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.
Matalan is deploying new analytics technology which tracks mouse clicks and online engagement to boost its omnichannel retail strategy.The clothing and home retailer said it chose ContentSquare’s technology to enhance its e-commerce offering. The technology supports the retailer’s digital teams with tasks including consumer insight, marketing, user experience, trading and content.
Mothercare’s total UK sales have fallen 14.3 per cent to £196.2 million over the last six months, while like-for-like sales dropped 11 per cent. The retailer’s latest results showed a split between a 13.8 per cent drop in UK retail store sales and a 7.8 per cent drop in online sales. Revenues were reported down by over 13 per cent over the half year to 6 October, while total group revenues, including international sales, fell by 13.1 per cent to £295 million.
Amazon has suffered a data breach which caused customer names and email addresses to be disclosed on its website, just two days ahead of the Black Friday sales event. The e-commerce giant said it has emailed affected customers, but did not disclose any further details on the number of people who had data compromised, or where they were based. A statement explained that the issue was not a breach of its website or any of its systems, but a technical issue that inadvertently published people’s details.
One in five retail decision makers think artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and Internet of Things (IoT) devices could lead to the greatest improvements in customer experience.A survey of 100 retail customer experience decision-makers commissioned by Engage Hub, a data-driven customer engagement company, also found that 81 per cent of those asked said that improving customer experience was the most important business objective, trumping even net profit and revenue growth.
UK online retail sales growth hit the second lowest level (8.5 per cent year-on-year) ever recorded for October last month, as the subdued performance of online retail since the end of summer continued. The latest Capgemini and IMRG analysis found evidence for the tough period in the level of discounting on retail websites.
IKEA is to upgrade its e-commerce platform as part of a wide-ranging global transformation programme that could result in 7,500 jobs being axed in the next two years.The Swedish furniture giant announced that the transformation plans could result in staff being made redundant, mainly in global functions and offices in 30 markets.
AO World has warned of “challenging” trading conditions in Britain and Germany, as it issued first half-results that fell short of expectations.The online electrical goods retailer made a pre-tax loss of £5.4 million for the six months to the end of September, as UK growth slowed to 5.7 per cent, down from eight per cent in the first quarter, with the rate of growth halving in the three months to the end of September.
New research from Hitachi Consulting has revealed the extent to which retailers are embracing new technology to improve the customer experience. Over three quarters of major London retailers now use Click and Collect, while just under three quarters have installed in-store Wi-Fi. Almost two thirds also offer e-receipts, indicating that brands are also becoming savvier about linking their in-store and online presence.
Nearly 90 per cent of last year’s Black Friday deals were available to buy cheaper or at the same price at other times throughout the year, an investigation by Which? has found. The consumer watchdog warned shoppers to do their research before hitting the sales in search of bargains this Black Friday, after it tracked the prices of 94 popular products, including TVs, cameras and fitness trackers in the six months before and after last year's event.
ASOS is rolling out an artificial intelligence (AI) sizing tool across its global websites and mobile apps. The online fashion giant’s in-app Fit Assistant feature uses machine learning powered by Fit Analytics technology to provide bespoke sizing recommendations for customers on its product pages.
The personal and credit card details of thousands of customers of Vision Direct have been exposed following a major hack on the online contact delivery service.Vision Direct confirmed that customers entering their details onto its website between 3 and 8 November could have had their credit card numbers, expiration dates and CVV codes stolen, with 16,300 customers potentially affected.
Despite seeing online sales rise by 28.9 per cent during the six months to 29 September, Bonmarché saw in-store like-for-likes fall by four per cent. The women’s fashion retailer’s overall like-for-like sales fell by one per cent after the bricks and mortar side of the business was hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.
Google has partnered with UK startup NearSt to provide local stock updates and relevant retail information to its searches across the UK. With almost a third of all Google searches relating to location and over 80 per cent of all retail spending still taking place in physical shops, NearSt stated that this deal will help the High Street redress the balance with e-commerce giants.
Ocado is rolling out social and live chat technology to customers using a new digital CRM platform from Orlo. The online grocery delivery firm is the first to deploy Orlo’s live chat management platform which integrates with social media channels to enable companies to speak to customers across a range of digital channels and in real time.
Artificial intelligence-powered autonomous checkout provider Standard Cognition has raised $40 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Initialized Capital, with continued participation from CRV and Y Combinator, and new investors including Draper Associates. This brings the total amount raised to date by Standard to more than $51 million and will enable the company to expand its team and accelerate ongoing global expansion as it rolls out initial autonomous checkout-enabled stores.
Avius, a UK-based customer insight specialist, has signed a deal to launch its solution at an iconic US department store, believed to be Macy’s.The FinTech has installed its survey kiosks in the store’s changing rooms to collect data that can be used to improve overall customer experience.
Costa Coffee has partnered with Barclaycard to launch the UK’s first reusable contactless coffee cup.Available in Costa Coffee stores later this month, the ‘Clever Cup’ is powered by bPay by Barclaycard technology, letting users track their spending, top up their balance and take control to block or cancel the contactless payment element online or using the dedicated bPay app.
Instagram has announced three new ways to discover products, shop from followed brands and keep track of all product inspiration in one place. A statement from the Facebook-owned photographic social media company explained that users can now save items for later in their ‘Shopping Collection’, to help create wish-lists within the app.
Retail stores have apparently not lost their Christmas magic, with new research suggesting 71 per cent of UK shoppers appreciate the physical experience of browsing and buying gifts during the so-called ‘golden quarter’. A poll of 2,000 UK consumers conducted by retail technology provider Aptos also found that people are starting their shopping earlier, with many of them not waiting until Black Friday to get started.
Online sales as a total of all retailing increased to 18 per cent in October, from the 17.7 per cent reported in September, with textile, clothing and footwear stores continuing a record proportion of online sales at 18.2 per cent despite a fall in total retail spending in this sector. The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest figures also showed that online sales increased by 12.6 per cent year-on-year, with all sectors except food showing strong growth. Household goods stores reported the largest year-on-year growth of 26.5 per cent.
