Local data company) state that Independent retailers make up 68% of all town centre occupants UK wide. Loosing 16% of them would have a catastrophic impact on a…
Marks and Spencer Group plc has announced that it has reached agreement with the Company's Pension Scheme Trustees on the terms of the triennial actuarial valuation as at 31 March 2012.   The valuation of the Company's UK defined benefit pension scheme ("Pension Scheme") at 31 March 2012 has resulted in a deficit of £290m. This represents a substantial reduction in deficit from £1.3bn as at 31 March 2009. The improvement reflects the additional contributions made to the Pension Scheme following the 2009 valuation together with strong investment growth and sound risk management. The valuation is based on the same…
Following a recent report by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which highlighted that more than one third of the UK's top online retailers could be breaking e-commerce and distance selling laws, Rebecca Kelly, associate at hlw Keeble Hawson - one of Yorkshire’s largest law firms with offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster - has the following tips on how retailers can avoid falling foul of the law.   An increase in the number of online purchases is expected in the countdown to the festive season. Therefore staying on the right side of the law and ensuring compliance with regulations - including…
Kids are taking control of their wardrobes by having personal shopper appointments to ensure they stay ahead in the style stakes, according to department store Debenhams.   Traditionally booked by busy mums looking for personalised style advice, it’s now parents booking for their children says Debenhams, having seen a 100% increase in demand for in-store appointments for under 18s over the last year. From prom dresses and occasionwear to casual capsule wardrobes for the season ahead, it seems many children no longer trust mum’s style radar and prefer the advice of a professional when it comes to those all-important ensembles.…
Andy Street, Managing Director of John Lewis, together with Rona Blackwood, Programme Strategy Manager for  Save the Children’s "Eat, Sleep, Learn, Play!" programme, were at John Lewis Stratford to launch a nationwide charitable initiative starting this weekend which aims to raise more than £50,000 for Save the Children’s work in the UK.   It sees the retailer sell Belgian chocolate hearts priced £5 during the lead-up to Christmas with 100 per cent of each sale donated to Save the Children. When a chocolate heart is purchased, customers will be given a gift tag to place on a Christmas ‘Giving Tree’…
John Lewis has announced it is taking on 80 apprentices in 2012 marking the creation of a long-term sustainable route for young people to secure employment with the retailer. As a key point of difference, the programme, which focuses on young people, has guaranteed that all secure employment when their training is complete.   The ambition of the programme is for John Lewis to provide a market-leading offer that creates new jobs for young people, which ultimately provide sustainable career paths and a genuine alternative to university. The programme features two levels; the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, for those who have…
It’s the most unlikely style shift seen in years, but women are now covering up their cleavage as men are letting it all hang out.   Men are taking style tips from seventies lotharios such as John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, where as women are opting for a look more commonly associated with Catholic nuns this festive season. Department store Debenhams asked customers, “how low do you go?” and found that 75 per cent of men now regularly wear their shirt with three buttons undone on a night out and 41 per cent of men will risk a four…
Waitrose and John Lewis at home Ipswich opened their doors to customers today for the first time. The shops, which have created 375 new jobs in the local area, are the first Waitrose supermarket and John Lewis at home shop to open next to each other and will enable shoppers to benefit from convenient access to product ranges in both shops.   The two shops represent a twelve million pound investment by the John Lewis Partnership, and share an entrance and a customer cafe.  John Lewis at home Ipswich focuses on furniture, furnishing accessories, homeware, home and electrical technology, nursery…
Hitachi Consulting UK has released new research that reveals that individuals earning more than £100,000 per year will ‘always’ look for information online before they make a purchase – every single time.   In addition, 43 per cent of these same high earners reported that they think that the recommendations they receive from social media sites are ‘very important’ when choosing what to buy, compared with just 24 per cent of 18-24 year olds who share this view. A positive in-store experience was also considered to be especially important for this group, as 80 per cent revealed that ‘poor customer service’…
