Brits ‘clicking but not collecting’ £228m of goods
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of retailers see Click and Collect services as a solution to drive High Street footfall, but with UK shoppers leaving £228 million worth of items uncollected each year, Barclaycard has argued more needs to be done to enhance the experience for shoppers. It commissioned surveys in July of 250 UK retailers with more than 50 employees and an online presence, as well as 2,000 UK adults, 71 per cent of shoppers now use Click and Collect - selecting the option twice a month on average - yet 15 per cent admit to not collecting their purchases in-store.
House of Fraser extends administration by 12 months
House of Fraser has extended its administration period for a further 12 months, as owner Sports Direct battles “terminal” issues with the struggling retailer. Creditors for the department store chain, which was bought in a pre-pack administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90 million in August last year, have now agreed to a further 12 months of administration until August 2020.
Manchester office trials finger scan payments
Employees and visitors to office space concept All Work and Social’s XYZ building in Manchester will be able to pay for food and drink using finger scan biometrics as part of a trial beginning this autumn. Launched in partnership with Fingopay, using its VeinID scanning technology, customers can link ‘vein signatures’ in their fingers with payment cards.
Former Majestic Wine MD moves back
Former Majestic Wine managing director John Colley has resigned from his role as chief trading officer at Kingfisher after just 20 months in the position. The Times reported that he will return to Majestic Wine under new ownership, after its stores were bought for £95 million earlier this month by American asset manager Fortress Investment Group.
Like-for-like retail sales on the rise
Total like-for-like sales increased by seven per cent this week, from a base of 1.5 per cent for the equivalent week last year, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker. Fashion stole the show this week, but total in-store like-for-likes enjoyed a strong seven days, despite lower footfall and mixed weather conditions.
Sorted secures £15m to fund expansion
Global delivery software business Sorted Group has raised £15 million in a Series B funding round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment, alongside Praetura Ventures and NVM Private Equity. The investment takes the Manchester-based firm’s total funding to more than £35 million since its launch in 2010.
Sport Direct closes 8 Jack Wills stores
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has closed eight Jack Wills stores following its acquisition of the fashion retailer earlier this month. The retail group told the Financial Times that attempts would be made to redeploy staff to other locations amid reports that further stores are being eyed for closure if Sports Direct cannot negotiate lower rents with landlords.
Retailer challenges to business rates on the up
The government has been urged to ease the business rates burden on High Street retailers after challenges to bills rose by 65 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. According to new figures from law firm RPC, there were 4,000 challenges made to business rates bills in the first three months of this year, up from 2,430 in the fourth quarter of last year.
Online sales back up to 20% of total retail
In July, online retailing accounted for 19.9 per cent of total retail sales, compared with 18.9 per cent in June, with an overall growth of 12.7 per cent versus the same month a year earlier. This is according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which showed e-commerce growth for all sectors except department stores. The decline of 1.3 per cent for department stores comes compared to strong growth of 34.4 per cent during the same month in 2018.
Sports Direct auditor quits
Shares in Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct fell by 10 per cent this morning after Grant Thornton confirmed it would quit as auditor of the retail empire.The news that the accounting firm would not seek reappointment from 11 September, after 10 years in the role, comes as a fresh blow for the company after the chaotic publication of its annual results, which revealed that the company is facing a £605 million tax bill from Belgian authorities.
Wirecard unveils Grab & Go store concept
Wirecard has unveiled a prototype of an unmanned store utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The Grab & Go concept lets consumers pick products which are scanned automatically by a mobile app, with payment taken upon leaving the store. Launched by Wirecard’s Innovation Labs, it works through a combination of computer vision, deep learning and logic.