Digital challenger banks enjoyed success at last night’s Payments Awards, with Starling Bank and ClearBank both picking up two awards each. The sixth annual industry event was held at the Grosvenor Square Marriott hotel in London, with a record number of entries across the 24 categories.
ASDA is partnering with credit and payments provider JajaPay to offer customers the option of spreading the cost of goods and clothing on George.com, the supermarket’s online clothing and home site.The point of sale (PoS) credit facility, which requires pre-approval, take less than a minute to set up before customers can start to use their line of credit immediately.
New benchmark data from ACI Worldwide has projected a 14 per cent increase in fraud attempts during the upcoming peak holiday shopping season. Based on hundreds of millions of merchant transactions, including some of the UK’s biggest High Street retailers, the data shows that fraud attempts are going to be at their highest across the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend.
Holland & Barrett has reported group digital sales growth of 32.2 per cent, with digital participation of 10.1 per cent, over the year to 30 September. The UK-based health and wellness retailer’s preliminary results revealed group revenues up 7.1 per cent to £702.5 million, edging operating profit up 1.3 per cent to £152.1 million.
Shoppers are set to spend a total of £8.29 billion over the upcoming Cyber Weekend, equivalent to £13.41 million for every minute of the four-day discounting frenzy. A study of 2,000 UK shoppers carried out by the Centre for Retail Research and VoucherCodes.co.uk revealed that consumers are set to spend six per cent more in the weekend beginning with Black Friday on 23 November than the £7.78 billion spent last year.
Delivery company Hermes has chosen cloud communications software provider IMImobile for the implementation of a new parcel notifications strategy, as part of its ‘Digital Futures’ programme. Hermes will be using IMImobile’s enterprise cloud communications platform IMIconnect to power millions of delivery notifications each month on behalf of their retail customers.
New research has found that 96 per cent of retailers rely on manual processes for their pricing and replenishment strategies, missing out on opportunities to improve customer experience and compete with online retailers by automating. In September, Vanson Bourne polled 200 senior IT and business decision-makers in retailers across the UK, Germany and the US on behalf of Blue Yonder and JDA. Of the retailers questioned, 23 per cent came from the fashion sector, 34 per cent from general merchandise, 21 per cent from grocery and 22 per cent from the department store sector.
Despite frequent warnings of the UK High Street’s demise, London’s West End has retained its position as the best-performing retail centre in Europe, according to figures from independent retail real estate agency Harper Dennis Hobbs. With a market share of almost €10.4 billion, the West End is continuing to thrive, even with competition from new retail developments such as King’s Cross and Westfield London, as well as a drop in the value of the pound against the euro.
Homebase.co.uk has been rated the worst online retailer in the UK for 2018, according to the latest Which? annual online shop survey. Which? asked more than 10,000 people to rate the most popular online shops based on experiences they have had in the past six months. Those surveyed were also asked to rate websites for their experiences buying particular items and consider a variety of factors including price, product range, deliveries, product quality and the returns process.
Arcadia Group’s High Street fashion brands, including Topshop, Miss Selfridge and Burton, are set to roll out Klarna’s new ‘slice it in 3’ payment option. The system offers shoppers the chance to pay for their purchases in three equal instalments, interest free, with no late payment charges.
Growing at a rate of 16 per cent annually in the UK, mobile or m-commerce is set to be worth £88.1 billion by 2022, according to new data from Worldpay. The company’s 2018 Global Payments Report compiles data from 36 countries using a combination of third-party vendors and other publicly available information, which is then analysed using a proprietary model, with support from McKinsey. It also draws upon Worldpay’s processing of more than 40 billion transactions annually via more than 300 payment types, across 146 countries and 126 currencies.
A quarter of UK fashion retailers’ stock is unavailable online with less than a month to go before Black Friday, according to new analysis.Data analysis of 100 large and mid-sized fashion retailers by OneStock, a stock unification technology firm, on 23 October- four weeks before Black Friday - showed that on average a quarter of all stock keeping units (SKUs) were missing from the brands’ websites.
New research from Adyen has revealed that 60 per cent of retailers in Europe saw an increase in fraud in the past year, while 69 per cent of consumers say they would avoid merchants that fall victim to a data breach. The payments platform surveyed 5,000 shoppers and 500 retailers in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and the Nordics. It found that consumers are willing to change their shopping behaviour if it would help protect their financial details, with 55 per cent suggesting they would pay with cards more frequently if it helped to reduce the risk of fraud, while 44 per cent said they would pay through an app if it did the same.
Accessorize has seen conversion rates rise 65 per cent after rolling out customer generated content across its social media channels.The High Street accessories retailer deployed Fanreel technology from social commerce company Curalate, which curates customer images from Instagram and Facebook and posts them to a gallery on the Accessorize website.
Alibaba Group generated $30.8 billion of gross merchandise volume (GMV) yesterday during the annual Singles Day event – an increase of 27 per cent compared to 2017. Meanwhile, transaction volume on JD.com reached a record $23 billion during its Singles Day Shopping Festival - from 1 to 11 November - the first in which the e-commerce giant worked with bricks and mortar retail partners.
Footfall fell by two per cent year-on-year in October, an identical drop to that recorded in October 2017 and a deeper decline than September 2018, when footfall was down by 1.7 per cent. October also marks the eleventh month of consecutive footfall decline, although there are signs that consumers are waiting for Black Friday and seasonal discounts before visiting shops, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard data.
Online electrical retailer AO World has conditionally agreed to acquire online-only phone retailer Mobile Phones Direct for £32.5 million. According to a statement, the deal will significantly increase the scale and sophistication of AO’s mobile proposition, which is currently limited to the sale of handsets only, without airtime or associated services.