It’s a ‘Dream Baker’s Dozen’ this year, as 13 toys are chosen by the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) to make the toy industry’s official list of the top toys for Christmas.   With a nod to the past but two feet firmly in the future the list is a mix of old favourites brought right up to date, ground-breaking technology and a new crop of must-have character toys say the TRA.  Some of the enduring favourites on the list have been around for 30, 45 or even 65 years. Contrast this with the high-tech tablet computers for kids and exciting…
A bestselling Great British Adventure Kit from Yorkshire-based BattleBox has been named the Top Outdoor Toy of 2012 in the national ToyTalk Awards. BattleBox's Dangerous Den Kit was described by judges as ‘simply magnificent' and a ‘breath of fresh air' that will ‘unlock the explorer in any child'.   The company's Extreme Ambush Kit was highly commended - making BattleBox the only toy company to scoop both first and highly commended in any category.   The BattleBox Company was set up four years ago as a home-based family business by Emma de Vere Hunt of Knaresborough. From packing boxes in…
The BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor has revealed that 42 per cent of mobile retail searches are now performed on tablets.   Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “The popularity of tablets is the driving force behind strong growth in mobile searches. Two in five of all mobile retail searches are now undertaken on tablets despite them being far outnumbered by smartphones. Consumers find it the most convenient way to browse retailer’s websites, whether they’re on the move or at home. “Food and drink was the fastest growing sector for mobile searches, demonstrating that hard-pressed customers are increasingly keen…
An enterprise campaign and a leading British retailer have revealed plans to offer emerging British businesses regular opportunities to pitch their products to top buyers, after a pilot project uncovered a wealth of UK-based talent.   StartUp Britain and John Lewis made the announcement following the unprecedented success of an experimental joint initiative that saw 400 innovative UK-based businesses apply for just 12 places to get in front of buyers. Anna Rigby, John Lewis’ Head of Buying, Home Accessories and Gifts, said: “This has been a truly exciting initiative to be involved in and we are delighted that so many…
John Lewis and Kuoni have announced a new partnership which will see the travel company open exciting new travel concessions in four John Lewis stores this Autumn, with more to follow in the future.   The Kuoni concessions open in the flagship John Lewis Oxford Street today, Reading on 29 October, and Cardiff on 05 November (one opened in Southampton last week on 15 October). They will offer the full range of holidays available from Kuoni shops. The move creates 19 new full time jobs. The concessions will range from 444 sq ft - 821 sq ft and combine the…
Last night luxury department store group, Hoopers celebrated their 30th Anniversary holding parties across all their stores. Hoopers first opened their doors in 1982 and now have department stores in four quintessential English towns as well as a new website www.hoopers.ltd.uk   Excited customers queued eagerly around the block for the doors to open. Once inside, amazed guests were treated to The Unexpected! Surprise elements and performances across all departments included acclaimed jazz singer, Omarni Jones, an appearance from the special Radley Dogs, some of the leading names in the international burlesque scene including Beatrix Von Bourbon, Vicky Butterfly Burlesque…
A coat worn by Paddington bear, Churchill, Montgomery and made famous by the Royal Navy has become popular once again – the Duffel coat is back. Sales are soaring for the first time in almost 50 years, says high street store Debenhams.   The plain, functional, warm material and simple toggles appeal to shoppers and offer comfort in tougher times, say retail boffins at the store. Said Debenhams spokesman Ed Watson: “Duffel coats are a form of fashion where style meets the Dunkirk spirit. “They embody so much of the British character – a desire to look good, combined with a gritty…
John Lewis has opened the first of its new full line flexible format department stores in Exeter city centre, marking the start of an exciting new phase in the retailer's accelerated growth strategy.   Leveraging the business' strength as an omni channel retailer, the new shop offers a full John Lewis assortment, complemented by a comprehensive on-line operation. The flexible format sits between a John Lewis ‘at home’ and a traditional John Lewis department store in terms of size and offers the full John Lewis assortment within a smaller footprint by maximising the opportunity for omni channel shopping. From 8am,…
