Waitrose has announced that Today Development Partners (TDP) will replace the retailer’s partnership with Ocado as part of a £1 billion plan to treble the size of its online grocery operations over the next three years. Waitrose said the collaboration with TDP will lead to a significant increase in capacity, automation and digital operations at Waitrose.com, through the development of three automated Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) and new technical capabilities for online customer experience.
Huawei, China Mobile and the China Real Estate Association have jointly launched the world's first 5G shopping mall. The Shanghai Lujiazui L+ Mall uses the 5G digital indoor system (DIS), which enables next generation network connectivity in certain parts of the 12 floors and over 140,000 square metres of floor area.
Amazon has made a significant investment in Deliveroo, as part of a £450 million fundraising round for the food delivery app.The e-commerce giant’s investment, for an undisclosed sum, brings the total funding for the food ordering and delivery network to $1.5 billion since it launched in 2013.
New research suggests that hope is not yet lost for the High Street, will 27 per cent of shoppers saying they consider the in-store experience is still ahead of online shopping.A survey of 5,000 consumers from the UK, France and Germany found that views on the struggles of traditional retailers were mixed, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) saying that in-store was behind, while 21 per cent said they ‘don’t know’.
Boots is set to launch a digital version of its Advantage Card loyalty scheme, enabling personalised offers via mobile. The health and beauty retailer’s loyalty scheme will become part of its app, allowing customers to collect and redeem points directly to their phone.
As UK consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones for convenience, mobile will continue to be the fastest growing area within the UK retail market, with spend increasing by £17.1 billion over the next five years to reach £33.2 billion by 2024. GlobalData’s latest market analysis predicted that mobiles will account for over 40 per cent of online expenditure by 2024, while tablet spend will decline to 14.4 per cent by that date.
Flawed customer experiences are costing British retailers up to £102 billion in lost sales each year. This is according to new research commissioned by Adyen among 811 UK consumers and 95 senior retail decision-makers during the first quarter this year.
Prada Group and Adobe have announced the next step in their collaboration, with the deployment of customer experience management on a global scale. The fashion house will adopt new Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to support its marketing and multi-channel communications to help integrate offline and online channels and deliver a more personalised experience.
In the face of rising numbers of ‘serial returners’, a fifth of retailers say they have taken measures to make their returns policy more stringent in the last year, with a further 19 per cent planning to do so in the next 12 months. This is according to Barclaycard, which commissioned Opinium to survey 2,004 UK adults in April, along with 250 senior decision-makers in retailers with an online presence.
One in three European shoppers are ready to abandon brands entirely when customer experience falls short, according to new research from Adobe.Its latest Experience Index report surveyed over 3,000 consumers from across Europe, finding that brands are routinely falling short of customer expectations, with UK consumers rating brands at just 54 per cent of their potential.
Marks and Spencer has invested in 3D digital fit company Texel, which has developed technology that captures customers’ measurements to improve fit and reduce the risk of returns for online orders.The investment in Texel has been made as part of the M&S’ joint venture with Founders Factory, which enables startups to grow at pace using the company’s experts in design, computer engineering, data science and strategy.
Despite a “tough trading environment”, Moss Bros has recorded a 1.5 per cent increase in total sales, mostly attributed to its e-commerce platform. For the 15 weeks to 11 May, total like-for-like sales were down 0.2 per cent on the same period last year, but online sales tipped the balance back in the men’s clothing retailer’s favour, coming in at 18.7 per cent.
Retailers in the UK expect 30 per cent of all their e-commerce work to give them back no value, according to a new study. Greenlight Commerce questioned 100 UK-based e-commerce decision makers within the retail sector, finding 99 per cent are facing some sort of challenge, with the main problems being customer retention (41 per cent), customer experience (39 per cent) and measuring metrics (33 per cent).
Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new innovation competition, challenging businesses to come up with technological concepts that will reimagine the use of physical space in retail and deliver unique customer experiences for those using the transport network every day. Winners will get the chance to pilot their concepts in reality, as TfL will provide them with retail space on its estate for a year - with a value of up to £100,000 - as the prize.
Amazon has partnered with Next to launch a new parcel collection service. Shoppers who use the new system, called Amazon Counter, will be able to choose a pick-up point in one of hundreds of UK Next stores when they reach the check-out on the Amazon site.
While Generation Z and Millennials are often described as the first generation of digital natives, Generation X are consistently the most open to technological innovation when compared to younger shoppers, research by Vodat International has revealed. A survey of over 1,000 UK shoppers by the cross-channel communications firm showed that Generation X are the most willing to use a wide array of in-store technology, ranging from contactless payments and touchscreens, through to augmented and virtual reality.
Radley, the handbag and accessories retailer, has launched a digital in-store shopping as part of a push to expand its omnichannel strategy. The company says its new ‘Order in-store app’, powered by OneStock technology, will enable customers to access its entire range regardless of where in the firm’s store or warehouse network a product is located.
The national town centre vacancy rate was 10.2 per cent in April, a further increase on the previous quarter rate of 9.9 per cent, and the highest since April 2015. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures also revealed that footfall declined by 0.5 per cent in April, compared to the same point last year when it declined by 3.3 per cent.
Morrisons has announced changes to its partnership with Ocado as it looks to expand its delivery options with the likes of Amazon and Uber Eats. The fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK said the terms of its digital partnership deal, which included an exclusive delivery tie up with Ocado, have been relaxed to allow it to work with other companies and expand its online operations.
A survey has found that nearly half of shoppers has ranked a lack of free returns as the most annoying issue related to refunds or exchanges, with 57 per cent of women and half of men branding the returns process “rubbish”. A survey of 2,005 UK consumers for payments firm Valitor found that retailers have a long way to go in ensuring a positive post-purchase experience, with more than a third (34 per cent) saying they felt that retailers don’t care about them after they’ve made a payment.
eBay will today open its first UK concept store, located in Wolverhampton and offering 40 small businesses from the area the chance to showcase and sell their products for a month. The move is part of the Retail Revival pilot scheme, a year-long programme in which the marketplace is working with 64 local businesses to help them maximise digital sales and demonstrate how online and physical retail can thrive in combination.
The new owners of Debenhams have received approval from creditors to trigger a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in order to restructure the retailer and return it to a stable financial footing. This morning the conglomerate of lenders that took control of Debenhams after it collapsed into administration last month confirmed they had failed to sell the department store chain.
Retail brands will soon be able to add 3D interactive augmented reality (AR) models to Google searches of their products so customers can superimpose items in the “real world” to try them out.The online search giant confirmed plans to integrate AR into standard Google search results during a launch event for its Pixel 3 smartphone at its annual developer’s conference.
The number of shoppers using voice-assisted technology to research and place orders has jumped 83 per cent in the last year, according to new data. A survey of 4,500 online shoppers by cloud commerce firm Episerver found that consumers are increasingly turning to connected devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Ocado has led a £7 million investment round in UK-based robotics start up Karakuri, which specialises in the automated assembly of ready-to-eat meals. The online grocery delivery giant made an equity investment of £4.75 million for 18 per cent of the company and will take a seat on the board.
E-commerce technology provider, Attraqt has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire omnichannel personalisation platform Early Birds. The unified solution will deliver omnichannel search, merchandising, product and content personalisation for retailers.
Jack Wills has increased sales performance with a conversion incentive programme designed by ShopperTrak, part of Sensormatic Solutions. Founded in 1999 and now operating 97 stores across the UK, the fashion brand has been measuring store footfall data since 2012, but in 2018 it committed to migrating onto the latest version of ShopperTrak’s reporting and analytics platform.
Reform to the business rates system cannot come soon enough for British retailers, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Addressing business leaders in central London today, the association’s president John Allan identified two reasons reform was long overdue: gaps between revaluations meaning certain areas of the country are struggling, and the system makes businesses less likely to invest in growth.
H&M has announced it is ditching its catalogue service in order to focus on services which are more relevant to today’s shoppers, such as online.In a statement, the Stockholm-based clothing giant said that its final catalogues were published during the week starting 29 April and would be discontinued thereafter to reflect the shift of consumers to digital services and e-commerce platforms.
Shop Direct is looking to roll-out artificial intelligence-based price and promotion optimisation solutions across the UK, after a successful deployment in Ireland. The initial implementation resulted in measurable positive impacts on multiple fronts, including customer engagement, unit lift and revenues, according to a statement from the e-commerce group.
During the first quarter UK retailers grew 0.4 per cent year-on-year, well below the global and European averages, according to Salesforce's latest shopping index. Economic uncertainty due to Brexit was blamed for lower consumer confidence and fewer purchases by the report which analyses the activity of more than 500 million shoppers worldwide.
Retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent in April, against a decrease of 3.1 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. However, last month’s statistics were positively distorted by the timing of the run-up to Easter, which was in April this year compared to March in the previous year. One way of correcting for this distortion is to look at the two-year average, since the Easter effect was reversed last year, depressing sales in April 2018.
Hugo Boss has partnered with multi-channel technology provider One iota to help improve customer experience. Last year, the luxury fashion retailer introduced two new store concepts, integrating digital technology and ‘community spaces’ – which play into the trend for increasing dwell times in store and adding experiential, multi-channel elements to bricks and mortar spaces.
Retail management software company Vend has partnered with e-commerce platform BigCommerce to help smaller independent retailers compete with big businesses. This is possible through new social media and online sales channels, along with managing store operations with synchronisation of sales, products, customers and inventory in real time.
Pets at Home has launched a new Store of the Future concept in its Stockport and Chesterfield outposts. The £1 million makeover includes revamped veterinary practices, ‘groom rooms’ and ‘pet village’ for pet care, along with its first cat adoption lounge in partnership with the RSPCA.
Intu has warned of a bigger drop in rental income this year, as struggling retailers close shops at a faster rate than expected. In a market update ahead of its AGM, the shopping centre landlord said Brexit uncertainties were also having an impact on letting demand and it would suffer from a further rise in Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs).
IKEA has appointed Peter Jelkeby as its new UK and Ireland retail manager, replacing Javier Quiñones, who is moving to the same position in the US. After joining the company at his local store in Sweden, over the next 20 years Jelkeby took on roles such as store manager at IKEA Lakeside, sales and communications manager, and deputy retail manager for IKEA UK and Ireland – as well as postings to Russia and Vietnam.
A panel of retail experts took aim at the national and local government as they debated strategies to tackle the challenges faced by the UK’s High Streets. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, was asked about how Brexit has distracted politicians from fixing the tax system that impacts retailers. She responded: “Brexit is sucking the life out of the machine of government – in the time I’ve been lobbying ministers, the quality of engagement and interaction has steadily decreased.”
UK retailers should are partly to blame for their current travails and should stop shooting themselves in the foot, according to former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, who also suggested that reports of the implosion of the High Street are overhyped. Speaking at the RetailExpo in London, Justin King, who led the supermarket chain from 2004-2014, warned that bricks and mortar retailers were inadvertently driving customers online channels by participating in discounting events such as Black Friday.
SafeCharge has partnered with several luxury retailers located in London’s Beauchamp Place shopping area, helping them cater for an increasing number of Chinese shoppers.Through a dedicated mobile app, the merchants will be able to accept WeChat Pay and Alipay at the point of sale for QR code-based transactions, in an effort to provide a better customer experience at check-out.
Missguided has deployed Upland’s Rant & Rave Platform to improve its customer service experience. This will be done by giving employees throughout the business better access to real-time customer feedback, as well as using Upland’s new Customer Experience Management (CXM) suite to ‘close the loop’ with customers who leave negative feedback.
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are set to introduce new shopping features, as the social media giants look to challenge Amazon’s retail dominance. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference yesterday, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said changes to all three platforms will allow customers to browse, buy and organise delivery for items without ever leaving the apps.
Argos has opened its first self-service digital store, as the retailer reaches over £2 billion sales generated through customers shopping on mobile devices, while across Sainsbury’s Group £4.7 billion sales are now generated online. Argos’s first self-service store in Sainsbury’s Dulwich sees customers pay at the same tablet they use to browse the catalogue’s 20,000 products - removing the need to visit a separate checkout area to pay - before picking up their order at new collection pods.
Shop price inflation decelerated in April to 0.4 per cent, from 0.9 per cent in March, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food prices were back in inflationary territory in April, when prices decreased by 0.6 per cent, compared to March, when they were flat.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given provisional approval to Paypal’s $2.2 billion takeover of Swedish mobile payments company iZettle. In November an investigation by the UK competition watchdog had raised concerns that the proposed merger could drive up prices for customers and lead to a more limited range of services.
Consumers both value and respond to personalisation - when it’s done right - but they will not tolerate being bombarded with poorly timed, intrusive or irrelevant messages. This is according to research from Periscope By McKinsey, conducted across 2,590 adults in March, finding that shoppers in the US (55 per cent), UK (52 per cent), Germany (46 per cent) and France (44 per cent) said they often or sometimes sign-up to personalisation.
Bosses at Arcadia are set to attend a crunch meeting today to examine plans for a restructuring of Philip Green’s retail empire. Directors at Arcadia - which owns High Street brands including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton - will discuss the possibility of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or alternative plans, including an auction of the company, Sky News reported.
AO World has deployed BluJay’s DropShip solution to support delivery of its white goods and electrical product range. A statement from the supply chain software firm explained that it will help to streamline AO’s transactional processes, maintaining on-time deliveries.
Starting today, shoppers at Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus store in London will be able to go fully till free, as the supermarket rolls-out its SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology in a bespoke food-to-go store. Customer feedback from the experiment will help develop the app further, before being rolled out more widely.
The demand for flexible payment options is driving rapid growth of Klarna’s Pay Later service amongst UK retailers, with the payments firm now reporting 4.4 million users of its service. According to Klarna’s annual financial statement, the option of flexible consumer finance is seeing uptake from 25,000 new UK shoppers on a week by week basis, with the Pay in 3 instalments concept seeing a 55 per cent increase in average order value (AOV) and a 44 per cent increase in conversion.
The proportion of retailers offering same-day delivery is expected to increase from 19 to 29 per cent over the next five years, while those offering next day delivery or faster will face increased competition, with the proportion expected to jump from 62 to 83 per cent. This is according to interviews with senior business decision-makers at 100 leading UK retailers conducted by GlobalData on behalf of law firm TLT.
Debenhams’ new owners have outlined plans to close around 50 stores as part of plans to restructure the business after it collapsed into administration earlier this month. The proposed closure plans, which put thousands of jobs at risk, are based on proposals for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) set out in October last year which have been adopted by Debenhams’ new owners.
Shares in Laura Ashley fell more than 20 per cent yesterday as the retailer issued a new profit warning to investors after a “very demanding” third quarter. The home furnishings and fashion chain, which has 156 stores across the UK, warned in February that like-for-like retail sales were down four per cent year-on-year and reported a £1.5 million loss.
Ipsos Retail Performance has released details of a new staff exclusion feature, which allows store managers and head offices to capture customer - but exclude staff - footfall to build a true picture of store performance. The market research group’s retail consultancy stated that it believes the tool is the first of its kind, setting a new standard for accuracy in stores where the employee-to-customer ratio is high, such as in telecoms retail or luxury brand flagships.
eBay has unveiled several new initiatives for buyers and sellers, including a search feature that couples advancements in computer vision with relevant filtering, letting shoppers discover products using pictures and words. In its first quarter results statement, the global commerce company also announced the addition of Google Pay as a payment option, alongside the completed integration of PayPal on its new platform, which has been live for a couple weeks with a small set of customers and will continue scaling over the coming months.
The growth of online shopping and the spread of new technologies has driven a loss of almost 75,000 retail jobs since last year, according to new data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The BRC’S retail employment monitor showed that the number of retail employees in the first three months of 2019 dropped 2.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis, equivalent to 74,400 jobs in total.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has blocked the Sainsbury’s and Asda merger after finding it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK. In its final report, published today, the regulator found that UK shoppers and motorists would be worse off if Sainsbury’s and Asda - two of the country’s largest supermarkets - were to merge, due to expected price rises, reductions in the quality and range of products available, or a poorer overall shopping experience.
The British Independent Retail Association (Bira) and Vend have announced a campaign called ‘Remarkable Retailers’, celebrating 14 contributions to local high streets and their innovative approach to retail. Selected from a long list of over 1,000 independent stores, Vend and Bira awarded businesses which use technology to create the foundation of their success.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has opened its underlying blockchain framework JD Chain to business customers. This will enable companies to build their own blockchain solutions from the ground up, following JD’s earlier launch of a new blockchain technology open platform, which enables businesses to leverage pre-built Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in their own businesses.
