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.
Snapchat parent company Snap has revealed it is testing a new way to search for products on Amazon using the camera on mobile phones. The feature will be rolled-out slowly in the US to begin with, according to a statement, and enables users to point the Snapchat camera at a physical product or barcode, which takes them to an Amazon link if it is recognised.
Boohoo’s group revenue rose by 50 per cent to £395.3 million during the first half of this year, with pre-tax profits up 22 per cent to £24.7 million. Over the six months to 31 August, the online fashion retailer’s UK revenue was up 43 per cent, while international sales increased by 62 per cent and now account for 41 per cent of group revenue. Sales grew by 15 per cent to £209 million, as the brand benefited from particularly strong growth in northern Europe.
The shadow business secretary has promised to save the High Street from “a slow and agonising death” with a five-point plan of reforms. Speaking at the party’s conference in Liverpool, Rebecca Long-Bailey said that to rebuild Britain and breathe life back into communities, “Labour will scrap ATM charges, deliver free WiFi to town centres, introduce a register of empty properties, provide free bus travel for under 25s and overhaul the broken business rates system which is hammering retail”.
Snapchat will allow users to search for items they photograph with their smartphones on Amazon's online marketplace in the latest advance of image recognition technology into e-commerce. The social media app, popular with millennials and younger generation Z users for its novelty photo and chat features, announced that the Visual Search feature would be available from this week.
Monsoon has pinned an extra £1.4 million in online sales to new technology which turns stores into virtual warehouses when items have run out online. The High Street fashion retailer said it has seen an instant boost in sales during the first month of its Fashion Finder service, which is built on smart inventory software from OneStock.
British perfume maker Jo Malone London has become the latest British retailer to become available to Chinese consumers through Tmall. Aside from its website, the Alibaba-owned marketplace is Jo Malone’s only other e-commerce channel in China.
Apple and Salesforce have announced a broad strategic partnership aimed at growing software as a service (SaaS) offerings to businesses. The alliance, announced ahead of customer relationship management (CRM) platform Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce developer conference in San Francisco today, comes as consumer technology company Apple looks to expand its enterprise strategy and access more corporate sales through online apps.
Next’s total retail sales fell 6.9 per cent year-on-year to £925.1 million, although online retail sales were up 16.8 per cent to £892.3 million. This meant that during the half year - to the end of July - retail profit dropped 23 per cent to £73.2 million, whilst online profit rose 21.1 per cent to £163.3 million. The clothing and homewares retailer saw full price sales up 4.5 per cent, ahead of the one per cent guidance given at the start of the year.
Victoria Beckham has launched a chat bot for Facebook Messenger, allowing fans of her fashion brand to virtually try on pieces from her latest capsule collection with the help of Augmented Reality (AR).The fashion designer’s bot allowed fans to track the launch of the Victoria Beckham spring/summer 2019 capsule at London Fashion Week last week with real time updates of her day and behind-the-scenes video which channelled her voice.
Oasis and Warehouse are gearing up to launch mobile new apps to enable customers to shop more easily.The High Street fashion brands are partnering with Poq, the software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform behind the shopping apps of e-commerce retailers Missguided, PrettyLittleThing and Quiz, which have also launched apps for iOS and Android.
eBay is partnering with Wolverhampton City Council to help small local retailers to start selling online.The Retail Revival partnership between the online auction giant and the local authority is the first such programme in the UK and is aimed at helping to close the £4.1 billion ‘digital gap’ holding back UK retailers and proving that ecommerce and the high street can coexist.
Spending on digital marketing grew by 44 per cent in Britain and the US to a combined spend of $52 billion last year, reflecting a booming trend for search optimisation and personalised advertising among retailers and service providers.A survey of more than 500 brands carried out by UK accountancy firm Moore Stephens and US-based media firm WARC found that marketing technology (MarTech), which allows companies to target customers directly through social media or voice-activated assistants such as the Amazon Alexa, achieved a global outlay of $100 billion in 2017.
Tiffany & Co has installed the UK’s first luxury vending machine at its Covent Garden store, in partnership with Worldline. The unattended VALINA payment terminal lets customers purchase the new Tiffany perfume using a quick and easy transaction.
Netherlands-based food retailer Delhaize has launched a new store concept, with what it calls ‘endless aisles’. The concept is being rolled out in a refurbished store located in Nivelles, Belgium, and allows customers to access a supplementary selection of products online.
Moss Bros has reported a pre-tax loss of £1.7 million for its first fiscal half year, warning that full-year underlying operating profit will likely be “materially lower” than current expectations. During the six months to July 28, the menswear retailer’s total group revenue was £64.5 million, down 3.3 per cent on last year. Like-for-like retail sales, including e-commerce, were down 6.9 per cent on last year.
Smartphones are leading to race to be the online shopping platform of choice, as consumers turn to their handheld devices for 55 per cent of digital purchases. A new report by Criteo, an online advertising platform, based on data from more than 5,000 retailers in 80 countries, found that more than half of online sales in the EMEA region now take place on smartphones and tablets, with sales on mobile channels up by 24 per cent on last year.