Marks & Spencer has launched a seasonal recruitment drive to take on an extra 20,000 employees across its UK and Republic of Ireland stores this Christmas – 5,000 more than last year.   Last year more than 1 in 5 of the 15,000 recruits were made permanent employees after finishing their seasonal contracts.   Based in over 500 stores, the roles available include customer assistants, M&S Café assistants and store operation roles. All new recruits take part in a two day induction training session to ensure they are fully-equipped to offer the best possible customer service. Recruits will also receive…
John Lewis will be launching its first range of private label bath and body products into the beauty department this Christmas. Available in four different fragrances, the range comprises of hand creams, hand washes, body creams and shower gels.   The four fragrances - lavender and amber, pink pepper and orange blossom, bayleaf and wheatgrass, and verbena and green lemon, are blended together with luxurious skin moisturising ingredients. As well as offering quality everyday products, the second phase will also encompass premium candles, cosmetic bags and gift sets presented in beautiful coloured packaging, making them the perfect addition for the…
Waitrose is launching a new graduate scheme which has been designed to find the potential future leaders and board directors of the business.   The three year programme will develop candidates’ talent by giving them insight and experience across as much of the business as possible. They will spend time working on projects in a broad spectrum of functions, in retail and head office, as well as participating in training alongside graduates from other parts of the John Lewis Partnership. The successful candidates will also spend time studying for a post-graduate level qualification, to give them theoretical business management knowledge,…
The Browns York department store group has opened its fourth store, in Gainsborough Lincs. Browns’ new home is the Marshalls Yard development, a regenerated tractor factory. “This has been a high-profile redevelopment project,” explains Browns’ Finance Director, Shane Longhorne. “The buildings are unique and make for a very stylish department store.”   Browns joins 29 shops, an Italian restaurant, a coffee shop, a health club and a landscaped plaza in this new retail and leisure destination. To support its expansion, Browns embarked on a major technology upgrade two years ago, introducing new EPoS and Accounts software. In so doing, it…
Retail sales growth is now averaging half what it was in the years before the Lehman Brothers collapse. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is publishing data to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the bank’s failure. It shows the impact of the global financial crisis on UK retailers has been severe, long lasting and continues to be felt.   As the party conference season begins, and on the day Business Secretary Vince Cable is due to address Liberal Democrats, the BRC is calling on the Government to restore consumer confidence by controlling the costs it imposes on households – for…
In its latest TV ad campaign John Lewis uses an innovative split screen technique and the vocals of Paloma Faith to reinforce its commitment to Never Knowingly Undersold which has been in place since 1925. Launching on Friday 14 September on the retailer’s social media channels and on television the following evening, the TV ad is a fresh take on the retailer’s previous two Never Knowingly Undersold campaigns.   The £7m campaign uses the split screen to tell the story of two young people and the ups and downs of their evolving relationships, one taking place in the 1920s and…
An overwhelming majority of fashion retailers believe mobile shopping should form an essential part of their business according to a new survey commissioned by leading mCommerce experts MoPowered. A staggering 84% of the small-to-medium sized fashion enterprises (SMEs) that were surveyed by independent online and mobile research agency, OnePoll, did not have a mobile site, but 89% believed mCommerce to be essential to the future success of their business.   Dominic Keen, chief executive of MoPowered, a provider of mCommerce solutions for SME retailers, said: “Fashion retailers are amongst the most visionary in the retail sector and they are right…
TV hit The Great British Bake Off has created an enormous boom in bakery and high tea-ware, new sales figures reveal. Traditional style cake stands, food mixers, baking trays, measuring jugs, scales and even oven mitts, are selling like hot cakes, says high street store Debenhams.   The dramatic rise has coincided with the broadcast of the BBC series, which now commands one of the biggest audiences on television.   Said Debenhams head of Home Buying Alice Duggan: “Thanks to Mary Berry, Britain is becoming a nation of bakers once again.”   “Her reassuring yet authoritative tone of voice makes…