Clarks has teamed up with Big Data and systems integration specialist Whishworks to help automate and optimise its supply chain operations. The partnership, which will deliver a new Application Programming Interface (API) warehouse management application suite across the supply chain, comes as part of the footwear retailer’s global business transformation initiative.
The online retail industry recorded growth of just five per cent year-on-year in March, against a tough comparator last year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. While still positive growth, this subdued performance fell significantly below the three (up 7.5 per cent), six (up 7.1 per cent) and 12-month (up 10.2 per cent) rolling averages. In fact, online-only retailers saw only marginally better results - growing 8.9 per cent - than multi-channel retailers’ five per cent rise.
Boohoo has reported a revenue rise of 48 per cent to £856.9 million in the year to 28 February, while pre-tax profit was also up 38 per cent to £59.9 million. Turnover increased 37 per cent in the UK and 64 per cent in international markets.
Majestic Wine has appointed Rothschild & Co to work on options for a potential of sale of all its British shops in preparation for a move to become online-only under the Naked Wines brand. A decision is expected on the plans at its full-year results presentation on 13 June.
Visa has launched a new platform with beta Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and development tools to help issuers and issuer processors build and test new digital payment products. The platform will be available to the payment giant’s clients and partners via Visa Next, a new location for accessing new solutions in its product pipeline.
Some of the High Street’s biggest brands have been secretly filming shoppers and using behavioural analysis technology to try and make them spend more. An investigation by the Daily Mail revealed that the likes of Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Co-op all commissioned SBXL to record customers in their aisles.
Jigsaw has seen its online sales grow by a third after implementing omnichannel technology that enables e-commerce orders to be shipped directly from stores if the items are unavailable online. The High Street fashion retailer reported that online transactions increased by 32 per cent in the first 11 months of deployment of OneStock’s technology, which unifies web and in-store inventory to offer customers access to an entire product range.
The Easter sunshine brought shoppers back out onto the High Street this bank holiday weekend, providing a much-needed boost for UK retailers. According to figures from Springboard, bricks and mortar retailers saw a three per cent rise in footfall compared to the four-day period from Good Friday to bank holiday Monday last year, which by contrast was marred by stormy weather.
Debenhams has confirmed that Sergio Bucher is stepping down as chief executive after the struggling retailer entered administration last week. In a statement, the group said that Bucher, who has led Debenhams since October 2016, would leave the business this week in order to “allow new leadership to carry through the restructuring and turnaround of the business”.
Alibaba Group’s e-commerce marketplace Tmall has launched a dedicated gateway for consumers to find new products on its sister Mobile Taobao app. Taobao users can click on a Tmall icon to access the Tmall New Products channel, which features creative content and personalised recommendations. The Taobao app has nearly 700 million mobile monthly active users and is opened 7.8 times a day by Chinese users, according to Alibaba.
Amazon has announced plans to scrap its online marketplace in China after losing ground to rival e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com. The company announced plans to close its domestic marketplace on 18 July, in order to its focus efforts in China on more profitable activities including border trade, selling overseas goods and cloud computing services.
In the first quarter of the year, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.6 per cent when compared with the final quarter of last year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. All store types, except department stores and household goods stores, increased in the quantity bought in the three months to March, when compared with the previous three months.
River Island has chosen Spanish tech firm Nextail to roll out artificial intelligence (AI) driven forecasting and stock solutions across its store and product network. The fashion retailer is rolling out Nextail’s technology to 343 stores in the UK, Ireland, Asia the Middle East and Europe and across its womenswear, menswear, kids and homeware ranges.
Pinterest and Instagram deliver the highest average order values from mobile devices for online fashion retailers, according to a new study. An analysis of mobile traffic and orders placed with online fashion retailers by Nosto, an e-commerce personalisation platform, also found that the social media duo, which enable consumers to click on ‘shoppable’ images, result in higher average order values (AOV) than Facebook.
Almost half of data-driven initiatives are failing in retail organisations, with of the most common reasons being lack of employee skills, which affects 43 per cent of retail businesses. This is according to a survey of 500 UK and German IT and business decision-makers, commissioned by analytic database provider Exasol and conducted by Vanson Bourne.
Morrisons has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court over a data breach which affected more than 100,000 employees. The case brought by 5,000 former employees at the grocery retailer became the first class action lawsuit involving a data breach in UK legal history.
Furniture retailer Made.com has launched an innovation lab aimed at trialling new retail technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D technology to help customers visualise items in their own home. Made Labs, which will be based at the company’s headquarters in Shoreditch, London, will work with innovative tech startups using the latest technology to help customers find the right products.
Now in their 7th year, the 2019 Payments Awards are open for entries, with an expanded selection of categories to choose from. Celebrating the companies which have demonstrated excellence and innovation in the payments space, this year the awards will be welcoming entries in four new categories: Anti-Fraud Solution of the Year; Security Innovation of the Year; Best Cross-Border Payments Solution; and Blockchain or Cryptocurrency Initiative of the Year.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming a favoured destination for shoppers, according to research which revealed a 38 per cent rise in the consumers who place high importance the ability to discover new brands and purchase directly on these channels. Bazaarvoice’s annual Shopper Experience Index, which surveyed more than 500 retailers and 2,000 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany, also showed a growing appetite for visual content across platforms, with 91 per cent of UK brands saying this makes online shopping experience more engaging.
Facebook has confirmed that it is closing down its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service on Messenger. The social media giant informed users that the payments service, which launched in the UK in November 2017, two years after it was first rolled out in the US, was being discontinued.
Mastercard has acquired point of sale (PoS) technology platform Vyze, as part of a move into checkout financing. A statement explained that increasingly, consumers are seeking alternative financing options when purchasing goods, citing Accenture research suggesting that in the US alone, such solutions represent a more than $1.8 trillion opportunity.
The owners of Monsoon and Accessorize are said to be mulling dozens of store closures as part of a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). According to Sky News, the women’s fashion and accessories retailers have hired in consultants from Deloitte to lay the groundwork for a potential CVA, which could be launched within the next few weeks.
intu has become the first shopping centre landlord to launch an in-store cashback app that will allow retailers to drive footfall by rewarding customers for spending in physical stores. Called intu Pocket, it will give shoppers at least two per cent cashback on anything they buy from participating shops and restaurants at intu’s 14 UK shopping centres.
Just Eat has acquired point of sale (PoS) software provider Practi for an initial £6.7 million, with further payments dependent on the achievement of certain commercial milestones. According to a statement from the online food delivery firm, the deal will strengthen its partnership with the thousands of restaurant partners on the platform.
Three quarters of UK retailers are failing to assess the actual impact of their digital marketing spend, due to not accurately attributing the impact on footfall. A survey of 1,153 UK retail workers carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals revealed that 68 per cent of retailers are unsure of the return on investment (ROI) of their most recent digital marketing campaign.
Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher is planning to stand down this week after the struggling High Street chain entered administration last Tuesday, according to reports. Bucher, who has led Debenhams since October 2016, is said by sources to believe it is time for a “fresh start” following a tumultuous few months for the department store chain.
Luxury accessories retailer, Lulu Guinness has improved dwell times and conversion rates with a new e-commerce platform and website from Astound Commerce. Founded in 1989, the brand now has multiple stores, but online is becoming increasingly important, with more than a third of business turnover coming from digital channels.
Younger generations are growing frustrated with online shopping and heading back the High Street, with 60 per cent of 18-34 year olds valuing the in-store experience. A study of 2,002 UK adults, commissioned by design agency Foolproof, found that despite the general perception that Generation Z and Millennial shoppers live and shop online, over a quarter of the so-called ‘digital generation’ aged 18-24, and a further 30 per cent of 24-34 year olds, said they preferred to shop in-store as an opportunity to socialise with family and friends.
UK retail footfall increased by 1.4 per cent in March, compared to a six per cent fall the previous year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. On a three-month basis, footfall dropped by 0.3 per cent, while the six and 12-month averages were both down by 1.4 per cent.
LK Bennett has been bought out of administration by its Chinese franchise partner Rebecca Feng for an undisclosed sum. The struggling womenswear retailer appointed administrators from EY last month, sparking a bidding war involving the company’s founder Linda Bennett, Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day and Rebecca Feng.
Aldi is to trial self-service checkouts in one of its stores for the first time. The first automated tills will be at the supermarket’s Glascote store in Tamworth and will allow customers to pay for their own shopping without it being scanned by a store assistant.
Sales of online groceries in the UK hit £12.3 billion last year, up nine per cent from 2017, according to the latest Mintel data. The online sector is still adding to its share of total grocery retail sales, up from 6.1 per cent in 2016 to seven per cent in 2018. Mintel predicted that online grocery sales will reach £13.6 billion this year, and over the next five years, the channel is forecast to account for 10 per cent of all grocery shopping, reaching £19.8 million by 2023.
Amazon Go stores are due to start accepting cash, in response to concerns in US states and cities that the cashless format discriminates against those without access to a bank account. The e-commerce giant’s senior vice president of physical stores Steve Kessel told an internal meeting last month that its growing number of Amazon Go stores will soon introduce “additional payment mechanisms”.
RetailEXPO has announced the shortlist for its 2019 Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate vendors whose innovative products and services can re-energise operations to deliver enhanced customer experience, from in-store design and digital signage, to payment solutions, biometrics and robotics.
Google Cloud Services is launching a new range of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics solutions aimed at helping retailers optimise recommendations and personalisation online and in-store. Google Cloud for Retail is aimed at assisting retailers with digital transformation of the value chain, centred on six core areas, including store operations such as frictionless checkout, inventory management, merchandising, customer acquisition and workforce retention.
The Co-op is launching the Reflexis MyWork mobile task management system across its network of 2,500 stores and more than 45,000 employees. The supermarket chain was previously inundated with information from more than 20 back office systems and 70 paper processes, in addition to email communication and staff bulletins.
The number of store openings by multiple retailers on Great Britain’s top 500 high streets has dropped by 17.4 per cent year-on-year, with the current rate of openings at nine stores per day. This represents a 44 per cent decrease from the 16 stores per day opening in 2013, according to figures from PwC and The Local Data Company. The analysis tracked 66,463 outlets operated by multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Great Britain, between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.
British cosmetics firm Lush is closing its UK social media accounts this week, complaining that it is "tired of fighting with algorithms" and did not want to "pay to appear" in newsfeeds. In a statement, the retailer asks customers to contact it by email, phone, or via live chat on its website.
Half year profits at ASOS have slumped by 87 per cent due to expenses linked to US expansion costs, discounting and poor trading leading up to Christmas. Pre-tax profit at the e-commerce fashion site for the six months to 28 February came in at £4 million, down from £29.9 million for the previous year.
Global spending by retailers on artificial intelligence services will reach $12 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $3.6 billion in 2019. Market analysis from Juniper Research suggested that over 325,000 retailers will adopt AI technology over the period, mostly used to unlock efficiencies across back office operations.
Worldline has launched a dedicated payment solution for online marketplaces, using tokenisation to encrypt financial data. The solution is designed to cater for the particular needs of marketplaces, ranging from those for physical products to franchise systems, travel agents, self-check-out solutions and delivery services.
Google Maps is the platform most ready for the voice search revolution, followed by Yelp and Bing. This is according to analysis from Uberall, which identified 37 directories that directly feed voice search platforms, ranking them according to how important they are to a business’s voice search readiness.
Debenhams has entered into a pre-pack administration deal and passed into the hands of its lenders. The struggling High Street retailer suspended shares this morning after rejecting a revised offer from Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley, aimed at preventing the retailer from entering into a £200 million refinancing deal which could see shareholder value wiped out.
Mulberry has implemented Aptos solutions for pre-season and in-season planning, using supply chain management technology to manage product development and sourcing faster. The British handbag and womenswear retailer trades internationally through its own stores, direct wholesale customers and partners, as well as a growing online channel.
On a total basis, UK retail sales decreased by 0.5 per cent in March, against an increase of 2.3 per cent in March 2018, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. On a like-for-like basis, sales decreased by 1.1 per cent from March 2018, when they had increased 1.4 per cent from the preceding year.
Online fashion retailer Oh Polly has reported record revenues of £15.6 million during 2018, while turnover has increased 140 per cent to £21 million. Pre-tax profits are also on track to more than double to over £3 million for the 2018/19 financial year.
The ongoing saga over the future of Debenhams took a surreal turn yesterday after Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley insisted that two directors took a lie detector test, amid a last ditch attempt to block a £200 million refinancing of the struggling retailer. Shortly before re-issuing Sports Direct’s formal offer to underwrite a £150 million rights issue for Debenhams, the retail tycoon accused the Debenhams board of “falsehoods and denials” and requested that two directors take a lie detector test over a meeting allegedly arranged to discuss Sports Direct’s role as the largest shareholder in the company.
Tesco is planning an overhaul of its Clubcard loyalty scheme, moving towards a programme similar to Amazon Prime. The Times reported that the revamp would encourage shoppers to sign up to the supermarket chain’s bank and mobile phone services.
Digital commerce growth to UK retail sites grew just four per cent in the final quarter of 2018, down from eight per cent the previous year, according to Salesforce Commerce Cloud, while mobile continued to dominate growth in traffic and orders.The latest quarterly Shopping Index from the cloud-based software giant analysed the activity and trends of more than 500 million shoppers spread across 1,000 digital commerce sites in 36 countries.
International retailers have flocked to Chinese e-commerce platforms, enticed by impressive consumer traffic, but a growing number of them - including Macy's and New Look - have closed Tmall Global stores, despite growing demand for foreign goods. The problem for retailers is that they are often selling the same brands as their rivals, with customers simply selecting whichever retailer offers the lowest price and fastest delivery, according to Elena Gatti, managing director at e-commerce solutions provider DACH Azoya.
Poor quality products are being boosted by inflated reviews on the websites of Britain’s biggest retailers, according to an investigation by Which? The consumer organisation looked at 15 products that it had rated as ‘Don’t Buys’, a status given to products that fail to meet the standards of its independent tests.
As physical retail spend comes under increasing threat from the online channel, supermalls are set to outperform the total offline market over the next five years, as their destination appeal ensures resilient growth. This is according to GlobalData’s latest industry analysis, which suggested that supermall retail spend will rise by seven per cent during the period to 2023, diverting consumer spending away from increasingly neglected town centres.
AO World has revealed that it is stockpiling £15 million worth of inventory as part of Brexit contingency planning. The online electrical retailer’s trading update for the year to 31 March explained that during the last quarter, inventory levels were increased to prepare for continued uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU.
New research has revealed that retail executives see artificial intelligence (AI) as a competitive necessity, but remain sceptical about whether practical applications live up to the hype. Oxford Economics, in collaboration with Synchrony Financial, surveyed 324 executives across seven US retail sub-sectors in late 2018, finding that nearly three quarters of respondents reckon AI will be a competitive necessity for their company in the next five years – a figure that rises to 90 per cent of early adopters.
ASOS has made a change to its returns policy, in an attempt to crack down on the problem of ‘serial returners’. In an email sent to customers, the online fashion retailer explained that it has increased the time customers can return items from 28 days to 45 days. If items are returned within 28 days, refunds will be given as normal, and up to 45 days customer will now get an ASOS gift voucher for the amount spent.
intu has appointed Matthew Roberts as its new chief executive, with effect from 29 April. He will take over from David Fischel, who is set to leave on 26 April, after announcing his intention to leave last July. Fischel had been at the helm of Intu since 2001 and with the company since 1985.
Just four of the UK’s 100 largest online retailers are providing customers with personalised information about the status of their orders, with 27 per cent of brands not communicating at all during the delivery process, according to a new study. Post-purchase solution firm ParcelLab placed online orders with 100 retailers, including Boots, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and ASOS.
With queues remaining the biggest in-store issue for over half (53 per cent) of shoppers, a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers have demanded in-store payment technologies that replicate ‘one-click’ online checkout. This is according to a survey commissioned by RetailEXPO in January and carried out by OnePoll among 2,000 UK consumers.
US grocery giant Walmart is launching a voice order service for online deliveries via smart devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. A blog posted by Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of digital operations, announced that the Walmart Voice Order service will launch this month.