Asda has partnered with HCL Technologies for its latest IT transformation drive, including a new central data management platform.The supermarket chain, which has over 600 stores in the UK, has taken up a three-year contract as part of its plans to adopt a more agile approach to application development and testing, as well as improve user experience.
Amazon is reportedly working on plans to open as many as 3,000 AmazonGo cashierless stores in by 2021. The e-commerce giant is currently trialling its AmazonGo technology with three US stores near its headquarters in Seattle and one in Chicago, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York before rolling the retail concept out more extensively in the US, Bloomberg reported, citing people close to the matter.
Spending online continued to increase in August, reaching a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record high of 18.4 per cent. Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures for last month showed the overall quantity bought in the UK increased by 0.3 per cent when compared with July.
Walgreens Boots Alliance and Alibaba Group have announced the launch of a Boots flagship store on Tmall Global, Alibaba’s business-to-consumer platform for international brands and retailers. The new Boots flagship store gives Chinese consumers access to some of the most popular Boots beauty brands in the UK and the US, initially No7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber.
Iceland Foods have announced the eight tech start-ups that will participate in its Innovation Lab accelerator programme. Run in association with innovation specialist L Marks, the labs wills offer the startups the chance to develop their business models and ideas while accessing Iceland’s resources and industry specialist mentors.
UK online retail sales held steady this August, as shopper spending achieved 12.8 per cent growth year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini e-retail sales index. This is in line with the three and 12 month rolling averages, but below the three-month average of 15.3 per cent. M-retail - smartphones and tablets - growth hit an all-time low of just 10 per cent year-on-year. While smartphone growth still came in at 26.7 per cent, it was the lowest growth since September 2014, and a significant drop on last August’s 53.6 per cent.
Aldi, the discount grocery store, is to extend its online delivery partnership with Instacart in the US in time for thanksgiving celebrations, meaning customers in 35 states will be able to order fresh groceries and receive them within an hour. Following a successful pilot of Instacart’s delivery service in four states, the online ordering service will be rolled out across 75 major markets from San Diego to Miami, New York City and Minneapolis.
Ocado’s growing fleet of industrial robots have driven continued sales growth in the third quarter of this year, as the online grocer continues to reap the benefits of its automated warehouse system. The group said its retail revenues had risen 11.5 per cent to £348.6 million over the three months to 2 September, slightly down on the 11.7 per cent seen in the first half of the year.
Retailers are struggling to keep up with customers’ demand for personalised shopping experiences, according to new research. Customer marketing platform Ometria looked into the state of retailer communication with consumers in the UK and found that 61 per cent of customers say it bothers them when a retailer doesn’t offer special or personalised treatment in return for customer loyalty, while three quarters feel that most retailers don’t understand their interests.
Tesco has today launched a new discount supermarket brand, Jack’s, to rival retailers like Lidl and Aldi. Named after Tesco’s founder Jack Cohen, the stores will operate on a low-cost business model with a simplified range of products, no fancy fixtures or fittings, and ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ offers.
Zalando, the German online fashion retailer, has again slashed its outlook for 2018, attributing falling revenue to Europe’s long hot summer in a statement that sent shares falling by as much as 20 per cent on Tuesday. The company, which is Europe’s biggest online only fashion site, last night warned investors that it expects earnings before tax to end up between £133 million and £160 million, significantly below previous forecast of between £195 million and £240 million.
Waitrose & Partners is trialling a two hour or on the same day delivery service for customers in certain parts of London. The supermarket has teamed up with last mile retail delivery startup On the dot to launch ‘Waitrose Rapid Delivery’ in selected postcodes – SW5, SW6 , SW10, WC1, WC2, EC1, CR5 and CR8.
COS is set to make its web debut in China next month with the launch of an online storefront on Alibaba’s Tmall platform. The London-based fashion brand will also open a standalone site - cosstores.cn - in October.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed Primark’s chief operating officer Jon Lyttle to be its new chief executive. Lyttle, who oversaw turnover growth of 158 per cent to £7 billion during his eight-year tenure at Primark, will take up the position from 15 March 2019.
BigCommerce is now letting customers upload ‘shoppable’ Instagram stories. Brands on the e-commerce platform can tag products within their Instagram stories, meaning viewers can click on the products and go directly to the store to purchase the item. In 2017, BigCommerce partnered with Instagram for the launch of its shopping functionality, which made shopping on the app available across 44 countries. Through this, BigCommerce merchants can tag products in their Instagram posts, making information such as pricing and product descriptions available to browsers.
Divido has announced a $15 million Series A fundraise led by Dawn Capital and DN Capital, with additional participation from Mastercard, American Express Ventures and previous investors. The consumer finance platform for retailers, lenders and payment intermediaries will use the money to continue its global expansion.
Shares in H&M rallied after the company revealed increasing sales in the third quarter, driven in part by a new logistics system and store concept aimed at helping the fashion brand to meet the challenge of its online rivals. A third quarter statement issued by the Swedish retailer today revealed that sales excluding VAT were up 9 per cent to $6.2 billion – results which saw shares jump by as much as 13 per cent in early morning trade on Monday.