While in the UK people will be marking Remembrance Day with sombre reflection, in China, 11 November means Singles Day, which has become the world’s largest off and online shopping spree. Originally dreamed up by lonely students at Nanjing University in 1993, the celebration of being single - the 11 representing two single people - has since been capitalised upon by the country’s largest retailers.
Leading ‘fast fashion’ e-tailers have been called to give evidence to parliament on the effect of cheap clothes on the environment and workers’ wages. The Environmental Audit Committee has written to Amazon, Asos, Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Misguided to invite them to contribute to its inquiry on the waste generated by discarded ‘wear-once’ fashion.
New data has shown that the uptake of mobile payments such as Apple, Google and Android Pay in the UK has quadrupled over the last two years. The Cardlytics figures are based on 190 million transactions made by 6.4 million bank customers in the UK who actively use their cards once per week, looking at all transactions during the last two years.
A net total of 1,123 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets in the first half of this year, as only 1,569 shops opened, compared to 2,692 closures. Research compiled for PwC by the Local Data Company showed that a combination of growth in online shopping, shift to in-home leisure, heightened restructuring activity and ongoing digitisation of services caused store closures to reach record levels.
New research has revealed that 82 per cent of retailers are committed to implementing a data-centric strategy in the next five years, and 58 per cent of retail decisions are being guided by data, but almost half are yet to implement a single customer view in the omnichannel era. The study, conducted for in-memory analytics database creator Exasol by research firm Vanson Bourne, looked at how and why organisations are transforming from business intelligence to data analytics.
Sainsbury’s has announced a bump in sales on the back of good weather and early returns on its takeover of catalogue retailer Argos.Underlying profits at the supermarket rose 20 per cent to £302 million for the first half of the year, with pre-tax profits for the 28 weeks to 22 September down at £132 million, compared to £220 million for the same period in 2017.
Online sales of clothing and footwear from e-commerce retailers are set to soar by 67.4 per cent over the next five years, reaching £7.5 billion, according to a new forecast from GlobalData. Analysis included in GlobalData’s report into the future of growth of pureplay online retailers suggested that purchases from these sites will occur for a third of all clothing and footwear sales by 2023.
Burberry Group has reported operating profits up 36 per cent to £173 million for the half year to the end of September, despite sales falling three per cent year-on-year to £1.22 billion. Retail comparable store sales were up by three per cent, but total wholesale revenue declined 18 per cent, reflecting changes in operation of the beauty business, which transitioned to a licensed business model this time last year.
IKEA has partnered with digital insight company ContentSquare to enable staff to access customer website insights at speed. The content, sales, user experience and customer teams all needed different insights on visitor behaviour, from identifying visitor frustration to measuring conversion, which IKEA’s existing analytics toolset had struggled to cope with.
Online sales at Hugo Boss were up 38 per cent in the third quarter - eclipsing overall sales growth of one per cent - following a tie-up with online marketplace Zalando. The German fashion house reported “solid” sales growth for the three months to October, bolstered by strong online sales, as the business looks to collaborate more closely with Zalando for its digital operations.
The Marks & Spencer Group has reported losses across its clothing, home and food departments in its half year results. Profit before tax and adjusting items was up by two per cent, but clothing and home revenue was down 2.7 per cent - impacted by store closures, with like-for-like sales down 1.1 per cent - while food revenue fell 0.2 per cent - with like-for-like revenue down 2.9 per cent, reflecting tough trading conditions.
Retailers are losing out on valuable sales from wealthy Baby Boomers due to their relentless focus on wooing Millennial shoppers, according to new research.Research from Hitachi Consulting found that 74 per cent of physical stores are targeting consumers in the 19-38 year-old age bracket in order to maximise sales from mobile and digital, along with a view to securing the loyalty of the next generation of shoppers.
European retailers are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) as they struggle to make sense of their data and deliver more relevant, personalised customer experiences, while staying on the right side of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This is according to research from Adobe, which commissioned research company Coleman Parkes to interview 600 senior business decision-makers, comprising 100 respondents from the UK, Benelux, France, Germany, the Nordics and Switzerland during August and September.
Online lifestyle store Yoox has today launched own-brand 8 by Yoox, a collection of women and men’s clothing powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Before putting pen to paper on each collection, the design team uses advanced AI tools to review content from across social media and online magazines in key markets with a particular focus on fashion influencers.
UK retail sales nearly flatlined in October with an increase of just 0.1 per cent on a year-on-year, like-for-like basis, while on a total basis, sales were up 1.3 per cent last month. However, over the three months to October, in-store sales of non-food items declined two per cent on a total basis and 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KMPG figures.
The UK’s online retailers have topped a new ranking of companies for overall digital maturity - a measure of a firm's progress on the journey to digital transformation. A study by technology consultancy BearingPoint of 593 companies across eight countries, as well as 10 different industry sectors in the UK, revealed that retailers are leading the way in areas such e-commerce and social media.
Online traffic to UK retailers’ websites grew four per cent in the third quarter, driven by breakaway growth in mobile, according to the latest data from Salesforce commerce cloud. The latest quarterly Shopping Index from the cloud-based software giant analysed the activity and trends of more than 500 million shoppers worldwide.
Starting today, customers at Carrefour Italia market and express stores can pay for their groceries via smartphone directly from their current account using the Jiffy service from SIA. After opening the Intesa Sanpaolo mobile app, customers point at the QR code generated at the cash desk with their smartphone and the transaction is completed.
The government is launching research into the way online retailers are using personal data to target consumers through personalised pricing.The joint project with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is in response to concerns about use of customer data such as geography and marital status to determine dynamic pricing, which some consumer groups have warned could lead to shoppers being ripped off.
Shoppers made 12.7 million complaints about poor service in the retail sector in 2017, according to a new report. Data compiled by Ombudsman Services, a not-for-profit company offering independent dispute resolution, revealed that complaints against retailers accounted for a quarter of complaints across all sectors.