The Prada Group has announced a collaboration with Oracle to adopt a suite of its tech solutions that will support efficiency throughout all core retail processes. The company will also help the luxury retailer analyse historical data and current market demands across its global network of 634 stores, better-informing business decisions and improving customer experience.
Shop price inflation increased to 0.9 per cent in March, up from 0.7 per cent in February – the highest inflation rate since March 2013. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Neilsen figures showed that food inflation accelerated to 2.5 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in February – the highest rate November 2013.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is partnering with ARCore by Google to invite augmented reality (AR) software developers to come up with AR solutions aimed at helping retailers to optimise omnichannel targeted marketing. The competition will bring together developers from around the world to compete against one another to solve problems put forward by retailers including Walmart, Mead Johnson and JD.com’s retail experience shops.
A nationwide survey has revealed that the Millennial generation want to turn away from High Street shopping in favour of online subscription services. James and James Fulfilment commissioned Pollfish to survey 400 UK adults, finding that more than 79 per cent of respondents aged 25 to 34 said that “subscription box” services can offer greater choice and personalisation than shopping in-store.
The Co-op has partnered with Finnish digital commerce firm Digital Goodie for a new online and home delivery grocery service, as part of efforts to keep up with rivals in the shift to digital services.The retailer has launched its e-commerce operation to customers within a four kilometre radius of the Co-op store on King’s Road, who will receive goods delivery within two hours, thanks to a new e-bike and digital delivery slot system.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill boss Philip Day has unconditionally acquired Bonmarché for £5.7 million. The women’s fashion retailer revealed expected losses of between £5million and £6 million for the year ending 31 March, following an update in November which showed in-store like-for-likes down four per cent as the brand was hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.
The nominees for this year’s Retail Systems Awards have been announced, with both established High Street names and technology startups vying for victory. Among those challenging for the coveted Retailer of the Year category are Iceland, IKEA, Marks & Spencer, Shop Direct, Waitrose & Partners and Quiz – several of which are also in the running for the Retail Partnership of the Year prize.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is reportedly eyeing moves to offer consumer credit options to its customers.According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, Ashley, whose Sports Direct Group is currently battling to take control of struggling retailer Debenhams, is said to want to emulate Next, which has 2.5 million customers signed up to its credit arm.
By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) online and in-store, according to Gartner. The consultancy’s Unified Retail Survey - conducted online with 97 retail business decision-makers in Europe, the US, Canada and China - indicated that by next year, 46 per cent of retailers plan to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements.
Business Rates are set to rise once again, to 50.4p in the pound, meaning retailers will now shoulder an additional £200 million of taxes, and causing the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to call for an end to this High Street burden. In a submission made to the Treasury Select Committee today, the BRC set out a framework to fix the business tax system under the principles of Relief, Review and Reform.
A vulnerability in the Magento e-commerce platform is putting as many as 300,000 retail websites at risk of card-skimming until they install a recently-released patch. The bug, named PRODSECBUG-2198, is a SQL injection vulnerability that attackers can exploit with no authentication required. Hackers could exploit the flaw to take control of administrator accounts, assuming they can download user names and passwords, installing backdoors or skimming code.
H&M has reported a 10 per cent increase in group net sales and a smaller than expected decline in pre-tax profits for the first quarter, as it reaps the rewards of an omnichannel transformation plan. The Swedish fashion retailer reported that pre-tax profit was down to SEK 1.04 billion (£85 million) in the three months to March, from SEK 1.26 billion for (£104 billion) the same period last year.
Global Freight Solutions (GFS) has launched a tool to help e-commerce brands navigate Brexit trade barriers. As the Brexit deadline is extended, the enterprise carrier management firm pointed out that UK retailers should still prepare for a hard Brexit. GFS’ new Duties & Taxes Calculator claims to bring clarity to international online delivery tariffs for consumers by estimating the full landed cost of delivery anywhere in the world.
T-Mobile is “putting Square and Clover on notice” with the launch of its GoPoint mobile point of sale (mPoS) solution, offering free same-day funding and no software licensing fees. The telecoms provider is also promising merchants 24/7 live technical support from a real person and the Business Marketplace suite of mobile device management and productivity software.
Debenhams has announced that bondholders have given it the green light to forge ahead with a £200 million financial restructuring plan which could lead to shareholder value being wiped out.In a statement to the stock exchange this morning, the department store said that the consent level had been achieved from bondholders to make amendments to loan notes due in 2021.
More consumers trust shopping recommendations from brands than online influencers, according to new research from InternetRetailingExpo (IRX). The omnichannel retail event commissioned Censuswide to survey 1,001 UK adults during February, finding that 45 per cent trust recommendations offered directly from a brand - online and in-store advertising, shop assistants, in-store displays - compared 29 per cent who trust online influencers like Instagrammers, YouTubers and fashion bloggers for recommendations.
Arcadia Group has reportedly drawn up a list of almost 70 stores that could be set for closure or reassignment, as part of a move towards renegotiating leases with landlords.The Financial Times reported that the list of stores earmarked for potential closure or reassignment in the UK and Ireland includes shops from across the group’s High Street fashion brands, including Topshop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Wallis.
Major retailers are making moves into the blockchain, as new research suggests that annual revenues from blockchain retail asset tracking will rise to $4.5 billion by 2023. French luxury brand group LVMH, owner of Louis Vuitton amongst others, is working with ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure to develop a blockchain platform to prove the authenticity of expensive goods.
Retail sales volumes fell in the year to March, compounding a subdued start to 2019, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Its survey of 105 firms, of which 50 were retailers, showed retail sales volumes fell by 18 per cent, the fastest contraction in 17 months and marking a four-month run in which sales have not grown.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is weighing up a £61.4 million all-cash bid to takeover struggling department store chain Debenhams. In a statement announcing the plan yesterday, Sports Direct, which owns 30 per cent of Debenhams shares, said the offer of 5 pence per share for the stock it does not already own would be conditional on Debenhams “immediately” appointing Mike Ashley as chief executive.
McDonald’s Corporation is set to acquire decision logic technology company Dynamic Yield. The fast food chain will utilise this decision technology to provide an even more personalised customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.
Payments startup Wi5 has raised £8 million in a seed round to drive growth of its platform. The investment was led by West Hill Capital. The London-based FinTech, which counts telecoms provider Telefonica amongst its backers, said it would use the money to expand its mobile engagement platform, which allows customers to place orders and payments on-site without the need to download an app.
E-commerce fashion platform Boohoo has acquired online fashion brand MissPap for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives Boohoo rights to the pureplay retailer’s brand and intellectual property rights. It has grown a young customer bases through a strong social media profile, underpinned by one million Instagram followers.
Moss Bros has recorded its first annual loss since 2001 amid “volatile” trading conditions, balanced by a 19.6 per cent growth in e-commerce sales, which now represent 14.5 per cent of total sales at the group.The men’s fashion retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £4.2 million for the 52 weeks to 26 January, compared to £6.7 million profit in 2017-2018.
After year filled with headlines about high-profile brands facing challenges on the UK High Street, Dun & Bradstreet has revealed that retail business failures in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose by 8.9 per cent year-on-year. Between October to December, the data consultancy recorded 4,993 business failures – demonstrating a significant rise in the number of failures in the UK overall.
New research has tracked a notable decline in shopper satisfaction with online delivery, after several years of it remaining stable. The 10th edition of IMRG’s Consumer Delivery Review 2018, an annual survey asking 2,000 UK shoppers 50 questions, has shown that overall satisfaction with online delivery fell from 85 per cent to 78 per cent between 2017 and 2018.
E-commerce is set to account for 24 per cent of card spending by 2023, according to new research from RBR. The payments and cards consultancy forecasted that e-commerce expenditure will increase to $11 trillion in 2023, more than double the $4.5 trillion in 2017, up 13 per cent since 2016. In 2017, 18 per cent of card expenditure was down to e-commerce.
Although the rapid growth of e-commerce has significantly reduced High Street footfall, new research has revealed that three quarters of customers would still prefer to make a purchase in a store, with 82 per cent saying they prefer to receive the product as soon as they’ve purchased it. The survey of 1,056 UK adults carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals found that 94 per cent of shoppers stated they always research a product online before going into store to purchase, while 78 per cent prefer to go in store to see and feel a product before going online to shop around for the best price.
More than three quarters (80 per cent) of consumers now consider post-purchase and delivery experience to fundamental to their desire to buy again from the same retailer, according to a study which found that customers feel ‘catfished’ if they are passed from one company to another. Customer loyalty firm Narvar’s survey of 2,000 UK consumers suggested that online shoppers increasingly expect to receive delivery updates directly from the brand they have bought from, rather than a third-party delivery company – an experience that has been likened to the online dating phenomena of catfishing, in which a false image is used to lure in a potential mate.
Shares in Debenhams have slumped by more than 50 per cent following reports that the struggling High Street retailer is seeking a £200 million financial lifeline to fend off Mike Ashley’s efforts to seize control of the business. Ashley’s company Sports Direct owns 30 per cent of shares in Debenhams, making it the biggest shareholder.
The board of New Look Retail Group has appointed Nigel Oddy as chief operating officer, effective 1 April. He was formerly chief executive of The Range, and prior to that, spent over 10 years at House of Fraser, as chief executive from 2015 to 2017 and chief operating officer from 2010 to 2014.
John Lewis remained top of Forrester’s UK Customer Experience Index rankings for multichannel retailers for a fourth consecutive year, despite seeing profits tumble in the last financial year. Based on a survey of 9,033 UK adult customers, the index measures how successfully a company delivers customer experiences (CX) that create and sustain loyalty. It achieves this by benchmarking CX quality at 36 UK brands, including 14 multichannel retailers and four digital retailers.
Worldpay is teaming up with Amazon Pay, making it the first acquirer to enable the e-commerce giant’s payment services for merchants.The agreement, which is launching initially in the US, will enable Worldpay merchants to accept payments through Amazon Pay using information already stored in a customer’s Amazon account to make purchases online.
Online sales as a proportion of all retailing fell to 17.6 per cent in February from the 18.8 per cent in January 2019 – although this was a year-on-year increase of 9.4 per cent when compared with February 2018. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that in the three months to February 2019, the quantity bought across the UK increased by 0.7 per cent when compared with the previous three months, with strong growth in non-store retailing and fuel.
Online sales at Next soared 14.8 per cent in 2018, heading off a “challenging” year for the High Street retailer, which saw full price retail sales slide by 7.3 per cent.The fashion and homeware retailer saw group sales across all areas down 0.4 per cent in the 12 months to January 2019 to £4.2 billion, broadly in line with guidance issued by the company at the start of the year.
The Retail Revival partnership between eBay and the City of Wolverhampton has delivered more than £2 million in sales in its first six months. The 64 retailers taking part have experienced an average growth of 36 per cent in year-on-year revenue since joining the scheme last September.
The total cost of crime and crime prevention for retailers was £1.9 billion last year, up 12 per cent from £1.7 billion the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Its annual survey revealed that this was made up of £900 million direct cost from retail crime and £1 billion spent in efforts to prevent crime.
German software provider Commercetools is expanding into the UK market with a new office and team located in London. Led by Steven Fockema Andreae, head of sales Western Europe, the company is targeting UK retailers looking to replace legacy e-commerce platforms with cloud-based alternatives.
B&Q owner Kingfisher has announced that its chief executive Veronique Laury is to step down following 53 per cent fall in profits. The group said she would remain in her role until a successor could be found to lead the final two years of a five year turnaround plan for the business.
February’s unexpectedly warm weather inspired a revival in online retail sales last month, as the industry recorded its strongest growth - up 9.4 per cent year-on-year - in six months, according to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. Despite falling below the five-year average of 10.6 per cent year-on-year for February, the growth provided some relief for online retailers after recent struggles.
A new report from Forrester has warned that department stores risk being a thing of the past if they do not embrace the future. The consultancy firm argued that while such retail outlets used to be showcases for brands, now brands can sell directly to consumers now and have less need for showcases that don’t materially enhance the customer’s experience.
Instagram has introduced a new feature which allows users to buy items without leaving the app. When people tap to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, they will see the Checkout on Instagram button on the product page. This lets them select from various options, such as size or colour, and proceed to payment.
Tourists from the Asia Pacific region gave a much-needed boost to European retailers in the first quarter of 2019, according to data from Planet. The payments firm found that Europe’s shopper market made a slow recovery in the last quarter, with consumers from China and Vietnam leading the field.
Ocado has reported an 11.2 per cent rise in revenues, despite a blaze at its Andover warehouse which took its toll on sales. First quarter results for the online grocery delivery company showed that revenue rose to £404 million.
Sales at online fashion retailer ASOS were up by 13 per cent in the three months to the end of February.The latest quarterly report showed total revenue had risen to £658.5 million in the three months to 28 February, with total retail sales across markets also up 13 per cent at £641.3 million.
The government’s Industrial Strategy must honour its ‘open door’ offer to industry and do more to engage with sectors such as retail, which risk being left behind, according to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee. A new report has criticised the government’s development of its Industrial Strategy through sector deals, stating that a focus on hi-tech sectors such as offshore wind has ignored productivity boosts for retail and hospitality.
The Co-op has developed fog cannons to help catch criminals in their tracks as part of a multi-million pound programme of investment in innovative retail technology. The grocery chain said that the forensic fog cannon system, designed by SmartWater and security fog specialists Protect, would initially be rolled out in food stores in South Wales, Greater Manchester and London as part of a ‘forensic first’ for a UK retailer.
Only a third of retail decision-makers believe a physical location will be a key method of customer access in 2022, outweighed by chatbots (51 per cent), voice (48 per cent) and augmented reality (32 per cent). This is according to a survey of 279 senior retail staff in November by independent tech leader community Nimbus Ninety, which also revealed that 70 per cent are expecting to see their digital budget increase this year, up from 67 per cent last year and 54 per cent the year before.
Women’s fashion retailer Pimkie has chosen OneStock to upgrade its omnichannel logistics operations across Europe.The firm, headquartered in France, said the adoption of artificial intelligence-driven stock unification platforms from OneStock would open up its entire inventory to customers across Europe to create a more seamless shopping experience.
JD Sports has agreed to buy Footasylum in a £90 million deal.The takeover of the High Street footwear retailer comes after the sportswear chain bought an eight per cent stake in the company, sparking speculation that it would seek to acquire the company outright.
Retail billionaire Philip Green is reportedly mulling plans to restructure Arcadia group’s finances through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).Sky News reported this morning that Green could put forward plans for the restructuring plan for his Arcadia empire - which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins as Miss Selfridge - as soon as next month.
Zara owner Inditex has defied the gloom in global retail by posting an increase in revenue and profits across its group of brands, driven by a 27 per cent rise in online sales to €3.2bn for the year.The annual results for Inditex, which also owns High Street fashion brands Massimo Dutti Stradivarius and Bershka, posted a three per cent rise in sales to €26.1bn in 2018, with underlying net profits up 2 per cent at €3.4bn, coming in slightly below analyst expectations.
DFS more than doubled its pre-tax profit to £14.1 million during the 22 weeks to 30 December.The furniture retailer stated that all of its brands achieved like-for-like revenue growth in the period, leading to overall growth of 6.6 per cent. Online revenue rose by 22.6 per cent.
Clothing retailer Superdry has rejected a plan put forward by co-founder Julian Dunkerton to turn around the company’s fortunes. Dunkerton, who stepped down from the board last year has been locked in a power struggle to return to the company he started as a market stall business in 1985, and later went on to co-found as a clothing chain in 2003.
Three quarters of shoppers (75 per cent) say easy returns are an essential factor in their choice of retailer, according to research from Klarna. A survey of over 2,000 consumers by pay-later service, also found that 84 per cent of shoppers would refuse to come back to a brand if they have a poor returns experience.
Debenhams is “carefully” considering a £150 million loan offer from Sports Direct in a deal that would install Mike Ashley as chief executive of the struggling department store chain. Last night Ashley’s company Sports Direct offered the retailer a financial lifeline in exchange for appointing him chief executive and director by the end of the month, in the latest episode of the retail tycoon's bid to seize control of the High Street retailer.
Argos has updated its IoS app with new visual search functionality, letting customers shop for homewares and furniture using images on their smart phone. Users simply take a photograph or upload a saved image of their desired item to the app, which instantly searches the entire Argos online catalogue for similar furniture, curtains or homewares. The technology does this by recognising distinctive features such as the shape, colour and style of items in the image.