The current and future talent of the retail industry took centre stage last night at the Skillsmart Retail Rising Stars Awards held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.     The ceremony saw the cream of UK retail talent come together to find out who would be named the sector’s best and most promising stars, with winners receiving their awards from retail entrepreneur and TV Dragon, Theo Paphitis.An annual event organised by Retail Week, the awards celebrate retail’s many departments, from the shop floor to head office and area managers to apprentices, shining a light on individuals who show outstanding talent, aptitude and…
John Lewis has committed to anchoring the second phase of the Bond Street retail development in Chelmsford, and will be opening the company's first branch in Essex.     John Lewis' 119,000 sq ft “flexible format” department store in Chelmsford will be John Lewis’s third of its kind, following the opening of Exeter in 2012 and York in 2013. The shop would boost local employment  with the creation of around 350 new jobs. The retailer will invest around £15m in the development.   The 300,000 sq ft Bond Street development, owned by Aquila  will also include 20 retail units, providing…
John Dixon, the recent head of merchandise, has further shaken up the merchandising team at Marks and Spencer by appointing Stephanie Chen as director of kidswear and home, and Scott Fyfe as director of menswear.     Chen arrives at the company from House of Fraser, whilst Fyfe had formerly been director of Marks and Spencer womenswear.   Karl Doyle, the current kidswear director will leave the company in March 2013 and Damian Guha, director of home will move to a new role within Marks and Spencer.   These changes come after disappointing sales figures in the three months leading…
  British retailer Debenhams has launched its first department store in Russia in a further step towards one of its key growth pillars to expand the brand internationally. Debenhams aims to firmly establish itself in the Russian retail market, which is on target to become Europe’s biggest by 2013/2014. The store is at MEGA Belaya Dacha in Moscow, a mall owned by IKEA's Russian shopping centres arm, and is the 70th international opening for Debenhams. Spread over 35,000 sq. ft., customers can expect ranges from world-renowned designers, an impressive homeware offer and a full beauty and cosmetics selection in partnership…
Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES) has completed a £4.1 million sustainable mechanical and electrical package at the new flagship Marks & Spencer (M&S) at Cheshire Oaks – the company’s most environmentally conscious store. Designed by Aukett Fitzroy Robinson and built by main contractor Simons Group, the Cheshire Oaks store is one of the most high profile sustainable retail projects ever undertaken in the UK. Specifically designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, the new 148,000 sq ft store incorporates a range of cutting edge technologies and building materials to deliver energy and carbon savings of between 30% and 35% when…
Critics who claim that British people always take bad news lying down have finally been proved right as sales of luxury bed linen have soared since the recession began, says high street store Debenhams. Demand for top-of-the-range, super soft, luxury bedding has risen by a colossal 35 per cent in the last four years.   Said Debenhams Head of Home Buying Alice Duggan; “Britain has always had a reputation as a laid back society.   When times are tough in the bank board room, it seems that more people want to make sure that everything is perfect in the bedroom.…
As designers look to select their fabrics closer to home, the 10th anniversary edition of  Textile Forum running from 17-18 October 2012 at The Music Room, London, will be presenting its largest selection of UK and Continental produced collections since the exhibition was launched in 2002. “I am thrilled that for our 10th anniversary event we are including companies that have been with us since the first show, as well as some exciting new exhibitors, so that buyers will have a fantastic choice of innovative fabrics for daywear, eveningwear, bridalwear and lingerie for men, women and children,” explains co-founder and…
  E-crime is the biggest emerging threat to the retail sector as the rapid growth in e-commerce in the UK sees new ways of shopping being accompanied by new types of crime.     The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) first e-crime study is the first comprehensive survey assessing the make-up and scale of e-crime. It estimates the total cost to retailers in 2011-12 was at least £205.4 million. That includes £77.3 million in losses from frauds themselves as well as prevention costs and legitimate business lost as a result of those measures.   In proportion to the total value of…