Toys R Us has launched a new e-commerce website to support the growth of its multichannel retail business in the Middle East. Launched in 1995 by Dubai-based franchisee Al-Futtaim, Toys R Us MENA is now present in 19 locations in the Middle East and North Africa region – in contrast to the UK, where the brand went into administration in the first quarter of this year.
Digital sales will account for 55 per cent of all retail sales in Europe by 2022, climbing to a total value of €1 trillion, according to a new study. Data from the latest Retail Wave analysis by Forrester found that more than half of all retail sales will take place online or will be digitally-influenced offline sales within the next four years.
UK shoppers are set to spend a record £1.54 billion online during Black Friday, up 13 per cent on last year’s pre-Christmas discounting day, according to new figures. A study of 210 retail websites by IMRG, the e-commerce trade body, throughout the month of November last year showed a steady rise in discounting and sales activity in the weeks leading up to ‘Black Friday’ on 23 November.
UK brands continue to grow their international appeal, with overseas mobile searches for British goods up 18 per cent in the third quarter – up one per cent on the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Google’s online retail monitor. The data shows that growth for UK-based brands was significantly higher in countries from within the European Union (EU) than non-EU countries during the three months to October, despite rising political tensions over the UK’s efforts to secure a Brexit agreement.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of retailers have suffered a loss of network connectivity affecting key technology such as point of sale devices and stock management systems. A survey of more than 300 IT managers, information officers and chief technology officers in UK retail for CSL, a secure connections provider for IoT and M2M devices, also found that 44 per cent of retailers experience an outage of wifi or network connectivity once every month.
Amazon has launched Prime Wardrobe, an online fashion service allowing UK shoppers to ‘try before they buy’. Following a successful trial of the fast fashion service in the US, Prime Wardrobe is now available to Amazon Prime subscribers in the UK.They will be able to order items with free delivery, try them on at home and pay for those that they decide to keep.
Online sales at Next soared by 12.7 per cent in the third quarter, heading off a continuing decline in sales on the High Street.Third quarter results for the fashion and homeware retailer –considered a bellwether for trade on the UK High Street - showed that store sales were down by eight per cent year on year and 6.3 per cent in the year to date compared to last year.
More than a quarter (27 per cent) of retailers fear their employees lack the digital skills needed to implement new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, according to new research. A survey of 200 senior executives at major UK and French retailers conducted for VoucherCodes.co.uk found that providing customers with a seamless omnichannel experience topped their list of concerns, followed closely by the challenge of finding the right digital talent to upgrade their systems to the digital age.
Three quarters of retail chief investment officers believe there is a risk their organisation could roll-out Internet of Things (IoT) strategies without having a plan in place to manage performance. Research from software intelligence company Dynatrace suggested this would be extremely damaging, with 67 per cent of retail CIOs predicting IoT will become a major performance burden, as they struggle to overcome the complexity it introduces.
Following two months of mild inflation, shop prices moved back into deflationary territory in October. Year-on-year, prices have decreased by 0.2 per cent, compared to the 0.2 per cent increase seen in September, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures.
Shoppers are spending an average of 14 per cent more when they opt for click and collect delivery, according to new data. HubBox, a software-based Click & Collect provider, conducted an analysis of sales data from UK retailers with a miniumum volume of 10,000 parcels a month covering a range of products including fashion, footwear, sports and homewear.
Despite the hype, research by IDEX Biometrics has revealed that mobile payments are almost as unpopular as cheques, with payment cards still overwhelmingly the most popular method when it comes to in-store purchases for UK consumers. The fingerprint identification technology firm carried out 1,000 interviews in the UK using an online methodology amongst a nationally representative sample of adult consumers. It found that three quarters of respondents use cards - including contactless - most often, compared to cash (21 per cent), mobile payments (three per cent) and cheques (one per cent).
Halfords has completed a significant investment in bespoke retail displays at 401 stores, helping to roll out the latest in-car technology products. Completed this August, the investment comprises bespoke retail play tables and gondolas which allow customers to interact with car reversing cameras and dashboard cameras.
The London North Eastern Railway (LNER) has awarded ECR Retail Systems (ECR) a contract for its mobile electronic point of sale (MPoS) system. The company’s RailPoS payment technology will now support rail crews on the London King’s Cross to Edinburgh route as they provide at-seat services to customers.
Philip Hammond has announced a £675 million Future High Streets Fund as part of a raft of Budget measures aimed at bolstering Britain’s struggling High Streets. Setting out his Budget plans, the chancellor confirmed that business rates would be cut by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less until 2021, when the next formal rates evaluation takes place.
The John Lewis Partnership’s JLAB technology innovation programme has launched a challenge to find startups and established businesses which are creating retail experiences which could shape how we shop in the future. Successful entrants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas with John Lewis & Partners, as it invests in service and services.
The overwhelming majority (87 per cent) of retailers are not yet running “optimum IT systems”, according to new research. A survey of 150 IT decision makers led by enterprise IT provider Cogeco Peer 1 in the run up to the peak shopping events of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, also found that 83 per cent of those which had carried out an IT system upgrade said it had not lived up to expectations.
The chancellor is gearing up to offer a £1.5 billion relief package to shore up embattled High Street retailers in today’s Budget.In his speech this afternoon, the Treasury is briefing that Philip Hammond will announce an immediate cut to business rate bills by almost a third for almost half a million small retailers, worth £900m.
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of High Street retailers are failing to adapt to customer expectations of convenience and pricing, according to a new survey by YouGov and shipping company ParcelLab. The day after Debenhams announced plans to close 50 stores over the next three to five years, the survey of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that bricks and mortar retailers are failing to match up to their online rivals on price, convenience and after-sales service.
Online gifting marketplace Notonthehighstreet has “ripped up” its systems in order to keep up with the data load and regulatory responsibilities of running a fast-growing online marketplace, according to the company’s data director. Speaking at an event in London yesterday, Andrew Thomas described the process of migrating the site’s architecture from outdated legacy systems, in place since the site was first founded in 2006, to data warehousing service Snowflake.