Barclaycard has announced a new agreement with Alipay, which will allow retailers to accept Alipay transactions in stores across the UK. Retailers will now be able to accept in-store Alipay payments without replacing their existing point of sale systems. Building on a pilot over the past two years, the new deal will enable UK retailers to take advantage of the growing volume and buying power of Chinese visitors.
The Knowledge Academy’s analysis of a Federation of Small Businesses survey has revealed that small retailers are having to innovate to survive. The research showed that small retailers’ main reason to innovate is to achieve increased turnover and accelerate their growth prospects (48 per cent).
Hawes & Curtis has partnered with One iota to deploy its Assisted Sale iPad App across stores nationwide. The formal menswear and womenswear retailer will use the technology to give store teams a faster way to access a wider range of products and insight to convert customer enquiries into sales on the spot.
Dior has launched an augmented reality (AR) filter for its Instagram account, allowing followers to virtually try on its new DiorSoLight sunglasses range. The luxury fashion retailer’s new filter is available via the Stories section of the social media app, capitalising on updated functionality after work with creative content studio The Mill.
Like for like sales at Morrisons have jumped 4.8 per cent, according to the group’s preliminary results, marking a third successive year of profit and sales growth for the groceries retailer. Announcing an 8.6 per cent growth in underlying full-year profits in the 52 weeks to February 3, David Potts, Morrison’s chief executive, said the results showed the group’s turnaround plan was “well on track”.
Smaller retailers which have not updated their accounting software could be at risk of falling foul of the taxman.Those above the £85,000 VAT threshold need to make sure they are Making Tax Digital (MTD) compliant by 1 April, which means businesses have to digitally submit their VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs.
Pets at Home has deployed the Upland Rant & Rave Sentiment Engine and Customer First platform to increase the efficiency of its contact centre and improve overall customer experience.The pet retailer identified challenges within the contact centre, including high call wait times, call abandonment and increased customer churn rates, which directly impacted sales.
French Connection saw operating losses nearly triple in 2018, but hailed a small return to operating profit in 2018 as a win amidst a “tough” retail trading environment. The fashion retailer’s annual report showed that like-for-like sales were down 6.8 per cent, due to the challenging conditions on the UK High Street, while operating losses jumped from £3.8 million in 2017 to £9.3 million last year.
Retail spend is expected to increase by $6 trillion globally between 2018 and 2023 - taking total spend to $30 trillion - with growth driven by a combination of alternative payment mechanisms and online spend. This is according to Juniper Research, which noted that stakeholders face a host of competitive and regulatory challenges if they are to take full advantage of the opportunity.
Laybuy has become the latest entrant into the UK market for buy now, pay later services after it announced a partnership with Footasylum.The New Zealand-based payment firm is aiming to rival the likes of Klarna, as the younger generation of consumers becomes more comfortable using phased payments to spread the cost of purchases over weeks or months.
Moss Bros has appointed Contentsquare to upgrade its online testing practices. The digital experience platform claims to have already increased traffic from a key product page to checkout by 14 per cent, in addition to providing time-saving benefits. As a result, both conversion and revenue have increased - both up 13 per cent - for that product page.
Footfall in February fell by two per cent, a significant decline compared to the previous year where it fell by 0.2 per cent. This is the fifteenth month of consecutive decline and was the weakest February in five years, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures.
Mike Ashley has launched his latest assault in the battle for control of Debenhams after announcing plans to oust all but one of its board members and appoint himself in an executive role. In a filing to the stock market last night, Ashley, who owns a 30 per cent holding in the department store chain, announced that he would be prepared to relinquish the roles of chief executive and director at Sports Direct in order to take the reins at Debenhams.
Almost half (45 per cent) of UK Millennials are less loyal to retail brands than they were a year ago, according to Brightpearl. The retail operations platform surveyed 4,000 consumers and canvassed the opinions of 200 retailers in the UK and US, finding that those aged between 23 and 38 years-old are the least loyal consumers.
LK Bennett has become the latest victim of turbulence on the UK High Street after it collapsed into administration, putting nearly 500 jobs at risk.The upmarket womenswear retailer has appointed EY to oversee the process, with the loss of 55 jobs at the firm’s headquarters already announced, and hundreds more at risk across its 39 stores in the UK.
Fashion retailers in the UK are the most successful at persuading online visitors to buy - both on mobile and desktop - but UK shoppers spend less on each order than the global average, despite their orders including more items on average. Nosto analysed 1.2 billion visits to fashion e-commerce websites globally, including over 150 million visits to UK sites over the whole of 2018, finding that around 27 per cent less was spent on orders placed via mobile and 32 per cent less on desktop by UK shoppers.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced that staff bonuses will be cut to three per cent, down from five per cent, after underlying profits fell by 45 per cent, driven by a slump in sales and higher IT costs. Releasing the group’s results for the year to 26 January, chairman Charlie Mayfield said the decision to cut the flagship employee bonus by two per cent to the lowest level since 1954 came on the back on a “challenging year” for the business, particularly in its non-food sales.
Amazon is reportedly planning to close all 87 of its pop up stores in the Unites States as part of a shake up of its physical store strategy. The Wall Street Journal reported that the decision to close Amazon’s pop up store network, to focus resources on opening more book stores, would result in all closures being finalised by the end of April. A spokesman for Amazon is reported to have confirmed the news.
Voice-assisted shopping is set to become the dominant retail technology within a decade, according to a panel of experts. Speaking at a Salesforce retail industry event in London, Customer First Group founder and retail customer experience veteran Martin Newman said that increasing uptake of Amazon Alexa and Google Home voice assistants points to an inevitable growth in customers searching for and making purchases via integrated Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
New research from Mintel has revealed that almost nine in ten (86 per cent) of Brits are Amazon shoppers. More of these users have increased their shopping (21 per cent) with the e-commerce giant than decreased it (13 per cent) over the past year. Overall, most (70 per cent) Amazon customers shop with the retailer at least once a month, while just under a fifth (17 per cent) use the site on a weekly basis.
The Lego Group has appointed JJ Van Oosten as its new chief digital officer. Starting on 6 April, the former Kingfisher, Tesco, Travis Perkins and Rewe senior executive will report directly to Lego chief executive Niels Christiansen.
Use of third-party platforms like Amazon, eBay and Google has dropped amongst the UK’s top 250 retailers, according to an industry report. Visualsoft’s annual retail performance index found that just 36 per cent of retailers utilise marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay as part of their sales activity – a drop from 39 per cent in 2017.
The Access to Cash Review has published its final recommendations, calling on the government, regulators and banks to act now or risk leaving millions behind. The review concluded that digital payments don’t yet work for everyone and around eight million adults - or 17 per cent of the population - would struggle to cope in a cashless society.
A disorderly Brexit and blue-collar staff shortages will see economic output in retail sector lose out on £3.1 billion a year by 2024, according to new research. A survey of more than 1,000 decision makers from UK firms by Quinyx, a workforce management specialist, found that 45 per cent of retail businesses thought that leaving the EU would negatively impact their ability to hire stock assistants, shop and supermarket workers as well as auxiliary staff such as warehousing and cleaning assistants.
Consumers are actively looking to retailers for guidance - with 68 per cent wanting advice on affordability - but 61 per cent of retailers do not believe it is their responsibility to police consumer spending. Divido commissioned Opinium Research to survey a nationally-representative sample of 201 senior decision makers in retail in November and December, finding that 30 per cent do not consider it within their remit to provide advice to consumers on the affordability of a purchase.
Paperchase has started a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) process, with around 28 out of its 145 UK stores due to have their rent costs cut by 50 per cent for three months. These stores will ultimately either close down or continue to operate for a rent-free period.
New data from cybersecurity firm ThreatMetrix has shown a 142 per cent rise in the number of bot attacks on e-commerce merchants, with more than 2.1 billion attempts detected and stopped throughout the last six months of 2018. The report, based on data from 17 billion digital transactions processed through ThreatMetrix’s digital identity network, found that while the number of sophisticated attacks on retailers dropped during the second half of 2018, the disruptive impact of automated and high volume bot traffic was on the rise.
For the first time, shoppers spent more money through their smartphones when accessing UK retail sites than either of the other two major device types - desktop or tablet - according to quarterly data from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. In the fourth quarter last year, which covers the traditional festive retail period, the share of sales revenue spent through smartphone devices was 40.4 per cent, with desktop securing 39.7 per cent and tablet 19.9 per cent.
Barclaycard has signed a new card acceptance partnership with UnionPay International, a subsidiary of China UnionPay. The deal will enable its 110,000 UK merchants to accept UnionPay through a phased roll-out that will begin this summer.
Retail sales only increased by 0.5 per cent in February, against a rise of 1.6 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. This growth was below both the three-month and 12-month averages of 0.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Alibaba’s Tmall has stated that it expects international and domestic cosmetics brands to open 1,000 shops this year on its platform, to meet burgeoning demand from Chinese consumers. At its annual beauty summit, Tmall announced that seven international cosmetics companies - Tom Ford, Glamglow, Oriental Therapy, Cosme, d-program, Primera and Barnängen - have signed agreements to open flagship stores on the e-commerce platform this year.
Skincare company Aesop is upgrading its global point of sale (PoS) systems with Cegid. Established in Skincare company Aesop is upgrading its global point of sale (PoS) systems with Cegid.
Amazon is trialling artificial intelligence (AI) tools in an attempt to drive down counterfeits goods across its online marketplace. The e-commerce giant announced that the Project Zero programme will use a range of technological tools, including automated scanning and machine learning systems, to offer brands and traders the option to report and remove fake listings of their products.
More than 36,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) signed up to eBay’s online marketplace last year as retailers continue to follow the consumer shift towards e-commerce. New figures from eBay showed growth in SME registrations at its highest level since 2015, with 22 per cent of small business owners surveyed predicting that the majority of their growth in 2019 will come through online sales in the coming year.
FedEx is set to to catch up with rival US delivery giant Amazon with the launch of an autonomous delivery bot based on Segway-style technology.Under a pilot scheme due to go live this summer in Memphis, the FedEx SameDay Bot will enable retail partners including PizzaHut and Walmart to accept orders from nearby customers for same-day and last mile delivery services.
Hayloft Plants has rolled-out a new e-commerce platform to drive online expansion and transform customer shopping experiences across all devices. Founded in 1993, the plant retailer wanted to drive growth in web transactions and order volumes by transitioning online from call centre and mail order channels.
A new partnership agreement will see JD.com’s luxury e-commerce platform Toplife merge with Farfetch China. The deal will effectively see JD.com close down the venture - launched in 2017 - as part of a luxury goods market expansion to compete with Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion page from Chinese e-retail rival Alibaba.
While self-scan and self-pay technologies (SCO) have been shown to enhance the customer experience and offer retailers productivity savings, they may also have a negative impact on profitability and security, according to new research. Checkpoint Systems, ECR Community Shrinkage and On-Shelf Availability Group analysed data from 13 retail companies based in the US and Europe and two suppliers of SCO technologies, revealing that a greater use of SCO technologies resulted in higher rates of retail loss.
A new report has revealed that 65 per cent of retailers feel threatened by the shift to online spending. A survey of more than 600 retailers from the UK, Spain and the US by location intelligence firm Geoblink found that 72 per cent of respondents had opened their own e-commerce sites in response to the shift away from bricks and mortar retail.
Brain-computing, augmented reality (AR) and legal shoplifting are set to change the face of retail in 2019, according to Salmon, a Wunderman Commerce company. The consultancy’s latest report focused on five of the core technologies and trends that are set to affect the world of commerce and how it will look in the future.
Shop price inflation accelerated in February to 0.7 per cent, up from 0.4 per cent in January – the highest inflation rate since March 2013. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures showed food inflation inching up slightly in February to 1.6 per cent, up from 1.5 per cent in January.
Marks and Spencer Group has confirmed a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Ocado Group.
Under the JV, M&S is acquiring a 50 per cent share of Ocado’s UK retail business, which will be supported by Ocado Smart Platform, for a total consideration of up to £750 million, made up of £562.5 million on completion and up to £187.5 million, plus interest, payable after five years, conditional on reaching agreed financial and operational targets.
Marks and Spencer has confirmed reports that is in discussions with Ocado, following reports that it is planning a joint venture to expand M&S online food delivery operations. The retailer, which is currently in the midst of a £25 million digital transformation programme, announced this morning that it is “in discussions with Ocado Group plc regarding a joint venture in UK retail”.
Harrods has partnered with luxury fashion platform Farfetch, as the UK’s most famous department store embraces the shift towards online shopping. The Knightsbridge-based retailer said the strategic partnership would see Farfetch assist with the development of a global e-commerce platform.
Nearly half (47 per cent) of UK retailers believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will create more meaningful relationships with their customers, despite the fact that just one in five consumers trust companies to responsibly handle their data, according to new research. A survey of 2,047 households and 33 retail and consumer brands companies conducted by international law firm CMS and Retail Economics found that while retailers are embracing the potential of AI to transform supply chains and customer relations, consumers remain wary of the future of automated retail.
Brexit is having a damaging impact on the retail sector, according to the views of 71 per cent of UK retailers. Retail operations platform Brightpearl surveyed 112 executive-level retail decision-makers during January and February and found that 81 per cent were concerned about the impact Brexit will have on business, while 42 per cent have seen a detrimental impact on their own sales since the process to leave the EU began.
DivideBuy has secured £60 million of equity investment and debt financing led by Souter Investments, Shawbrook and Paragon Bank. The consumer credit FinTech said it would use the money to continue development of lending technology platform for its network of retail customers.
Mobile payments represented more than 27 per cent of the total social media conversation around payments, with total mentions increasing 20 per cent over the prior year. This is according to the 2019 edition of the Mastercard Digital Payments Study, which analysed more than 3.3 million conversations from the past year across several social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo.
UK taxpayers footed a £300 million bill in payouts to staff hit by a wave of insolvencies resulting from store closures across the retail sector in 2018. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request made by real estate adviser Altus found that the cost of insolvencies processed by the The Insolvency Service rose by 31 per cent last year, with payments totalling £298 million – the highest figure since 2013.
US private equity firm KKR is reportedly lining up a bid for Asda, as the Walmart-owned supermarket chain’s £12 billion merger with Sainsbury’s looks in doubt. The Sunday Times stated that KKR, which has also invested in Alliance Boots, is working with Tony De Nunzio, the former Asda boss who now advises the firm. He would become chairman if KKR does complete an acquisition, with Walmart retaining a significant minority holding.
AO World is recruiting over 50 new IT roles across its Bolton and Manchester offices over the next 12 months. In its biggest ever recruitment drive since it was founded in 2000, the online electricals store is looking for everything from software developers and user experience (UX) designers, to business analysts and commercial IT experts to support future growth.
China’s largest retailer JD.com, and e-commerce solutions provider Rakuten, have signed an agreement that will see the former’s drones and autonomous delivery robots utilised in the latter’s unmanned delivery solutions in Japan. Rakuten launched its drone delivery service in 2016, and has gained experience through trials in collaboration with corporate partners and local governments. In 2018, its first delivery was conducted using a combination of drones and autonomous delivery robots, in a step toward solving the last mile challenge for the logistics sector in Japan.
Asda has been named the worst supermarket for online grocery delivery in a Which? survey of shoppers. Online-only supermarket Ocado came out top for home delivery, according to the poll of more than 12,000 consumers, while Asda was at the bottom of online rankings, with a rating of 65 per cent, after customers complained of food substitution in their online orders.
Luxury swimwear brand Vilebrequin has upgraded its international unified commerce capabilities with a new omnichannel solution from Cegid. The retailer has a long-standing partnership with Cegid, having already integrated its network of resellers onto one platform in 2003, and latterly updating its back-office systems - from procurement to merchandising, inventory, deliveries and billing - using Yourcegid Retail.
Online retail recorded its worst January sales growth - up 7 per cent year-on-year - in three years last month, as the industry’s poor recent sales performance continued into the New Year. The latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index showed that the month provided little relief to retailers on the back of December’s all-time low sales growth, as it recorded just over half the growth figure achieved during January last year (13.9 per cent).