John Lewis is to open its first pop-up shop in Exeter next month, giving customers a preview of the assortment of products that will be available in the retailer’s first flexible format department store, which opens on 12th October.     The pop-up shop, which will open its doors on Exeter High Street on 3rd September, will house fashion, beauty, consumer electronics and home products in a contemporary industrial design environment with approximately 1200 square feet of selling space. The shop which will be open for six weeks, will be designed from materials such as galvanized steel and chipboard and…
The UK retail home furnishing market will receive a boost next month with the opening of the first of three new stores from Danish furniture retailer JYSK. The global chain, which set foot on Britain’s shores four years ago, has confirmed it will open stores in mid and Southern regions of the country, with the first one scheduled for Swadlincote in Derbyshire.     JYSK is already one of the world’s biggest retail furniture groups. It will open its 2000th store internationally (the 2000th will be elsewhere) around the same time as the new UK store launches. The UK was…
It used to be known as wearing your trousers at half mast – but now it seems the latest trend to hit men’s fashion. Trousers where the hem of the leg ends deliberately at least four inches above the shoe have become one of the fastest selling items of men’s clothing this year, says high street store Debenhams. The style enables men to show off their ankles and in some cases a glimpse of manly calf as a sign of masculinity and sportiness. The trend is now so common that it has been embraced by a string of celebrity ambassadors…
  The latest results from the Retail Traffic Index (RTI), which monitors the volume of shoppers in non-food stores across the UK, continued to record disappointing national footfall levels in July with a 5.2 per cent year on year decline (vs July 2011). Although footfall remains very fragile on Britain’s high streets, in the past two months signs have been slightly more encouraging.  A strong end to June, brought about by the launch of the summer sales, carried on into the first fortnight of July. The RTI, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, shows that footfall for the month as a…
John Lewis Insurance has announced that it has appointed RSA and Ageas to be the new providers of its range of comprehensive insurance products following a competitive tendering process. RSA will now be underwriting John Lewis Insurance’s wedding & event and pet insurance offerings, along with its home insurance offering from 16 January 2013, with Ageas now underwriting John Lewis Insurance’s travel offering.   RSA and Ageas will take over underwriting the insurance products from AXA Personal Lines, which has been the provider since October 2006 when John Lewis Insurance (formerly known as Greenbee) launched.   John Lewis car insurance…
  Shoppers stayed away from the high street in their droves in July thanks to the impact of rainy weather combined with economic worries, according to the latest sales figures from BDO. BDO’s July High Street Sales Tracker shows like-for-like sales at mid-tier retailers were down 2.9% year-on-year – the sharpest fall in retail sales since October 2011.   Although good weather at the end of the month brought some cheer to high street stores, concerns over the rising cost of living combined with low wage inflation weighed hard on consumers’ pockets.   Caution among shoppers could be felt across…
John Lewis has marked four days to go until the Games by wrapping four of its shops around the country in giant banners to celebrate London 2012. As the Official Department Store Provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, John Lewis’s flagship shop on Oxford Street was today wrapped in a giant London 2012 inspired Union flag.     The unveiling forms part of a visual campaign which saw John Lewis shops in Stratford, Cardiff and Sheffield decked out with patriotic banners, celebrating the start of one of the world’s greatest sporting events.   At 8am abseilers fixed…
The most detailed report into loss prevention ever conducted of the UK retail sector has found that UK retailers experienced losses of £3.4 billion due to theft and fraud in 2012, a 10% increase on last year.     Conducted by research company Martec International, The Retail Fraud Study conducted detailed interviews with Loss and Fraud prevention professionals at 100 of the UK’s top retailers, including Tesco, Marks & Spencers, John Lewis and HMV, accounting for 42% of the UK retail market, a sample size unrivalled by any other study.   Frances Riseley, Martec’s deputy managing director who oversaw the…