Richemont and Alibaba Group have announced a global strategic partnership to bring the Swiss luxury goods group’s Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) brands to Chinese consumers. Under the partnership, YNAP and Alibaba will establish a joint venture to launch two mobile apps for Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter, along with in-season online stores for consumers in China.
More than half of shoppers (51 per cent) say they would buy more frequently if they could shop via chatbot and 41 per cent would be more likely to spend through a smart speaker device, according to a new report.A survey of over 5,000 shoppers and 500 retailers, carried out by payment service Adyen and 451 Research, found that failure to meet customer expectations of technology, payments and in-store experiences have cost the retail industry an estimated over €16.3 billion in lost sales over the past 12 months.
Independent retail discounting levels have increased by six per cent over the past two years, as market pressures continue to drive product markdowns. This is according to UK customer transaction data from retail software provider Vend running from September 2016 to October 2018 with a sample size of 600 retailers.
Debenhams will be closing up to 50 stores over the next three to five years, putting around 4,000 jobs at risk, as it tries to adapt to changes on the UK High Street. In its preliminary results statement for the year to September, the department store reported a full-year loss of £491.5 million, when exceptional charges relating to its ‘Debenhams Redesigned’ strategy and write-downs from goodwill and store impairment were taken into account.
SafeCharge has partnered with World Duty Free at London Heathrow Airport to let Chinese travelers pay for goods using WeChat Pay, a widely adopted e-wallet solution in China. According to VisitBritain, over 330,000 Chinese travelers visited the UK during last year alone, injecting over one billion pounds into the economy in 2017.
Despite the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect over four months ago, the majority of UK retail businesses are risking penalties by failing to adhere to some of the rules. According to a survey of 1,002 UK workers in full or part-time employment, carried out by Probrand, the majority (57 per cent) of retailers failed to wipe the data from IT equipment they disposed of in the two months following GDPR.
In-store shopping is still the dominant method of shopping for the majority of UK consumers, with 63 per cent buying in a physical store in the last six months compared to 48 per cent who have shopped online. A survey of 3,000 consumers in the US, Australia and the UK by e-commerce platform BigCommerce also found that Amazon remains the go-to online marketplace for Brits, with 86 per cent saying they had shopped there in the past six months.
UK online retailers are facing tough competition as 70 per cent of UK consumers now buy goods from overseas merchants, compared to 53 per cent four years ago. The figures come from e-payment specialists PPRO Group, which found that China (45 per cent), the US (43 per cent) and mainland Europe (34 per cent) were the most popular places for UK online shoppers to buy from.
The 2018 Unisys Security Index has revealed that 64 per cent of UK citizens would welcome having a unique code for extra security when making purchases online, and saw it as a very positive move to combat online fraud. In addition, 55 per cent of respondents said they would like all online purchases to be subject to verification.
More than half (52 per cent) of online small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) globally worry that the move to frictionless payments - such as transactions that take place behind the scenes in apps - is leaving them more open to fraud and will negatively impact revenues. In the UK, this concern is heightened by the fact that two thirds of SMBs believe they are being more aggressively targeted by fraudsters now compared to a year ago and 43 per cent consider card fraud an increasing challenge.
Retailers across the European Union have halved the number of automated marketing emails they send to consumers since 25 May, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. But those emails are now almost a third more likely to be opened and produce two times more sales revenue according to a new study from Nosto.
A group of more than 300 retailers have called on the chancellor to modernise its tax-free shopping system. Led by the British Retail Consortium and New West End Company, the group also includes hundreds of retailers in London’s West End, as well as Harrods and Bicester Village shopping centre, represents almost the entire UK tax-free shopping industry.
Revenues generated by Internet of Things (IoT) retail platforms will exceed $4.3 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $890 million in 2018. According to the analysis from Juniper Research, challenging retail conditions, exacerbated by strong competition in the retail sector, the rise of e-commerce and spiralling rental costs, are acting as a ‘push factor’ for retailers to adopt IoT platforms.
Morrisons is facing a potentially massive payout after losing an appeal in the High Court against a ruling from December 2017 which found the supermarket chain legally responsible for a data breach in 2014. The result paves the way for compensation claims by 5,518 former and current staff members whose data was posted on the internet.
Monsoon has reported that trials of shoppable posts on its social media channels have driven a 29 per cent increase in the amount of time people spend on its website. The High Street women’s fashion retailer is trialling technology from social e-commerce firm Curalate which aims to turn images and videos in posts across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter into a virtual pop-up shop.
Dr. Martens has pinned its future on direct-to-consumer (D2C) channels, after the strategy pushed group revenue up by a fifth to £348.6 million and earnings before tax up by a third to £50 million. The British footwear retailer’s like-for-like retail revenue also rose by seven per cent over the 12 months to 31 March, with D2C revenue up by 26 per cent to £140.7 million.
A new report into the growth potential of 2,000 medium-sized retailers has found that they tend to have quicker-loading mobile web pages than larger competitors, but are less well set up to cross-sell products. InternetRetailing and Ingenico Group compared and contrasted data on the IRUK Top500 - the country’s largest e-commerce and multichannel retailers - with the Growth 2000 (G2K) - the 2,000 retailers immediately below the largest retailers.
Pinterest is rolling out new e-commerce features enabling users to shop for items they find on the platform by linking directly to retailers’ websites. A blog posted to the company’s website this week announced that hundreds of millions of ‘pins’ would be enabled with shoppable links, along with up-to-date pricing and stock information synced from retailers’ websites. The product pins appear on the search, home feed and related pins sections.
Despite tough times for the UK’s High Streets, research from Barclays has revealed that overall sales of clothing and accessories have seen a two per cent growth year-on-year to June 2018, bolstered by the rapid growth in online sales. Using data aggregated from more than eight million customers by its Market and Customer Insight service, the bank showed that whilst in-store purchases continue to make up the majority of sales at 63 per cent, the growth in transactions has been driven by online, with its share increasing rapidly from 30 to 37 per cent over the past two years.