Retailers’ in-store customer experience (CX) is better than online, according to RetailEXPO research, with one exception; Amazon. The industry event’s organising company surveyed over 2,000 UK consumers, revealing that Tesco delivered the best in-store experience (according to 23 per cent of respondents), followed by Sainsbury’s (18 per cent) and Asda (17 per cent).
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has warned that unless this urgent action is taken, further deterioration, loss of visitors and dereliction may lead to some high streets and town centres disappearing altogether. Its report into saving the UK’s High Street by 2030 has therefore proposed a reduction in business rates for High Street retailers and a 12-month ‘holiday’ from rates increases which result from investments to improvements in property.
Retail industry bodies from the UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland have come together to issue a stark warning on how a no-deal Brexit will affect shoppers. With less than 40 days until the UK leaves the European Union, Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland and William Bain, head of EU and international at the British Retail Consortium, have shared their concerns that a no-deal Brexit will squeeze household budgets and lead to reduced availability of some goods.
The retail industry is lagging behind other sectors in several key areas of technology innovation, according to KCOM. The IT services provider surveyed business leaders and c-level decision makers from 250 organisations, finding that retailers give less priority and budget to digital transformation initiatives compared to other industries polled – like government, financial services, healthcare, transport and logistics.
Payments platform Adyen has launched a new payment service powered by Open Banking. The service is an alternative to card payments and takes advantage of the European Union’s second Payment Service Directive (PSD2) requirement for banks to create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for approved third parties to initiate payments on behalf of consumers.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally found extensive competition concerns as part of its in-depth investigation of the proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda. At this stage in its Phase 2 investigation, the regulator reported that the proposed deal could lead to a worse experience for in-store and online shoppers across the UK through higher prices, a poorer shopping experience, and reductions in the range and quality of products offered.
Hackers are turning to increasingly sophisticated methods, including formjacking, to target e-commerce websites, according to a new report.Cyber security firm Symantec collected data from its 123 million attacks sensors worldwide and found that the number of criminal groups using malware to destroy and disrupt digital businesses had risen by 25 per cent in 2018, compared to the previous year, while ransomware infections on companies’ enterprise software were up 12 per cent over the same period.
A quarter of consumers say they feel indifferent to the decline of the High Street, as new analysis showed that footfall dropped by the equivalent of three million customers. A survey of 500 consumers by commercial finance firm ABC Finance revealed that 38 per cent do most or all of their shopping online. Data from the Office for National Statistics has also suggested that £1 in every £5 is now being spent online.
Retail delivery company Hermes is set to open a new office in the centre of Leeds and is looking to recruit 50 new permanent technology specialists, including senior developers and user experience experts. The new 6,500 square foot Tech Hub is located at No.1 Whitehall Riverside, in the heart of Leeds’ growing technology district.
MPs have called for a 1p levy on every item of clothing sold in order to combat waste resulting from the ‘fast fashion’ industry.A report by parliament’s environmental audit committee (EAC) said the tax was needed to raise £35 million to invest in improved recycling methods.
Triumph has adopted software, services and point of sale (PoS) technology from Diebold Nixdorf. The lingerie retailer will standardise its IT processes in the company's 750 stores in 23 countries with the PoS solutions. Triumph has already installed systems in approximately 160 stores in four European markets, and is planning to install 850 BEETLE iPOS plus checkout systems and the DN Vynamic Retail Software Suite by 2020.
Lloyds Banking Group, in partnership with Visa, has announced a new pilot scheme which will see local retailers paid to offer cashback to customers in their stores. Currently, business owners do not receive a fee when providing cashback to their customers. The new fee will offer more support to retailers and increase the number of places where people can withdraw their money.
Following a competitive pitch day for its JLAB retail innovation programme, The John Lewis Partnership has announced the six businesses it will continue discussions with to develop their ideas. Over 160 new startups and more established businesses entered the experiential retail challenge, with 11 invited to pitch to a panel of judges and partners at John Lewis in Southampton.
Chinese tourists spent more in-store and on mobile during trips abroad to mark Chinese New Year than ever before, according to the latest figures from Alipay. The payments arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba analysed the data for spending during the 4 - 10 February holiday period in some of the 54 markets where Alipay is accepted as a form of payment.
Shares in Footasylum have soared after sportswear giant JD Sports bought a 8.3 per cent stake in the company, with a potential to increase its holding to 29.9 per cent. JD Sports said the purchase of equity in rival sports retailer Footasylum was made for “investment purposes” and that it was not intending to make an offer to acquire the company.
Retail property organisation Revo has launched a new competition to find budding entrepreneurs in the sector, with winners given free shopping centre space and help with marketing their concept. HATCH by Revo is backed by Landsec, Hammerson, Westfield, M&G Real Estate, Harcourt and Ellandi. Together with the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), they will run a Dragon’s Den-style competition, with no restrictions on what type of businesses can enter.
Barclaycard has updated its Pay by Bank app so merchants can now accept mobile payments. The new payment method, created in partnership with Mastercard’s Vocalink business, is also set to be rolled-out in 2020 to over six million consumers.
Department stores were the only retailers to show a decrease in both the quantity bought and the amount spent last month - at negative 0.6 per cent for both measures - according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Textile, clothing and footwear stores showed strong growth at 5.5 per cent in the quantity bought, as stores took advantage of the January sales, with a price fall of 0.9 per cent.
Amazon has reportedly obtained retail space in London, with a view to rolling out its cashierless Amazon Go stores to the UK. According to industry magazine the Grocer, the e-commerce giant has put down a marker on units in the capital, but is has not been confirmed how many sites have been secured or the location.
Accenture, Qualcomm Technologies and Kellogg Company have collaborated to develop and pilot a solution that embeds eye tracking technology in a mobile virtual reality (VR) headset to reinvent how retailers gather consumer data. The Accenture Extended Reality (XR) practice developed the VR merchandising solution utilising a Qualcomm VR reference design headset.
Shop Direct has appointed former Sky Betting and Gaming chief technology officer Andy Burton to its executive board in the role of group chief technology officer. He will join the business in May and report to group chief executive Henry Birch.
Amazon’s dominance of the UK’s e-commerce market could be vulnerable to the gradual growth of smaller online rivals such as Argos, according to a new report. Data gathered by analytics and marketing firm Jumpshot on consumer interactions via mobile and desktop within 500 e-commerce sites, found that Amazon saw year-on-year growth of two per cent last year, compared to the wider e-commerce market as a whole, which saw transaction up 15 per cent over the same period.
Just under half (43 per cent) of shoppers researching complex purchases such as mobile phones, laptops or broadband packages make a buying decision within five days, according to Conversity research. In this time, 67 per cent of shoppers will visit at least two online sites, with 57 per cent then narrowing their enquiries to one or two in-store premises.
Nearly half of UK consumers who use retailers’ apps do so to get notifications about promotions, according to new analysis. GlobalData’s research suggested this is good news for retailers, which should ensure their apps include this functionality to promote discounted products and encourage browsing.
Customers at 250 of the UK’s top retailers are increasingly turning to foreign currency to pay for their items, with a 19 per cent increase in the number of brands offering the option of payment in currencies including Euros, US dollar and Yen. Analysis of currency options carried out by e-commerce and digital agency Visualsoft, also found an increase in the use of digital payment tools such as digital wallets and in-app products, as shoppers increasingly shop online.
Fast fashion retailer Quiz has chosen Amplience to boost its mobile shopping offering. The Glasgow-based e-commerce player will use Amplience’s automated content management solutions (CMS) to accelerate the growth of its online shopping business, which last year accounted for 30 per cent of total sales.
IKEA is considering launching an online sales platform which will offer third party furniture alongside its own. Torbjorn Loof, the chief executive of parent company Inter IKEA, told the Financial Times that proposals for a test site to rival the likes of Amazon or Alibaba are being worked on.
Payments provider SumUp has acquired e-commerce platform Shoplo as part of a strategy to expand its technology platform to merchants using online marketplaces including Facebook, eBay and Etsy.SumUp is a London-based FinTech that aims to allow small businesses to receive payments in a cost-effective way.
British furniture and homeware retailer Heal’s has improved online conversions and reduced cart abandonment with a solution from BounceX. The behavioural marketing technology provider helped the brand identify online customers, determine where they were on their sales journey and find ways to move them along the path to purchase.
Debenhams has agreed a £40 million financial lifeline after it agreed a strategy with lenders to turn around its ailing department store business.The retailer said the facility agreement would “act as a bridge to facilitate a broader refinancing and recapitalisation” as the company battles to shore up its finances following a pre-tax loss of nearly £500m last year and three profit warnings.
Nuro, an autonomous delivery vehicle firm has secured $940 million from Softbank’s Vision Fund in a funding round that values the company at $2.7 billion. The $100 billion megafund is betting on the Silicon-valley based firm as Nuro races ahead of the pack in developing compact local delivery robots for short, unmanned journeys.
Marks and Spencer is to participate in the development of an autonomous supply chain network, after its lead technology partners announced they would work together to accelerate research into human-machine collaboration. The High Street retailer announced its involvement with the technology being developed jointly by Tata Consultancy Services and JDA Software - both technology partners leading the retailer’s £25 million digital transformation programme.
New research has revealed that 18,722 people working for chains on Britain’s High have either been made redundant or have had their jobs threatened since Christmas Day Streets – the equivalent of 400 a day. A total of 14,377 jobs have been lost whilst a further 4,345 remain at risk, according to analysis by property adviser Altus Group.
One in every ten High Street shops is now empty, as footfall at shopping centres continues to dwindle, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard. The shift to online shopping and rising business rates have contributed to a 9.9 per cent rise in the town centre vacancy rate in January, with the sharpest rise seen in Northern Ireland (14 per cent) and the north of England (13.2 per cent).
More than 60 per cent of UK shoppers fear the High Street may disappear entirely as consumers shift to online shopping.A study of 1,000 shoppers conducted by KIS Finance and retail analysts at Estate Gazette found that Leeds and Glasgow were the cities worst hit by tough trading conditions.
New research from CCgroup has revealed that social media has the least influence on technology purchasing decisions of all the possibilities. The tech PR agency commissioned Sapio Research to interview senior decision-makers responsible for tech buying at over 30 tier one - turnover over £500 million - and tier two - turnover between £30-500 million - retailers.
Online retail visits were up 1.8 per cent in January on a year-on-year basis. according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), putting a spring back in the step of e-commerce players hit by a 0.6 per cent decline in traffic in the run up to Christmas.The latest BRC and Hitwise digital retail figures showed that the turnaround from a sluggish December for online retailers resulted in a total of 3.1 billion visits, with a combined 29.3 billion page views. A total of 56 per cent of all online visit were made on mobile.
Superdry has reported a 1.5 per cent drop in Christmas sales, driven by overall declines of 0.7 per cent in online sales and an 8.5 per cent in-store, due in part to unusually warm winter weather. Despite a 12.7 per cent rise in wholesales sales to £73.5 million, the clothing brand said that analysts expect full-year pre-tax profits to come in at £58.4 million, down from the £97 million figure for 2017-2018.
Athleisure brand Gymshark has partnered with Klarna’s payment technology to enable customers in the UK and Nordic countries to pay later for their orders. The partnership will enable customers to check out using Klarna with 30 days to pay for their goods after they have been delivered, with no interest or fees.
Retail planning solutions provider RELEX Solutions has announced a $200 million minority investment in the company from growth-stage tech investor TCV. RELEX stated that it will use the funding to continue to fuel growth, with the three founders, Mikko Kärkkäinen, Johanna Småros and Michael Falck staying in their senior management roles, remaining significant shareholders.
The UK Click and Collect market is set to rise 45.8 per cent over the next five years, to reach £9.8 billion by 2023, but growth will slow as the fulfilment method matures and services offered by retailers are optimised, according to GlobalData. Using data from its 2018 survey of 10,000 online shoppers, the data analysis company revealed that the clothing and footwear sector is by far the largest within the Click and Collect channel, accounting for 59.9 per cent of spend in 2018.
Shares in Ocado slumped by more than six per cent after a fire tore through one of its robotic distribution centres in Andover, prompting the firm to warn it could lead to weaker sales. The blaze, which began in the early hours of Tuesday morning, continued to burn into Wednesday and was declared a major incident when firefighters imposed an exclusion zone amid fears of a toxic gas leak or explosion.
Payment linked loyalty firm Bink has closed a £10 million funding round led by Barclays, which will take a minority stake in the firm. The Ascot-based startup will use the funding to bring its platform to a broader group of retailers and consumers across the globe.
Nordea Finance will license Divido’s white-label platform to deliver point-of-purchase finance to retail merchants. The Nordic bank will leverage the technology under its own brand and immediately roll-out the platform across key markets, beginning in Norway, followed by Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Amazon is weighing up the option of delivering packages to their customers on public transport.The e-commerce giant has published a patent for mobile delivery locations which would see packages collected on “vehicles the user takes every day travelling from the office to the home”, such as a bus.
The devices consumers are using for online shopping are changing, with GlobalData research forecasting that mobile spend will rise 88.3 per cent to 2023. Survey data of 10,000 UK online shoppers in October 2018 revealed that 61.4 per cent of consumers preferred to use retailers' apps, as opposed to mobile-optimised websites.
Made.com has reported record results for 2018, with total revenue rising 37 per cent year-on-year to £173 million, driven by its mix of digital channels and in-store experiences. Revenue in the UK hit £100 million for the first time, up by just over a third year-on-year to account for 58 per cent of the furniture retailer’s turnover.
Liberty London is working with Amplience to improve the look, responsiveness and feel of its website on all devices, aiming for increased customer engagement and workflow efficiency as a result. The luxury department store stated that it recognised that enhancing its online offering to keep pace in a competitive environment was essential to maintaining growth and market share.
Payments technology firm SafeCharge has launched Identity Manager, an automated digital identity validation solution. With identity verification being one of the thorniest challenges for modern online businesses, the product aims to streamline complex background checks in a fast and cost-effective manner.
Ocado has reported widening losses in full-year earnings for 2018 as it invests in further partnership deals, while revenue rose 12.3 per cent to £1.6 billion.The online supermarket and delivery business has seen its share price double in the past year after it signed four partnership deals with major overseas grocery brands.
HMV has been rescued from administration for the second time in six years after Canadian record store entrepreneur Doug Putman stepped in to outbid Mike Ashley’s offer to buy the business. Putman’s Sunrise Records swooped in with a last-minute offer to buy the collapsed music retailer yesterday in a move that will save 100 stores but close 27 due to high rents, resulting in 455 redundancies.
UK retail sales increased on a total basis by 2.2 per cent in January, against an increase of 1.4 per cent in January 2018, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG statistics. This was the highest growth since June and above both the three-month and 12-month averages of 0.8 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Marks and Spencer’s is trialling in-store portable mobile phone charging, after selecting battery charging startup ChargedUp as the first startup in its retail technology accelerator programme. The High Street stalwart will roll out ChargedUp’s battery pack vending machines in eight stores in London, including White City, Bankside, Finsbury Pavement, Fenchurch Street and Paddington.
Two thirds of retailers believe that customers expect them to be more innovative in the way they provide their products, while over half (56 per cent) are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) to help them address this desire for innovation. This is according to research commissioned by Fujitsu and carried out by Censuswide among 1,936 c-suite decision makers across a variety of sectors and in 16 countries.
Debenhams could reportedly bring forward the closure of 20 stores as part of a potential company voluntary arrangement (CVA) aimed at restructuring its struggling department store business.The High Street retailer is also reportedly in discussions with lenders to increase its borrowings in advance of a quarterly rent payment which is due on 25 March, amid reports that it is weighing up a CVA with administrators KPMG.
New research shows that UK small businesses are continuing to lose sales by not offering websites that adapt for easy use on smartphones. PayPal’s annual mobile commerce research revealed that while 42 per cent of people are buying via their mobile phone at least once a week - rising to 65 per cent for consumers aged 25 to 34 - just 17 per cent offer websites designed for these small portable screens – showing no improvement from last year.
Amazon has posted record revenue and profit for both its festive quarter and full-year, although the e-commerce giant’s shares fell after it forecast lower-than-expected sales for the current quarter. For the three months ending 31 December 31, Amazon stated that operating profits rose 80 per cent year-on-year from $2.1 billion to $3.8 billion.
The Treasury Committee has launched a new inquiry into Business Rates to scrutinise how government policy has impacted business. The committee will examine how the tax policy has changed, including Business Rates retention, alternatives to property-based taxes - such as the proposed digital services tax - and how changes to rates could impact businesses.