Scoop International Fashion Show, Europe’s most dynamic and creative fashion industry event revealed over 240 UK and International premium, directional and contemporary labels at its fourth edition at the iconic Saatchi Gallery between 8 – 10 July 2012.     The move to an earlier date has proven to be a successful move, putting Scoop International firmly at the forefront of the industry fashion tradeshow calendar with buyer footfall numbers up by 10% from the last edition in February 2012.  The fact that the show was the first on the UK fashion calendar was seen as a positive by both…
Marks & Spencer have reported a fall of 0.7 per cent in total group sales with like-for-like sale down 2.8 per cent. The retailer has attributed the drop to a tough market and merchandising issues in its Spring Summer clothing collections. Food performed well with a 0.6 per cent rise and multi-channel sales were up 14.9 per cent.     Marc Bolland, chief executive said: “Our Food business has again performed strongly. General Merchandise underperformed in a difficult trading season. We are confident we are taking the necessary steps to address this."   “We are pleased with the performance in…
Waitrose has announced a new commitment to enable all of its branches to donate surplus food to charities across the UK by the end of 2012. This will be its preferred route for any unsold food that is still fit for consumption and will help the retailer achieve its goal of diverting 100 per cent of its food waste from landfill by the end of this year.     It builds on its commitment to Tristram Stuart's campaign, 'Feeding the 5000', which Waitrose is the only major retailer to have signed up to. The supermarket has already made significant steps…
John Lewis is delighted to launch an exclusive collaboration between iconic furniture maker, G Plan and celebrated British design team, HemingwayDesign.     Handcrafted in Melksham, Wiltshire, G Plan has created a capsule furniture collection of five designs, each inspired by a mid-century original from the G Plan archive. Each model is named after the year in which the original first appeared. Made to order, with a lead time of six weeks, all of the pieces are available in a selection of up to 17 textured, quality fabrics. To complement the range, there is a selection of 10 accent cushions…
Department store Debenhams yet again bucked the trend across the High Street as it reported sales up by 3.9% to 23 June 2012. The announcement sits against a challenging combination of bad weather and continuing economic uncertainty both at home and in the euro zone, meaning for other retailers many shoppers are staying at home.     Its enviable sales growth, according to the retailer, is down to meeting the needs of customers and delivering value, especially around key events such as Easter, Mother’s Day, the Diamond Jubilee and pay days/month ends.   Debenhams also invested in marketing to tell…
Allders department store has been placed into administration following crisis talks this week. Geoff Bouchier, Matthew Bond and Philip Duffy of global financial advisory and investment banking firm Duff & Phelps, have been appointed as joint administrators. The Croydon-based department store's closure could mean the loss of hundreds of jobs.     Allders director, Andrew Mackenzie, is reported to have commented: “While our funders, shareholders and concession partners have been supportive throughout and the ongoing restructure was progressing, the tough market conditions in the UK retail sector have forced the board to appoint administrators in order to protect the business…
Retailers, who make up around one in ten of all businesses in Wales, are being given a louder voice with the launch of the Welsh Retail Consortium (WRC).     The WRC – a sister body to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – will build on previous BRC activity in Wales. It is dedicated to enhancing the reputation of the retail sector while ensuring the Welsh Government and local authorities understand how they benefit from working with retailers to support investment and encourage growth.   Today also sees the launch of a new report, Welsh Retail: Serving Our Communities, which…
  Debenhams has announced it is to launch free O2 Wifi throughout all its 167 shops. Customers will now be able to use their smartphones and tablets to connect to fast, free, easy-to-use O2 Wifi, whenever in store. This will allow them to access a huge variety of Debenhams information and special deals as they walk around the store, when using the fitting rooms or whilst enjoying a coffee in one of the retailer’s restaurants.     From now on, customers in every Debenhams store will be able to use their smartphones to connect to O2 Wifi in order to:…