Amazon has announced plans to open a new corporate office in Manchester in 2019 and increase the capacity of its Scotland Development Centre and Cambridge Development Centre, providing additional capacity for over 1,000 new technology-focused roles in the UK. The Manchester office will be located in the city’s Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter. The site will have capacity to create at least 600 new roles, with highly-skilled teams working on projects including software development, machine learning and research.
Retail fraud jumped by 27 per cent in the year to June 2018, according to the latest crime figures from the Office for National Statistics. The national Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) revealed that despite a stabilisation in fraud figures overall, recorded offences against consumers and retailers rose from 727,000 in July 2016-June 2017 to 923,000 in the same period in 2017-2018 – marking a total increase of 196,000 incidents (27 per cent).
Pay.UK, the retail payments authority formerly known as the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), has today published a procurement prospectus with the aim of finding a strategic partner to help deliver retail payment infrastructure. The publication marks the starting point of a competitive process to appoint an organisation to define, deliver and operate the New Payments Architecture (NPA), which will safely and securely process trillions of pounds worth of payments every year.
In the three months to September, the quantity of retail sales increased by 1.2 per cent compared with the previous three months, with strong sales in online retailing. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed internet sales up by 11 per cent year-on-year in September, with all sectors showing strong year-on-year growth.
New research suggests than one in five shoppers are routinely disappointed by their online purchases, forcing many to return goods or switch to other retailers. A survey of 2,000 online shoppers in the UK commissioned by inRiver, a product management tech provider, also revealed that almost a third of shoppers (31 per cent) will jump to another site within 10 seconds if the information available on an item is lacking.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of retailers are planning to ban ‘serial returners’ – those shoppers who deliberately and regularly buy multiple items with the intent to return some. This is according to a survey from Brightpearl conducted last month among 4,000 adults who shop online in the UK and the US, in combination with the views of 200 UK and US retail decision makers. It found that over a third of UK retailers have seen an uplift in serial returners over the last 12 months.
Visa is expanding its Token Service for credential-on-file (COF) token requestors, helping to increase security for consumer payments in digital channels. Acquirer gateway and technology partners Adyen, AsiaPay, Braintree, Checkout.com, Cherri Tech, CyberSource, Elavon, Ezidebit, eWAY, Fit-Pay, Giesecke & Devrient, PayPal, Payscout, Rambus, SafeCharge, SecureCo, Square, Stripe, Worldpay and YellowPepper will now be able to tokenise COF digital payments on behalf of their merchant and payment clients.
Almost half of consumers (47 per cent), say they are happy for brands to use artificial intelligence (AI) instead of humans to personalise their marketing messages provided that it makes their offers and recommendations more personalised. A survey of 2000 UK consumers conducted by marketing firm Emarsys on the efficacy of marketing messages suggested that only 6 per cent of shoppers believe the product offers they receive are specifically relevant to them.
UK online retail sales in September grew at their lowest level - 7.5 per cent year-on-year - since 2014, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini index. Online sales have faltered since England’s World Cup exit in July and the close of the hot summer, and despite a brief uplift around the August bank holiday, growth fell to a new 2018 low in September.
Automated bots are increasingly sophisticated in their methods of hijacking e-commerce sites, an industry insider has warned.Speaking at the Internet Retailing Conference, Sean Bennett, director of consumer markets at cybersecurity firm Shape Security, warned that cyber criminals have become so effective at disguising automated bots as real shoppers that some 63 per cent of visits and impressions recorded by targeted sites are fake, rising to 93 per cent of log-ons.
ASOS has reported a sales increase of 26 per cent to £2.53 billion during the financial year to the end of August. The online fashion and footwear retailer’s profit before tax was £102 million, up from £80 million the previous year. Group revenues rose to £2.42 billion from £1.92 billion year-on-year.
Retailers need to embrace emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) if they are to compete, according to Facebook’s head of retail. Speaking at the Internet Retailing conference in London, Maureen McDonagh warned that retailers should aim to ‘test and learn’ and become early adopters of new technology to avoid being left behind when devices and software have matured and entered the mainstream.
UK consumers should spend £4.75 billion on Black Friday, with £2.23 billion - or 47 per cent of the total - to be spent online, according to Salmon. The digital commerce consultancy’s survey of 2,000 consumers in the UK showed consumers will spend on average £90 on Black Friday, with the 25-34 age range splashing more cash than anyone else (£154). Men will also spend 34 per cent more than women on average, although women are more likely to spend their money online (49 per cent vs 46 per cent for men).
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has restated its calls for the chancellor to freeze business tax rates, while also requesting changes to post-Brexit import VAT and new regulation on the payments industry. Ahead of the Autumn Budget statement, the BRC said Philip Hammond must address the “unsustainable burden” being placed on the retail industry by business rates and take action to reform a “broken and outdated” system of business taxation.
Contactless transactions have overtaken chip and pin payments for the first time in the UK, as consumers embrace more convenient forms of payment, according to the latest figures from Worldpay. Analysis of card transactions processed by the company in the UK between January and July 2018 versus the previous year, showed contactless usage jumping by 30 per cent to become the most popular form of card payment for in-store transactions.
Men’s fashion app Thread has raised $22 million in Series B funding to drive its team of artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and boost marketing efforts. The UK-based e-commerce startup, which started out of the Y Combinator startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, uses a combination of AI algorithms and a team of stylists to suggest personalised wardrobe recommendations for style-conscious men.
Moonpig, the online retailer of personalised cards, gifts and flowers, is to open its first tech hub in Manchester.The site, which will open on November 1, is part of a multi-million pound investment programme for the ecommerce company and will create 50 new technology jobs.
Footfall on the High Street fell 2.2 per cent in September, down 1.7 per cent on the same month last year and marking a second consecutive month of decline.