H&M has hired Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica scandal whistleblower, as the fashion giant expands its data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. In a response to emailed questions an H&M spokeswoman said the retailer had signed a consultancy contract with Wylie to help them gain better insights into what customers want and ensure their data analytics and AI use is “sustainable and ethical”.
The demise of retailers including Toys R Us and Maplin has driven sales away from retail parks, where non-food sales declined by 1.1 per cent in 2018 – the worst performance over the past five years. This is according to market analysis from GlobalData, which suggested that despite a challenging 2018, retail parks will experience decent growth over the next five years, with spend rising £4.1 billion to reach £52.8 billion by 2023.
Following a successful pilot, John Lewis & Partners has rolled out Qubist’s employee advocacy technology across its 51 stores nationwide. Qubist’s app will close the gap between the online and in-store experience for customers through a social marketing program to engage some of its 26,000 employees, or partners. The app empowers partners to share content, increasing brand engagement and awareness to drive sales and growth.
Global internet and social media use is propelling e-commerce, with more than 2.8 billion people purchasing consumer goods online in the past year, up 3.1 per cent year-on-year. This is according to the latest annual analysis from social media management firm Hootsuite and socially-led creative agency We Are Social, which also revealed that three quarters of internet users bought something online in the past month, the majority from mobile devices.
Marks and Spencer has appointed a former online boss at Tesco as its new head of food online, as the business forges ahead with its digital transformation plans. Samantha Hornsby joined M&S at the beginning of January after nine years at Tesco, where she was most recently head of online range and development. Her previous roles at Tesco included head of platform development for F&F Online and head of online strategy and propositions.
SWIFT has announced a proof of concept (PoC) to trial gpi Link, a gateway to interlink e-commerce and trading platforms, with cross-border payment infrastructure SWIFT gpi. The plan is to connect gpi members to multiple trade platforms, enabling payment initiation, end-to-end payment tracking, payer authentication and credit confirmation.
Following a successful pilot in the north west of England, where 1.4 million pages of local high street offers and events were viewed, a national version of the OFFiGO digital platform has now gone live. It is aiming to increase spend and footfall in the retail and hospitality sector by bringing the High Street online and enabling customers to find local deals.
Leeds-based fashion brand Joe Browns has appointed enterprise e-commerce solutions provider Maginus to help scale its online business, enhance customer experience and expand internationally. Using the Magento 2 e-commerce technology, the retailer will be able to react more quickly to customer needs and deliver a unified user experience from purchase through to delivery. Maginus will integrate the platform with Joe Browns’ back office systems so that the brand has full control across its website, logistics and operations and call centre.
A global ransomware attack affecting more than 600,000 businesses would hit the retail sector hardest and inflict damage worth $25 billion, according to a report which studied a hypothetical cyberattack as part of a risk management model. The report, compiled by a group of leading insurance and risk modelling institutions, including Lloyds of London, Aon and the University of Cambridge, tested the potential impact of a ransomware attack in which malware is sent to a business via an infected phishing email, which is opened by one employee and from there automatically forwarded to all contacts.
Shop price inflation nudged up in January to 0.4 per cent, from 0.3 per cent in December, the fourth consecutive month of price increases and the highest inflation rate since April 2013. Non-food deflation continued to decelerate, with prices falling by 0.3 per cent in January, compared to the 0.4 per cent decline in December – the lowest rate of deflation since March 2013.
The window of opportunity in the US for mobile payment providers like Apple Pay and Google Pay is closing fast, according to new research. Despite high levels of support from retailers, only 14 per cent of US respondents to a Juniper Research survey currently use mobile payments for in-store purchases. The research covered over 1,000 smartphone users across the US and the UK.
Half of all non-food shopping will be done online within the next 10 years, leading to vast overcapacity of retail space, as retailers pivot their business models to digital retail, according to a new report. The study of 2,000 consumers by Natwest and Retail Economics pointed towards an increasingly challenging environment for retailers as consumer confidence slumps, with 41 per cent of shoppers expecting their personal finances to weaken in 2019, linked in part to political uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
China is among more than 70 countries set to open negotiations on a global rule book for e-commerce. Asia’s leading economy is reported to have signalled its provisional support for a plan launched by 76 World Trade Organisation (WTO) member states - including the US, the European Union and Japan - to start negotiating a new framework for online trade in goods and services, according to Reuters.
Grocery delivery firm Ocado is reportedly in talks with Marks & Spencer about a potential deal which could signal the end for Ocado’s longstanding partnership with Waitrose. According to a report in the Mail on Sunday, the talks with M&S-which has yet to set up a dedicated online grocery delivery operation- could involve the purchase of Ocado’s automated distribution centres, delivery vans and lorries.
Following reports yesterday that Tesco was planning to make 15,000 redundancies as part of its chief executive’s promise to cut costs by £1.5 billion by 2020, the supermarket chain has responded. According to The Mail on Sunday, Dave Lewis’ plans target the supermarket chain’s 732 largest stores, specifically those staff employed as butchers, fishmongers, bakers and at cheese stands and delicatessens.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has developed new smartphone technology to help blind and partially sighted shoppers. The Smart Touch technology, due to launch later in 2019, includes a thin silicone film on top of a user’s screen featuring multiple textured touchscreen brail buttons that users can feel along the edge of the screen, representing common commands such as ‘confirm’ and ‘return to homepage.’
Plans to examine an online sales tax to help struggling High Street retailers have been reportedly been ruled out by the Treasury.In a letter to Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee, seen by the Times newspaper, Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, warned there was a “high risk” that any tax on e-commerce sales would fall foul of EU rules on state aid.
Amazon has begun trials of an autonomous delivery robot called Scout.The blue, six-wheeled bot which is “about the size of a small cooler” will be trialled in neighbourhoods in Snohomish County close to the e-commerce giant’s Seattle headquarters.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its final terms of reference for a market review into the supply of card-acquiring services. The review follows concerns that the market may not be working well for merchants and therefore consumers. The regulator published draft terms for this market review in July 2018, with the final terms of reference taking into account feedback the received during the consultation period, which ended in September.
Retailers counted 70,000 fewer people in employment at the end of 2018 than the same period in 2019, as the shift to online shopping puts increasing pressure on High Street retailers, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).The data shows that the number of employees in the retail sector fell 2.2 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the in the final three months of last year. The total number of hours worked by frontline retail staff fell by 2.8 per cent.
L’Occitane has partnered with last-mile delivery firm On the Dot to support the launch of a same-day delivery service.The ‘ship from store’ service will be rolled out to 86 stores across the UK following a successful trial in London stores.
Men’s online fashion retailer Woodhouse Clothing has reported a 44 per cent increase in customers making purchases after browsing its site, following the introduction of artificial intelligence-based personalisation. The new technology from Nosto, which works across both mobile and desktop, has also boosted the retailer’s average order value by seven per cent.
Net-a-porter and Mr Porter have launched a seven day try-before-you-buy service. The Style Trial Service has been made available on an invitation-only basis to the sites’ most loyal and top-spending customers known as “Extremely Important People” (EIPs).
Automated payments hit a record high in 2018, with 6.4 billion transactions processed at a total value of £5 million, according to Pay.UK.The retail payments authority, which is in charge of Bacs Payment Schemes and Faster Payments, stated that in August 2018 alone 580 million payments were processed, surpassing the previous high of 573 million set in December 2015.
La Redoute has increased customer interactions by more than 74 per cent and decreased cost-per-click by 23 per cent after using the Socialbakers platform to optimise social investment. The French online fashion and home furnishing retailer used the artificial intelligence-powered social media platform to increase purchase intent by giving insights to better understand the content that resonates with its audience.
Growth in online retail sales slowed to an all-time low in December, up just 3.6 per cent on the previous year, pointing to a drop in consumer confidence during the crucial Christmas trading period.The latest figures from Capgemini and IMRG’s e-retail index revealed that on an overall basis, online retail sales were up 11.8 per cent on 2017, bolstered by events like the Royal Wedding and the World Cup, beating a start of the year forecast of nine per cent growth for the full 12 months.
Rituals Cosmetics has selected Logility Voyager Solutions for its sales and operations planning process, improving service levels and enhancing visibility across omnichannel operations. The European home and body cosmetics brand, which now has more than 730 stores worldwide, previously conducted monthly forecasting with a combination of disconnected tools and spreadsheets.
Fraud attempts on retailers using Click and Collect transactions rose 13 per cent in the run up to Christmas, as criminals target alternative payment options.Data analysis of millions of merchants carried out on behalf of payments solution provider ACI Worldwide revealed that criminals are increasingly turning to Click and Collect transactions due to added difficulty in carrying out so-called ‘card present’ fraud on chip-and-pin cards.
The European Commission (EC) has fined Mastercard €570 million for limiting the possibility for merchants to benefit from better conditions offered by banks established elsewhere in the Single Market, in breach of EU antitrust rules. Mastercard is the second largest card scheme in the European Economic Area (EEA) in terms of consumer card issuing and value of transactions.
The Church of England is trialling a ‘digital collection box’ solution for making charitable donations via contactless technology from SumUp. Using a card reader and smartphone, members of church congregations can now donate with their card, rather than cash. Parishioners can choose a donation amount - from four set by the Church itself - and pay in seconds.
Matalan has deployed SML’s RFID tags across all 220 stores in the UK to improve inventory accuracy. SML has been working with Matalan for the past two years, initially deploying RFID into two pilot stores using the Clarity software suite.
A quarter of business to business (B2B) customers consider the usability of a supplier’s website to be the most important factor when deciding where to purchase supplies online.A survey of 500 business decision makers for e-commerce agency PushON found that the ease of navigation around a company’s website was a more important factor in whether they would choose to take their business elsewhere than user reviews (21 per cent) or product offering (18 per cent).
Online giants like Amazon are having a profound effect on the commercial property market, as the value in retail property is set to fall by 15.9 per cent this year, with real estate owners and investors attempting to lure online-centric consumers back onto the embattled UK High Street. Analysis by Altus Group forecasted that job losses and store closures will rise by 26,918 and 3,764 respectively this year, compared with 2018, across the retail and hospitality sectors.
Marks and Spencer is rolling out online photo search technology which enables shoppers to upload or take a photo of any outfit via their smart phone to search for similar products on the M&S website. The new artificial intelligence (AI) powered tool, available on mobile devices, marks the latest stage in the High Street retailer’s digital transformation strategy, aimed at adapting to changing consumer trends for online shopping.
Activewear retailer Mountain Warehouse is expected to announce record annual profits after seeing a 25 per cent rise in online sales over the Christmas period.The retailer, which has bucked the trend for squeezed margins and declining sales amongst clothing retailers, reported a 12 per cent rise in total sales to £84.7 million during the 13 weeks to 6 January.
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley is set to place a bid to buy struggling music retailer HMV out of administration, in a move that could further tighten his grip on the UK High Street.The outspoken retail tycoon, who has saved a string of retailers from the administrators in the last year, including House of Fraser and Evans Cycles, is in talks to table a bid for HMV after it collapsed into administration in December, Sky News reported.
L’Occitane en Provence has started using ContentSquare’s newly-launched AI Alerts to detect and react to anomalies on its website faster as well as reduce the manual effort required to improve conversions. The natural cosmetics manufacturer and retailer now receives proactive monitoring of its e-commerce sites, meaning teams get timely notifications of any performance deviation, enabling quick reactions.
In December 2018, online retailing accounted for 20 per cent of total retailing, with average weekly spending online of £1.9 billion last month – an increase of 13.9 per cent year-on-year. The latest retail sales figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that month-on-month growth was seen across all online sectors except household goods stores and other non-food. Household goods showed a strong decline of 17.9 per cent, following strong Black Friday promotions, which boosted sales in November.
US payments firm Square is making further inroads into the banking market with the launch of a debit card service for small businesses. Launching the Square Card in the US yesterday, the firm - which until now has been known for its mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices - said the Mastercard service would help businesses manage their cash flow by eliminating the time between making a sale and having the funds available to spend.
Mahabis has been rescued from administration after acquisition by investment firm YYX Capital. The online slipper retailer filed for administration on 27 December, but has now had its assets bought by the investment boutique co-headed by James Cox, who co-founded online mattress retailer Simba Sleep.
Alipay is set to launch its payment services in mainland Europe after securing a licence in Luxembourg. Run by AntFinancial, the financial arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, Alipay is the largest cashless payments services platform on the planet. It is already active in six European countries, including a limited roll out in the UK which allows Chinese tourists to purchase goods from retailers who have a partnership with Barclays via the Alipay app.
British shoppers are set to spend £25 billion via their smartphones and tablets in 2019, up £10 billion on 2018, as the trend for mobile commerce continues to put pressure on the High Street.A weighted Opinium survey of 2,005 UK shoppers for price comparison website uSwitch found that a total of 30 million Brits are planning to use their phone to shop in the coming year, up 66 per cent, or 12 million people since 2018, suggesting increasing opportunities for retailers offering m-commerce options and further headwinds for bricks and mortar retailers.
While retailers plan to expand fulfilment options, senior leaders still struggle with core digital transformation challenges, according to new research. JDA Software and Microsoft commissioned Incisiv to conduct a quantitative survey of 221 C-suite level executives across multiple continents and industry segments, finding that 78 per cent do not have a real-time view of inventory across channels, while half believe they do not have the right platforms and tools in place to support expanded fulfilment options.
N Brown has reported a 1.6 per cent decline in overall sales for the 18-week period ending 5 January, as in-store performance dragged down online growth. The retail group’s three fashion brands - JD Williams, Simply Be and Jacamo - outperformed the rest of the business with a 0.1 per cent product sales rise and a 6.4 per cent increase in online sales, but this was not enough to deliver overall growth.
Shops that combine music, visuals and scent to create a “multi-sensory” retail experience are more likely to lure customers back in store, according to 90 per cent of consumers interviewed for a global survey. A study of 10,000 shoppers in 10 countries for customer experience company Mood Media also found that 78 per cent of consumers cited “an enjoyable in-store atmosphere” as a key factor in the decision to visit a physical store over online shopping.
Almost half (41 per cent) of UK shoppers say that the availability of products on the High Street is the biggest frustration of shopping in-store, according to REPL Group research. This frustration has been compounded for 59 per cent of consumers who have at some point seen a special offer or been sent a voucher from a store only to find that the product was out of stock when they got there.
SWIFT has published a standard for ‘Pay Later’ Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), moving the industry closer to adoption of a new consumer payment model. Pay Later offers customers the ability to use traditional bank loan financing to pay for goods purchased online. Customers are provided with available loans from their banks; they can then select and initiate a loan, knowing that the funds can immediately be credited to the merchants and items dispatched.
Marks and Spencer has announced plans to close a further 17 stores as part of its restructuring strategy in a move that could see 1,000 jobs axed in the next three years. The embattled High Street retailer set out plans in May to close 100 stores by 2022 and move resources into digital transformation as consumers increasingly shift their spending to e-commerce sites. Thirty sites have already been closed.
Online clothing brand PrettyLittleThing has partnered with post-purchase experience tech firm Narvar, reporting greater customer loyalty since adopting the platform. Before working with Narvar, PrettyLittleThing directed customers to third-party websites for delivery updates, giving unbranded and functional communications. No customers received proactive and branded delivery and tracking messages via the communications channel of their choice.
People do not want to speak with robots while shopping in-store or online, according to a new study conducted by Oracle NetSuite in partnership with Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor. The survey of 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the UK, US and Australia found a huge disconnect between shopper demands and what retailers deliver in areas spanning the overall retail environment, social media, personalisation and the use of advanced technologies such as chatbots, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
L.K.Bennett has updated its IT infrastructure with Aptos’ cloud-based solution. The ladies footwear and clothing brand has over 200 stores and concessions worldwide - accounting for more than 61 per cent of total sales - as well as an e-commerce site.
New research has revealed that 85 per cent of retailers plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021. At the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Big Show in New York, IBM announced the findings of a survey which took in 1,900 retail and consumer products leaders across 23 countries.
Boohoo has raised its full-year revenue outlook after a 44 per cent year-on-year increase in sales during the final four months of 2018. The online retailer’s latest trading update revealed that total group revenue across all regions rose from £228.2 million to £328.2 million during the period ending 31 December.
Shop Direct, JD Sports and Matalan have all reported stronger than expected sales figures over the Christmas period, driven by discounting strategies and online growth.
UK retailers are wasting almost two million hours every working week due to ineffective competitor price-checking processes, according to new research. Pricing and automation specialist Omnia Retail questioned 150 UK retail businesses on the scope and efficacy of their pricing strategies, finding that they are spending an average of 10 hours per week on manually checking and benchmarking competitor’s prices, amounting to almost 1.97 million hours, or 246,000 lost working days across the sector.
Retailers must invest for the long-term, break down silos and deliver new experiences for customers and employees if they are to survive. That is the conclusion of a new report from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, which undertook a study with over 900 managers and non-managers across a variety of global retailers.
Footfall in December fell by 2.6 per cent, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Spingboard figures, although a lesser decline compared to the previous year when it fell by 3.5 per cent. High Street footfall declined by 2.1 per cent, marking five consecutive months of weakening for this shopping location. Retail parks had a similar fate, with December footfall being 2.1 per cent lower than last year and below November’s rate of 1.4 per cent.
Laura Ashely has chosen Oracle Cloud technology to support the growth of its online business. The homeware and fashion retailer is increasingly looking to online sales as the driver of future growth as its bricks-and-mortar stores suffer from the decline in footfall and changing consumer habits being felt across the High Street.
Scottish outdoor clothing and equipment retailer Tiso has selected Eurostop’s connected stock management and electronic point of sale (EPoS) systems for 13 stores. Tiso chose Eurostop’s stock system e-rmis, e-pos touch and the business intelligence module e-cubes, to provide the detailed stock management and replenishment required to manage the variety of items sold in-store and online.
Clothing and footwear retailer FatFace felt the chill in the run up to Christmas as shoppers continued to move their purchases online, which put a spring in the step of Shoe Zone and e-commerce retailer Sosandar. High Street retailer Fatface saw in-store sales drop six per cent, after a flat holiday trading period and against a backdrop of the worst Christmas in a decade for retail.
A shareholder revolt has led to the removal of chairman Ian Cheshire and chief executive Sergio Bucher from the Debenhams board, although the latter retained his place at the head of the department store chain. The coup at the retailer’s AGM was spurred on by two major shareholders, one of which is Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct.
Tesco has reported its best Christmas in a decade as rival retailers including Sainsbury’s battled to keep market share in the face of the mounting popularity of discount grocers Aldi and Lidl. Tesco said like-for-like sales in the six weeks to the holiday period were up 2.2 per cent, its best performance since Christmas 2009, placing it ahead of industry expectations. The “strong” performance was driven in part by a 6.7 per cent rise in sales at wholesaler Booker, bought by Tesco last year.
Debenhams and Marks & Spencer have reported a slump in sales over the Christmas period as shoppers hunting for bargains forced retailers into a discounting war.The results from the retailers, considered bellwethers of the health of the High Street, were marginally below expectations but did not prompt either to revise down their full-year profit forecasts.
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of shoppers would be prepared to spend more in exchange for shorter delivery times, according to a new study that highlights the value of the ‘last mile economy’ in opening up new revenue streams for retailers. A global survey of more than 2,870 consumers and 500 supply chain executives, retail entrepreneurs and industry leaders by the Capgemini Research Institute found that despite growing appetite for innovate delivery options, just one per cent of retailers would be willing to cover the full cost of delivery.
Sales figures were flat in December, against an increase of 1.4 per cent in December 2017, representing the worst Christmas period performance since the last recession. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures also showed that this is the lowest growth since last April, excluding Easter distortions, and below the three-month and 12-month averages of 0.5 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has bought German data analysis startup Data Artisans in a deal reportedly valuing the company at around €90 million. The acquisition will also see Alibaba invest an undisclosed sum to develop Data Artisan’s Apache Flink, an open source data processing software.
The UK’s top e-retailers are jeopardising sales by not prioritising on-site customer experience, according to Visualsoft. In November, the e-commerce and digital agency’s research team tested and analysed the websites of 250 of the biggest online shops against 17 criteria and website performance metrics.
Fashion retailer Ted Baker has reported an 18.7 per cent rise in online sales during the crucial Christmas period, driving up overall sales by 12.2 per cent year-on-year.Growth at the retailer for the five weeks to 5 January comes as the company continues its investigation into allegations made against founder Ray Kelvin and an alleged culture of “forced hugging” at the company in the run up to Christmas.
Mothercare has reported an 11.4 per cent drop in its quarterly UK like-for-like sales, with online sales down 16.3 per cent. In a statement, the child and baby retailer explained that the sales figures were partly due to “aggressive” discounting during the same period last year which had inflated sales, as well as lower in-store iPad sales in-store due to the store closure programme.
High Street fashion retailer Joules has announced an 11.7 per cent jump in sales over the festive period, driven by strong performance in online trading.
A trading update for the seven-week period to 6 January shows that e-commerce accounted for almost half of total sales, through strong performance of the Joules website and sales on concession partner websites.
Amazon customers will soon have the option to have parcels left in the garage, according to an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Amazon Key service, which is integrated with the Key app, is set to be available to in the US to Prime customers with garages fitted with MyQ technology from the second quarter of 2019, the company said.
Kroger and Microsoft have announced a collaboration aimed at redefining retail customer experience through connected stores. Using products powered by Microsoft Azure, Kroger will run a pilot and jointly market a commercial retail-as-a-service (RaaS) product to the industry.
Footasylum has issued a profit warning as margins are set to miss forecasts due to the higher-than-expected levels of discounting during the Christmas period. The footwear retailer said it was cutting costs due to tough trading conditions, although total revenue went up by 14 per cent to £102.3 million in the 18 weeks running up to December.
Online fashion retailer Missguided has reported post-tax losses of £46.7 million in its annual accounts, although the business expects to see “significant” future growth in 2019. Missguided’s latest report, filed with Companies House, stated that despite 2018 being an “extremely challenging year”, it expects 2019 will be a year of “transition” for the company as it steers its strategy towards increasing growth and builds upon the 4.9 per cent boost to turnover seen in the financial year to April 2018.
Boots UK has acquired Wiggly-Amps, a health technology company which has developed an accessible digital solution that enables patients and their GPs to manage their prescription needs. Richard Bradley, pharmacy director at Boots UK, said he was looking for ways to make things simpler and quicker for customers and patients. “It’s an exciting time for the future of pharmacy and today’s announcement is just one of the ways we are strengthening the development of our digital healthcare ambitions.”
Dunelm has reported in-store like-for-like sales up by 5.7 per cent year-on-year, while online sales climbed by 37.9 per cent. In the 13 weeks to 29 December, the hardware and homeware retailer saw total multichannel revenue - which includes like-for-like online revenue, reserve and collect and tablet-based selling in-store - representing 16.5 per cent of revenue, which was a 4.1 per cent increase on the same period in 2017.
Missguided has enlisted Klarna, Poq and Stripe to create a tailored and seamless journey for its mobile shoppers. The fashion retailer’s UK customers can now order items from the app and pay for them 30 days later using Klarna’s Pay later product, with no interest or fees. This was made possible by using Stripe’s technical infrastructure and Poq’s in-app commerce expertise.
Fast fashion retailer SilkFred has upgraded its online analytics platform by deploying a new data-driven technology to manage its network of independent fashion brands. The London-based e-commerce fashion site, founded in 2012, has partnered with data platform provider Looker to improve insights into customer trends and behaviour.
Mobile devices accounted for 54 per cent of online transactions in the UK during the third quarter of 2018, behind only Sweden, Norway and Japan. This is according to Criteo’s global commerce review, which analysed browsing and purchasing data from over 5,000 retailers in more than 80 countries, finding that smartphones experienced a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in transactions, while tablets fell by 26 per cent.
Shop Price inflation accelerated in December to 0.3 per cent, from 0.1 per cent in November, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen statistics. This is the fourth month of inflation in five years and the highest inflation rate since April 2013.
Next has put a spring in the step of the High Street by announcing a 1.5 per cent rise in sales over the Christmas trading period, with an in-store fall offset by a strong performance from its online business. Shares in the company jumped six per cent after it posted a boost in overall sales between 28 October and 29 December.
Elavon has become the first dedicated payments provider and e-commerce business to directly connect to the Faster Payments service. The global payments provider and subsidiary of US institution Bancorp is the latest of a new generation of payment services providers (PSPs), challenger banks and FinTechs connecting to the UK payment system.
Online fashion brand Missguided has appointed the former head of e-commerce at music retailer Dawsons as its new head of digital. Nicola Tibbs is to join the fast fashion retailer in the coming weeks and will take up many of the responsibilities held by Mark Leach, the former head of e-commerce, who left the company in July 2018, the Essential Retail website reported.
Shoppers are predicted to have spent £8.64 billion in-store since Christmas day as retailers hope to use discounting to protect their balance sheets from the shift to online sales.A survey of 2,000 consumers carried out for VoucherCodes revealed that UK shoppers were poised to spend a total of £12.85 billion in the period from Boxing Day to 30 December, as consumers hunt for bargains in the January sales.
Retailers are set to lose around $130 billion in digital card not present (?) fraud between 2018 and 2023. Juniper Research highlighted that increasingly complex approaches by fraudsters, alongside retailers’ inertia in adapting to new fraud prevention requirements, would be key factors behind the increases in fraud transaction value.
Premium slipper brand Mahabis has entered administration, becoming the first online retailer to fall victim to a slump in Christmas sales.The London-based company, founded by former barrister Ankur Shah in 2014, manufactures slippers with detatchable soles for outdoor and indoors wear.
More than half of consumers have given up on a digital experience because the process was too frustrating- with retailers topping the table of worst offenders, according to a new survey. A study of 2,500 adults by Kantar on behalf of software company Liferay, found that while 54 per cent say their expectations of digital experiences have risen in the past few years, just 12 per cent of these say they have found their expectations have been met all the time.
UK High Streets have double the number of shops needed to keep up with demand, according to the author of a government report on the future of retail. Sir John Timpson, who founded the Timpson family’s key-cutting and shoe repair chain, said that the revival of Britain’s High Street revival should be a “bottom up” job, involving funding and support for local councils to take the lead in turning town centres into communities and meeting places.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for retailers this year and we’ve tried to keep up with the technological challenges and opportunities, but which stories were the most popular? Read on to find out what was most read and most interesting during 2018…
In the three months to November, the quantity of retail sales showed an increase of 0.4 per cent when compared with the previous three months, due to growth in non-food stores and online retailing. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that online sales as a proportion of all retailing exceeded 20 per cent for the first time, with all online retailing accounting for 21.5 per cent of total retailing on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
Shoppers are more price-sensitive than a year ago and more inclined to spend time online researching the best deals, according to a new study. SAS found that nearly half (46 per cent) are more price-sensitive this year, with just 12 per cent less so. The analytics firm commissioned 3GEM to survey a representative sample of 2,000 Christmas shoppers in the UK and Republic of Ireland during November, finding that 23 per cent will spend slightly more on gifts than the previous year, compared to 15 per cent who say it will be slightly less.
Pets at Home has appointed William Hewish to the newly created role of chief information officer, as part of a move to a more digitally-led model of business. Hewish joins from United Utilities where he has worked for the last six years leading the technology, data and business change teams. Prior to that, he held senior technology roles at Lloyds Pharmacy, DeVere Hotels and Booker.
Mastercard is partnering with Elavon, a digital payments provider, to enable merchants to offer their customers the option of paying for goods and services directly through their banking app.The ‘Pay by Bank’ app, which will be offered to UK merchants from 2019, aims to improve the convenience and security of digital payments for customers.
Last month saw the worst November UK online retail sales growth since 2011, coming in at just 8.1 per cent year-on-year, as Black Friday discounting failed to rejuvenate consumer spending. The latest Capgemini and IMRG figures showed that November fell below the three (8.3 per cent), six (10.5 per cent) and 12-month (12.2 per cent) sales growth averages, as the market experienced its lowest ever growth for a Black Friday week.
Three quarters of UK shoppers have used a ‘near me’ search from their mobile device over the holiday season, or believe they will before the New Year. Uberall polled more than 1,000 smartphone users - half from the US and half from the UK - during December, finding that almost two-thirds were likely to conduct a ‘near me’ search for local fast-food outlets and restaurants while out Christmas shopping.
Research by VoucherCodes and the Centre of Retail Research has revealed 14.9 million shoppers are expected to spend £1.65 billion buying last-minute festive purchases on the last Saturday before Christmas – equating to £2.38 million spent per minute. Falling on 22 December, ‘Super Saturday’ could help save some retailers’ poor peak seasons, with an estimated 10.1 million shoppers hitting stores to spend a total of £1.38 billion. Online sales will peak the day before on ‘Frenzied Friday’, with £321 million being spent, as 7.2 million shoppers seek out last-minute gifts while avoiding the High Street crowds.
New research has revealed that a huge number of retailers could be missing out on additional revenue due to a lack of understanding around how well their website is optimised for local search. A survey of 1,021 UK workers carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals, revealed that 39 per cent of business leaders are unsure as to whether their company website is optimised for local search engine optimisation (SEO).
Brexit concerns and weak High Street trading have forced retailers into levels of discounting during the run-up to Christmas averaging almost 44 per cent. This is according to Deloitte analysis of 800,000 products, which predicted savings to reach a new record of 48 per cent by Christmas Eve.
Google has added paysafecard as a new payment method in the Google Play Store in the UK, along with Germany, France, Spain and Greece. The expansion of the Google and Paysafe partnership follows the successful launch of paysafecard as a Google Play Store payment method in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia and Cyprus since June, meaning it is now available in 10 European countries.
Laura Ashley is reportedly set to close further stores in the UK a part of a new strategy focussed on Asian markets and digital retail. The home furnishing and clothing retailer told Press Association of plans to build on 40 earlier closures since 2015 by reducing its number of stores from 160 to 120, as part of a new strategy announced by its owner Malayan United Industries (MUI).
Zalando has launched a one-off test in Belgium to examine the potential of in-home delivery and in-home pick-up. The test focused on finding out how customers interacted and responded to this new service, and how comfortable customers were with the idea of a delivery person accessing their home while they weren’t present.
Shares in ASOS plummeted by more than 40 per cent this morning after the company issued a profit warning following a slump in the crucial November trading period blamed on heavy discounting and Brexit concerns. The surprise statement from the online retail giant sent shockwaves through the sector, driving down shares in other retailers including Next, Marks and Spencer and JD Sports.
New research from Capgemini calculates a more than $300 billion opportunity for those retail companies that are able to scale and expand the scope of their artificial intelligence (AI) existing deployments. However, it is not straightforward, as the report also found that just one per cent of use cases by retailers have achieved this level of deployment today.
Mike Ashley has written to Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher offering a £40 million loan to bail out the struggling department store. The Sports Direct boss wrote that he was making the offer at a "critical time" after the High Street was hit by "the worst November in living memory". Ashley owns a 30 per cent stake in Debenhams and stated that the board "doesn't really seem to appreciate the position that Debenhams is currently in and their responsibility to shareholders".
Most High Street retailers are not utilising social commerce effectively, despite almost three quarters (74 per cent) of the top 50 making it possible for consumers to see featured products when they click on a social image or post. Marketing technology company Curalate examined the take-up of commerce on three major social media channels - Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest - and the resulting customer experience.
Ocado has reported double-digit increases in revenue and average orders per week during its fourth quarter, although average order value fell during the period. For the 13 weeks ending 2 December, the online grocery retailer saw sales rise 12 per cent to £390 million, up from 11.5 per cent growth in the previous quarter. The average order value dropped by one per cent to £104.91, but average orders per week rose 13.1 per cent to 320,000.
Just 13 per cent of shoppers fully trust retailers to protect their personal data, according to a new survey which analysed the growing role of technology in customer experience. A global study of 4,725 shoppers and more than 1,200 retail workers and managers from Europe, North Americam, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East commissioned by Zebra, also found that retail has the lowest level of trust out of 10 different industries when it comes to data protection.
Sports Direct has reported a 26.8 per cent year-on-year drop in underlying pre-tax profits to £64.4 million. However, if the August acquisition of House of Fraser was taken out of the equation, underlying earnings would be up 15.5 per cent to £180.3 million. For the six month period ending 28 October, the retail group - which also operates USC, Flannels and Evans Cycles - saw total revenue rise 4.5 per cent year-on-year to £1.79 billion, driven by acquisitions and growth in sales, as a result of Sports Direct refreshing its store estate and selling more premium items from Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour.