Figures compiled by the British Retail Consortium and Nielsen Shop Prices show that the year-on-year decline in footfall (1.7 per cent) nudged up slightly on August’s y-o-y decline (1.6 per cent) owing to combined pressure on household budgets, sluggish wage growth and rising inflation.
Amazon has announced it is to open its first fashion pop-up store in London’s Baker Street later this month. The e-commerce giant will use the 3,000 sq ft site to roll out ranges of men’s and women’s fashion from 23 to 27 October.
The e-commerce giant will use the 3,000 sq ft site to roll out ranges of men’s and women’s fashion from 23 to 27 October.
The website and brand of High Street fashion store Coast was bought by rival retailer Karen Millen last night after the chain collapsed into administration. Last night administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers said the sale of the chain to Karen Millen would save around 600 jobs, but 300 roles are understood to be at risk. The collapse means all 24 of Coast’s standalone stores are to close.
The annual Chinese ‘Golden Week’ holiday has provided British High Street retailers with a sales boost as transactions with Chinese payment methods increased by 30 per cent. This is according to figures from payment platform Adyen, which analysed its own network transactions in the UK completed with Chinese payment cards or payment methods across the period of 1-7 October.
New research has revealed that 44 per cent of UK retail staff think the biggest frustration in the industry is using outdated technology and a lack of training. A survey of more than 500 retail workers by retail IT consultancy and technology firm REPL Group also found that job insecurity due to High Street closures was a major concern for 22 per cent of retail workers, while 15 per cent said that customers coming into store for advice, only to then buy the item online, is their biggest frustration.
ASOS has launched voice shopping via Google Assistant, becoming one of the first UK fashion retailers to do so. The e-commerce brand has expanded the capabilities of ‘fashionbot’ Enki, which launched on Facebook Messenger earlier this year to help customers discover relevant products.
Gap has selected Adyen to manage its in-store and online payments across Europe. The platform provider’s payment technology will be rolled out in over 150 stores across the UK, France, Italy and Ireland, giving Gap a consistent experience across different markets. The online business for both Gap and Banana Republic will also use the payments platform, unifying online and in-store.
The founder and chief of Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has revealed plans to launch an artificial intelligence-informed label in the next few weeks. Speaking at the Wired Smarter conference yesterday, Federico Marchetti explained that the range will be “generated by data but designed by our creative team”.
Women’s fashion retailer Sosandar expects to report a 407 per cent increase in half year revenue, compared to the same period last year. In a statement, the company said sales are expected to rise to £1.84 million for the six months to 30 September, following record monthly revenues during the summer.
European supermarket Carrefour is deploying IBM blockchain across its stores to enable customers to trace their food’s journey from producer to shop.The French retail giant is collaborating with IBM’s Food Trust platform to roll the distributed ledger technology (DLT) out across its Quality Line product range in the next few years.
In September, UK retail sales decreased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from September 2017, when they had increased 1.9 per cent from the preceding year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures for the five weeks from 26 August to 29 September, showed that on a total basis, sales increased 0.7 per cent in September, against an increase of 2.3 per cent in September 2017.
H&M has invested $20 million into a global partnership with Klarna to integrate the fashion retailer’s digital and physical stores to give a seamless, personalised and engaging shopping experience. Klarna’s payment platform will power frictionless in-store, mobile and online payments, simplified deliveries and returns, along with the ‘try before you buy’ Pay later service. All of these will be integrated into the next generation of the H&M app and H&M Club.
Amazon is reportedly weighing up several brick-and-mortar retail sites as part of plans for the roll out of checkout-free Amazon Go stores in Europe. The e-commerce giant is seeking out stores of between 4,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft to house its cashierless grocery stores, according to sources close the situation quoted by the Sunday Times.
Quiz has issued a profit warning due to lower than expected sales from third party online partners, poor performance in UK stores and concessions last month, and a £400,000 provision against outstanding debt linked to House of Fraser’s collapse. Over the six months to 30 September, the fashion retailer stated earnings would be “no less” than £5.5 million, down £1.5 million on previous expectations.
Matalan has seen online growth up by a quarter during the second quarter, driving total revenue to £262.4 million. The fashion and homeware retailer’s results for the 13 weeks ended 25 August also revealed full price sales growth of 3.3 per cent, which edged earnings before tax up to £22.8 million for the period.
New research has revealed that 69 per cent of consumers - rising to 86 per cent amongst the Millennials - believe that technology helps retailers build stronger relationships with customers. Retail technology firm Conversity polled 1,000 UK-based consumers, divided evenly between baby boomers (ages 54-72), Generation X (ages 38-53) and Millennials (ages 21-37), finding that alongside their general belief that technology in retail is a positive, two-thirds stated that the quality of advice provided online is crucial when purchasing high-value products, and almost half said that comprehensive sales information is important when shopping in a physical store.
Pessimism in the retail sector is at its highest level since 2012, with the majority of retail business chairmen unclear about the year ahead and frustrated by the lack of clarity from government. The ninth annual Korn Ferry UK retail chairman survey - conducted among 34 retail chairmen in businesses generating annual revenues exceeding £261 billion - found that the UK’s likely departure from the European Union next March is the greatest source of concern.
Waitrose & Partners is to become the UK’s first supermarket to deliver groceries to customers inside the home and put them away while they are out. The retailer will initially test demand for the new service, called ‘While You’re Away’, with 100 customers located within the delivery area of its online order fulfilment centre in Coulsdon, south London.
Global Payments has formed a new partnership in the UK with Alipay, enabling merchants to provide a seamless shopping experience to the Chinese tourist market. Nearly 350,000 Chinese nationals visited the UK in 2017, spending almost £700 million, with mobile payments being the most popular form of payment.
A new study has revealed the retail sector experienced an average of seven cyber attacks in the past 12 months, costing an average of almost £3 million. The seven attacks on average in 2018 compares to four attacks in 2017, costing a mere £1.3m by comparison, according to research from network security specialist EfficientIP.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of physical shops in the UK has fallen by almost 3,200 over the past four years, down 1.2 per cent to 263,070. Rachel Lund, head of insights and analytics at the British Retail Consortium, said that retail is undergoing a transformation driven by changes in shopping habits, new technology, stiff competition and an increasing regulatory burden.
The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has said the bank is increasingly cautious about lending to retailers, especially those who are failing to make the leap from bricks and mortar stores into the digital retail model. Speaking to the BBC, Ross McEwan also warned that a bad Brexit could tip the UK economy into recession and said mounting concerns about future growth were resulting in reluctance to invest in sectors such as retail and construction.
Italian fashion house The Trussardi Group has repositioned its brand in the contemporary luxury market, moving its business model from wholesale to omnichannel retail with a solution from Dedagroup Stealth. The group transitioned from a wholesale to a retail business model, based on a network of proprietary and franchised stores. This was underpinned by a “rigid legacy system and built on an internal production footprint”, according to a statement, which “characterised the company in the nineties”.
After five years of deflation, for the second consecutive month, shop prices increased year-on-year in September, inching up to 0.2 per cent from 0.1 per cent in August. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures also revealed that non-food deflation eased slightly in September to 0.9 per cent from one per cent in August, while food inflation was steady in September at 1.9 per cent.
Failure to reply to customer complaints posted on social media could be costing businesses up to £500,000 a year, according to new research. A study of over 2,000 UK shoppers by Qudini, a cloud-based customer relations management platform, found that 16 per cent had posted a complaint across a company’s social media channel only to have their comments ignored.
Half of fashion retailers want to invest in high tech features such as augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), even though four in five shoppers say they are not be interested in using it. This is according to research from Klarna and Censuswide which surveyed 2,000 shoppers and 50 decision makers in fashion retail.
Online retailer Notonthehighstreet has poached ASOS’ technology director Richard Zubrick as its next chief technology officer (CTO). The e-tailer, which specialises in gifting through its online marketplace, announced yesterday that Zubrick will join the company in January 2019.
Marks & Spencer has a launched a new scan-and-pay service at its Edgware Road and Waterside Simply Food stores in London. The Mobile, Pay, Go service will also be rolled out to its West Hampstead, Bankside, Canary Wharf and Stratford Westfield shops in the coming weeks, following a successful trial over the summer.
The chancellor has pledged a new "digital sales tax" to redress the taxation balance between High Street retailers and online technology companies. Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference yesterday, Philip Hammond said that taxing international companies would have to be through international agreements.
Half of retailers rank as ‘beginners’ in terms of customer loyalty programmes, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Collinson. The company surveyed 635 decision makers at organisations with revenues exceeding $300 million in the UK, North America, Hong Kong, China, India, UAE, Singapore, Brazil, Australia, France, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and South Africa.
Selfridges has continued to defy High Street woes by posting record sales growth of 11.5 per cent to more than £1.75 billion. The department store, which continues to prove the strength of the luxury market, despite a decline in bricks and mortar retail, attributed the jump in sales to a £300 million revamp of its flagship Oxford Street store.
Chatbots have topped the list of tech solutions companies are most keen to embrace as part of their digital transformation plans, according to new research. Code Computerlove, a digital agency, surveyed nearly 500 purchasing managers and decision makers responsible for digital operations in their businesses. It revealed that 60 per cent think that AI-driven and automated chat services are likely to be the most important way of engaging with customers in the next five years.
Shares in H&M have soared after it reported strong revenue growth driven by a 32 per cent jump in online sales. Third quarter results from the High Street fashion giant- which also owns the Cos and Monki brands- showed revenues up nine per cent to £5.59bn, which it said was mostly down to strong performance online.
Amazon has launched a new store selling only items from its website that have been rated 4 stars or over, in the latest stage of the e-commerce giant’s physical retail strategy. The store, called Amazon 4-star, was opened in a permanent location in the SoHo neighbourhood of New York.
Shoppable adverts are now available to any advertiser through Snapchat’s self-serve buying tool, after initial testing saw significant engagement and conversion performance.The new, made-for-commerce format allows a brand to feature a collection of products on their Snap Ad, where users can tap directly to the product details.
A quarter of small UK retail businesses admit they are fearful of Brexit, according to new data. A YouGov Profiles sample of 1,190 senior retail managers in stores with under 20 staff, questioned between February and July this year, was analysed by Vend, which found that 80 per cent think the talks with the European Union are not going well.
Retail spend at frictionless payment stores like Amazon Go will grow from an estimated $253 million in 2018 to over $45 billion by 2023, according to Juniper Research. The consultancy expects most of these transactions to be in convenience and general stores, with an average transaction value around $30 per visit throughout the forecast period.
Struggling UK department stores are missing out on High Street customers due to online ‘invisibility’, according to new research. Uberall analysed 573 department stores across the country, revealing that many are either absent from major directory listings or, if they do appear, the brand information that customers see contains wrong or missing information.
Stripe, the payments technology firm, has been valued at $20 billion after its latest funding round raised $245 million.The US FinTech rival of PayPal which was founded in 2010, announced that it would use the money, raised by Tiger Global along with DST Global and Sequoia, to fuel rapid expansion of the business and its engineering talent base internationally, particularly in Asian markets.
Retail stores will evolve from places where people purely transact, to hubs where consumers can experience parts of a product range before ordering with a range of payment and delivery options. Speaking at the first day of the Ecommerce Expo conference in London, Simon Calvert, trading director at women’s retailer Bonmarché, also said that his company is looking to improve in-store ordering, increase payment options and work on last mile delivery.
Shoppers remain wary of sharing their personal data despite a growing appetite for more personalised treatment from retailers, according to a new research. The study of 15,500 customers worldwide carried out by Oracle Retail, which provides enterprise software services to retailers, asked for their views on key topics including privacy and personalisation in retail following GDPR legislation and supply chain visibility.