Nearly a third (32 per cent) of all shopping will be carried out online this Christmas according to a new survey which also found that consumers have spent a total of £13.6 billion via mobile devices this year. A survey of 1,000 shoppers in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy conducted by VoucherCodes.co.uk found that the total share of Christmas spend will increase this year by three per cent, up from 29 per cent last year.
Checkpoint Systems has developed a new anti-theft solution for the clothing retailer market. Mini NeedleLok is designed to protect all types of garments, including very thin fabric, deterring thieves while preventing damage that would usually occur on application of pinned security tags.
Dixons Carphone has reported a £440 million pre-tax loss for the half-year period ending 27 October, compared to profits of £54 million over the same time last year. The electronics retailer attributed the results to charges of £490 million, largely due to a writedown on the value of its loss-making Carphone Warehouse mobile phone business and store estate.
Which? Has claimed several major retailers are breaching data protection laws, after an investigation found many were including unwanted marketing information in e-receipts sent to shoppers. The consumer association sent mystery shoppers to 11 retailers – Topshop, Clarks, Gap, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, Arcadia Group (Miss Selfridge, Outfit, Burton), Schuh, Mothercare, Halfords, Currys PC World and Nike.
Ingenico Group has started offering domestic processing and cross-border settlement for international payments in Russia for the first time. According to a statement from the payments provider, it is estimated that e-commerce sales exceeded €28 billion last year and with two-thirds of online Russian consumers are shopping cross-border, with e-commerce revenues are growing by 17 per cent a year.
MySale has warned that it expects a first-half underlying loss after enduring “challenging” conditions during its peak second quarter trading period. The Australia-based online retailer is preparing for the fact that a small earnings loss in the first half will mean revenue and profits for the full year through to June 2019 are likely to be “significantly” below market expectations.
With November reported to have the lowest shopper footfall since the recession and in-store sales predicted to get worse in December, a new study has found that nearly three-quarters of retailers are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) in the call centre to save money and meet consumer demand. Cloud communications provider Olive Communications interviewed 500 call centre operators, 1,000 consumers and 500 heads of customer service in retail and e-commerce, finding that 59 per cent of the 500 retailers questioned have invested in virtual call centre agents - chatbots that handle minor queries before passing to a human agent - to transform their customer service and productivity.
JD.com and Intel have launched a lab that will explore the use of Internet of Things (IoT) in smart retail solutions. The Digitized Retail Joint Lab will develop next-generation vending machines, advertising solutions and technologies to be used in the stores of the future, based on Intel architecture.
With online retail spend set to rise 7.5 per cent this year while, offline spend inches up just one per cent, UK consumers are set to spend more online this Christmas than ever before. Almost 80 per cent of the UK population shopped online in the last 12 months, with online shopper penetration driven by younger consumers. Over 95 per cent of under 35’s purchased products online, as growth in the online channel continues to far outpace that of physical stores, according to GlobalData.
Footfall in November fell by 3.2 per cent, a significant decline on the previous year when it grew by 0.2 per cent, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard statistics. This is the 12th month of consecutive decline, with November numbers illustrating the Black Friday effect of driving more shopping online during the period which is also becoming longer.
Luxury brand e-commerce provider The Level Group has partnered with payments business SafeCharge to reduce the complexities associated with cross-border payment processing and meet customer demand for seamless, personalised shopping, regardless of location or device. “A successful e-commerce platform is one that provides both a great browsing experience, and the ability for shoppers to easily complete a transaction regardless of their location,” said Francesco Musardo, chief insight officer at The Level Group.
Delivery provider Clipper Logistics saw it business grow by 14.1 per cent in the six months to October as consumer demand grows for click and collect services. The firm, which has signed e-fulfilment and returns contracts with Asda, Sports Direct and Halfords in the last six months also posted interim results of a 16.9 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £9.3 million over the same period last year.
The UK now has the lowest proportion of High Street spending in Europe, according to new research by Mastercard, with just 43 per cent of spending volume is done physically in stores, while online commerce accounts for more than half. Of the 57 per cent of volumes spent online, almost half of this (27 per cent) is made up by spending on mobile devices, according to data from a pan-European survey conducted in November among more than 18,000 people.
Swedish homeware retailer Clas Ohlson has announced plans to close all of its UK stores, putting 150 jobs in jeopardy. After reporting a 74 per cent drop in operating profits to £2.88 million, the decision was made to close all loss-making stores in the UK, along with four loss-making stores in Germany.
Footasylum has seen a 28 per cent increase in email revenue from personalised marketing communications as a result of working with artificial intelligence (AI) company Peak. The fashion and footwear retailer, which trades from over 65 stores across the UK, has also reported a 75 per cent reduction in cost per social click during a recent trial.
Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn is deploying MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout solution in the world’s biggest electronics store in Hamburg. With Saturn Smartpay, shoppers will be able to use their smartphone to scan and pay for more than 100,000 products, eliminating the need for customers to queue or wait at the checkout.
Michael Kors has selected Aptos for a customer engagement pilot.The luxury fashion and accessories brand will be using Aptos ONE, a cloud-native, microservices-based retail platform, to enable customer transactions to be processed anywhere on local mobile devices.
Alibaba Group has reportedly signed an agreement with the Belgian government to establish an e-commerce trade hub in the country, as the Chinese retail giant eyes expansion of its European services. The project, which will include new investment in logistics infrastructure for e-commerce operations, is part of Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform (EWTP), Reuters reported. Similar agreements have already been signed in Malaysia and Rwanda.
Google’s parent group Alphabet is to roll out its delivery drone technology to Europe with trial in Helsinki next spring. Alphabet’s drone company Wing announced plans to launch a small service trial of its 12-propeller drones - capable of delivering packages of up to 1.5kg for up to 6.2 miles - in the Finnish city at an appearance at the Slush conference in Helsinki, the Telegraph reported.
Just 7 per cent of Brits browse exclusively in-store before making a high-value purchase - identified as costing over £250 - putting pressure on the value of bricks and mortar stores in the UK. This is according to a survey conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of point of sale (PoS) platform Divido amongst a nationally representative sample of 2,005 UK adults during November.
Clothing brand Joules has drawn up contingency plans to set up a third party distribution centre in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.In a trading update the company said the plans were necessary to “mitigate the expected disruption” that could arise in the increasingly likely event that MPs vote down the government’s proposed Brexit deal next Tuesday and fail to agree an alternative deal before March next year, leading to a disorderly exit from the EU.
By 2022 the number of online fashion shoppers is set to reach 911 million - up from 700 million in 2018 - accounting for 31 per cent of the total online population, according to Forrester research. Globally, Forrester predicts that online fashion retail sales will reach $765 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 13 per cent – accounting for 36 per cent of total fashion sales around the world.
Consumer spending grew 3.3 per cent year-on-year in November, dipping to the lowest level of growth since March, when the ‘Beast from the East’ took its toll on the High Street. Transaction data from Barclaycard showed that expenditure on essentials rose by four per cent, but the retail sector had a tough month, as consumers seemingly held off spending ahead of the festive season.
The online penetration rate has increased from 32.6 per cent last year to 33.8 per cent in November 2018 – an all-time high, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG data. However, online sales of non-food products only grew 2.9 per cent in November, the lowest growth on record, against a growth of 6.5 per cent in November 2017. This is below the three-month and 12-month averages of 5.3 and 7.1 per cent respectively.
Mike Ashley has suggested House of Fraser could be merged with Debenhams in a combative appearance before MPs in which he insisted “it’s not my fault the high street is dying.” The Sports Direct tycoon, who bought House of Fraser for £90 million this year, told parliament’s housing, communities and local government select committee that the High Street will disappear by 2030 if no action is taken.
The Big Issue magazine has announced that its vendors will be able to offer contactless payments thanks to a partnership with iZettle. The charitable publication, which raises funds for the homeless, is trialling iZettle’s wireless Electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) device with up to 20 sellers in London, Bristol, Bath, Birmingham and Nottingham before the technology is rolled out nationwide.
Digital retail traffic saw a 19 per cent growth in payment transaction volumes compared to holiday shopping period 2017 between Thanksgiving (22 November) and Cyber Monday (26 November). This indicates that holiday shopping is moving further online and consumers continue to shun in-store experiences in favour of holiday sofa surfing, according to ThreatMetrix.
Amazon is reportedly testing its cashierless checkout technology for bigger stores in the US.The e-commerce giant, which is using cashierless mobile payments for goods in its Amazon Go stores, is now looking to deploy the solution in larger retail spaces, beginning with stores near its headquarters in Seattle, according to the Wall Street Journal.
An estimated 40,000 retail workers have lost their jobs this year as a result of upheaval on the High Street.According to an analysis conducted by BBC 5 Live’s Wake Up To Money, shop closures and business failures in the retail sector have spiked sharply in the last 12 months, as firms struggle to adapt to changing consumer landscape and the shift to online shopping.
Tesco and Volkswagen have partnered to develop the largest UK retail Electric Vehicle (EV) charging network. Customers will be able to charge their electric cars using a normal 7kW charger for free or a ‘rapid’ 50 kW charger, for a small cost in line with market rate. More than 2,400 EV charging bays will be installed by Pod Point across 600 Tesco stores within the next three years.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has shown that e-commerce sales in the UK rose at their highest rate since 2011. The latest statistical report revealed that e-commerce sales by businesses with 10 employees or more were £560 billion in 2017, rising 16 per cent from £484 billion in 2016.
Mobile and online florist Bloom & Wild has selected last mile retail delivery startup On the dot for same-day delivery service across London. The venture capital-based, Vauxhall-based florist operates across the UK, Ireland, Germany and France, aiming to make ordering design-led flowers online as simple as sending a text message.
Europe’s largest department store by turnover, El Corte Inglés, and Chinese commercial technology giant, Alibaba Group, have signed a letter of intent to develop close cooperation in the fields of retail, cloud computing, digital innovation and smart payments. The two companies kicked off this collaboration framework by outlining areas in which their respective business units and affiliates - including Tmall, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and AliExpress - will develop relevant initiatives.
The 2019 Retail Systems Awards are now open for entries, with a deadline set for 1 March next year. Due to be held on 27 June at the Waldorf Hilton in London, the ceremony will see the best in retail technology celebrated across 24 categories.
Three-quarters of consumers have purchased more items to take advantage of a minimum spend free delivery option, while just under half would prioritise shopping with one online provider over another if it offered a loyalty programme featuring free next day delivery. These findings come from research carried out online with 3,597 consumers of all ages in the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands on behalf of MetaPack.
Warehouse management specialist Synergy Logistics is benefitting from the ‘Brexit effect’ as it posted record sales for 2018. Uncertainty over international trade when Britain leaves the EU has seen retailers stockpiling goods, fuelling an increase in demand for the firm’s Warehouse Management Software (WMS) product, Snapfulfil.
IKEA has seen profits drop by €1 billion in the last year as it pours investment into the company’s e-commerce and digital transformation.Results for the year end to August from the Swedish furniture retailer’s parent company Ingka showed a profit decline of 40 per cent to €1.47 billion, compared to €2.47 billion a year earlier
More than half of shoppers (55 per cent) rank security as their most important concern when it comes to making online payments. New research from payments specialists PPRO Group also highlighted the importance of familiarity with payment methods when it comes to inspiring consumer confidence in a retailer’s security methods.
International shoppers will bring a much-needed boost to the UK’s retail sector during the crucial Christmas trading period, according to new research. Data from payments processing company Planet suggests that the UK High Street has not lost it draw for international shoppers, with the average spend from foreign visitors up six per cent year-on-year.
China is leading the world in terms of mobile payments adoption, followed by Norway and the UK. This is according to data analysis by fee comparison service Merchant Machine, which found that an estimated 47 per cent of phone owners in China use mobile wallets, with WeChat pay and Alipay being the two dominant payment platforms.
Shop Prices were higher by just 0.1 per cent in November, compared to one year ago and a fall of 0.2 per cent in October, marking the third month of inflation in five years. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures also revealed that non-food prices were lower in November compared to the same month last year, although the rate of deflation of non-food products eased to 0.8 per cent. This is the lowest rate of deflation since March 2013.
Data from leading retail management platform Vend has revealed that in-store spending over the Black Friday shopping period this year dropped by seven per cent compared to 2017, while spending over the entire week was down 10 per cent on last year. This is despite discounting levels being a third higher this year than in 2017, and the average discount amount increasing by four percentage points.
The majority of retailers do not know who their most loyal customers are and cannot therefore know if their loyalty strategies are inspiring prolonged customer advocacy, according to new research. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson among 635 retail decision makers in the UK, North America, Hong Kong, China, India, UAE, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, France, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, South Africa found that 65 per cent are not actively leveraging their loyalty programmes to know which customers are in fact brand advocates.
AllSaints has chosen the Emarsys personalisation platform to drive customer engagement through automated marketing campaigns. The fashion brand plans to use the driven Emarsys Marketing Platform to collect data from all its customers touch points and convert it into actionable insight via advanced scoring models using predictive artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms.
Quiz has reported group revenue up 19 per cent for the six months to the end of September, despite challenging external market conditions. The fashion brand’s interim results showed online revenue increased 44 per cent to £20 million, up from £13.8 million in the first half of the year. Online sales now represent 30 per cent of group sales – rising from 25 per cent in the first six months of 2018.
PayPal’s $2.2 billion takeover of Swedish mobile payments company iZettle could drive up prices for customers and lead to a more limited range of services, according to an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).The UK’s competition watchdog will now refer the merger - completed in September - for a Phase 2 investigation after it found that the deal, which brings together the two largest suppliers of mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices in the UK, could lead to a “substantial lessening” of competition within UK markets.
Trotters has relaunched its website, updating the retail management software that handles electronic point of sale (EPoS), stock control and warehousing. The family-run children’s store has employed Eurostop for EPoS and stock control software with merchandise and warehouse management, Shopify Plus for the e-commerce website platform, and TIDE’s Connected Commerce platform to connect Shopify Plus and Eurostop’s data together.
French luxury goods group Kering - which owns Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen - is stepping up its e-commerce presence with a new omnichannel digital strategy putting technology at the centre of customer experience. In a statement posted to the company website, Grégory Boutté, who was appointed the group’s chief client and digital officer in December 2017, outlined plans to accelerate digital shopping – one of its fastest growing areas, representing six per cent of the group’s total retail sales for the first half of 2018.
Retailers were left out in the cold on Black Friday as High Street footfall fell more than five per cent cent, while shoppers flocked to e-commerce for their fix of pre-Christmas bargains. Early data from Friday’s sales event shows online transactions were up 55 per cent on last year between midnight and 10am and up 46 per cent overall, with online shopping continuing to surge throughout the day and into so-called ‘Cyber Weekend’.
Amazon is reportedly gearing up to launch a digital wallet service in physical stores as it races to catch up with Apple Pay’s mobile payment services. The e-commerce giant is planning to begin the roll-out of a mobile wallet system called Amazon Pay by working with businesses that aren’t considered to be its direct competitors, such as gas stations, restaurants and other merchants, a source told the Wall Street Journal.
Dixons Carphone has rolled out interactive gaming zones at several Currys PC World stores across the UK. The immersive custom-built areas allow customers to experience the latest games, monitors and consoles through a 6.5 by 1.2 metre video gaming wall of commercial-grade display panels. Within each store, the bespoke display can be split into separate feeds from 12 gaming PCs during live events and when featuring product videos, as well as two feeds for ‘versus matches’ between two gamers.
One of the UK’s most successful retail tech entrepreneurs is considering whether to buy up a struggling High Street retailer after selling his second business to a Silicon Valley giant. Announcing the sale of his retail marketing technology platform Elevaate to Quotient, a US digital analytics firm in the US, Scott Weavers-Wright told Retail Systems that he is now considering whether to make an omnichannel leap for his next venture.
Retailers have to manage risk more than ever within their Black Friday advertising, given the increasingly grey area between the General Data Protection Regulation and ePrivacy regulations. Will Robertson, partner at international law firm Osborne Clarke, noted that this is the first year retailers in the UK have had to comply with the GDPR alongside their seasonal marketing and promotional efforts – making it even more important for companies to consider how best to manage risk and reputation in their Black Friday sales communications.