Vendor reputation is the ‘most important factor’ when buying online, according to 86 per cent of shoppers surveyed globally by 2Checkout (formerly Avangate). The study of almost 1,000 global consumers found that product reviews are the next most influential factor in buying decisions - more so than discounts and free trials - as recognised by 74 per cent. Product reviews which lack credibility were a blocker for 49 per cent of respondents. Money-back guarantees are also an important factor, rated ‘high’ by 67 per cent of respondents.
Amazon has launched an investigation into allegations that staff have been leaking confidential data to online sellers.The e-commerce giant has confirmed that it is probing claims that employees sold confidential data to third party companies and online sellers that gives them a commercial advantage.
Almost one in two in-store card transactions in the UK is now contactless, according to new research from Mastercard. There has been a 95 per cent increase in UK contactless transactions year-to-date, while contactless already represents 46 per cent of all transactions each month. Continuous technological advancements in payments and data analytics across Europe is enabling countries to embrace improvements of regional technology infrastructures, stated Mastercard.
The Co-op is entering the online pharmacy market with the purchase of HealthTech startup Dimec. Dimec, which facilitates the ordering of repeat prescriptions by linking up patients with GP surgeries and pharmacies via an app, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum in the first takeover by Co-op’s Ventures division.
Moody’s has warned that the retail sector could be under serious threat from a no-deal Brexit.The influential credit ratings agency issued a report yesterday warning that a no-deal Brexit scenario would be credit negative for a number of industries and could push the country towards a recession, with the impact on the retail sector being “substantial”.
Payment provider Klarna Bank is acquiring Close Brothers Retail Finance from UK merchant banking group Close Brothers Group. The acquisition will strengthen Klarna’s position in the UK market for retail financing and will enable accelerated growth and expansion of its consumer offering. The business had a loan book of £66 million on 31 July 2018. The acquisition is subject to approval by the Financial Supervisory Authority of Sweden.
New research has revealed that three-quarters of retailers feel digital transformation requires a change in leadership mindset. The findings from PwC were published at the Tech. conference in London yesterday, with the firm’s digital consulting leader Colin Light telling delegates that digital transformation is radically changing the nature of senior management.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with real-time customer engagement technology firm Rant & Rave to enable an easier process of capturing feedback from customers. This forms part of M&S’s transformation to become a digital-first business, in response to a highly competitive retail market, which is seeing consumers shift their purchasing habits online and look to engage with brands across multiple touch points.
Toolstation has expanded its partnership with Emarsys to use its artificial intelligence (AI) enabled platform to support direct mail, email, and SMS marketing – unifying online and offline customer databases onto one platform to deliver a seamless and personalised cross-channel customer experience. The tools and building supplies retailer’s customers can buy online, through a dedicated UK call centre, via a mobile website or at over 300 branches across the UK. The multi-channel nature of the business means that customer information is captured both in-store and online, and the company needed to consolidate this data to get a clear view of its target audience.
John Lewis Partnership has reported a 98.8 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £1.2 million for the six months to 28 July. The results came despite gross sales rising 1.6 per cent to £5.5 billion, while revenue increased 1.5 per cent to £4.8 billion. Profit before tax fell 80.5 per cent to £6 million while total net debts were £700 million lower than the same period a year before.
N Brown Group chief executive Angela Spindler is set to end her five-year tenure at the fashion retailer. She will leave at the end of September, with financial services chief executive Steve Johnson becoming interim chief executive while a replacement is sought.
Beekeeper, a communication and operations platform for frontline workers, has raised an additional $13 million as a part of its Series A extension round. Atomico and Keen Venture Partners led the round with strategic investors including Samsung NEXT, Edenred Capital Partners and Swiss Post. All existing key investors, including FYRFLY Venture Partners, ALPANA Ventures and investiere.ch, participated in the round as well.
Mulberry has chosen Adyen to deliver mobile tills and ‘endless aisle’ shopping at its London flagship store. The move forms part of the luxury retailer’s new global strategy, focusing on customer experience and creating a seamless link between its online and offline sales channels.
Dunelm has reported a 6.7 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profit to £109 million, with results being blamed on integration costs and trading losses at its Worldstores brand. During the year to 30 June, the homewares retailer’s revenue rose by 9.9 per cent to £1.05 billion, while like-for-like sales grew by 4.2 per cent.
New global research has revealed that shopping in-store remains the most popular experience overall (preferred by 38 per cent), although online is the first stop on the shopper journey for clothes (46 per cent), home goods (48 per cent) and electronics (63 per cent). The survey was conducted by Opinium for JDA in May and June among 12,000 online interviews with respondents in Asia (2,000 in China, 1,000 in India), Europe (2,000 in the UK, 1,000 in France, 1,000 in Germany, 1,000 in Italy, 1,000 in Sweden), North America (2,000 in the US) and Oceania (500 in Australia and 500 in New Zealand).
ParcelLab, a German startup offering personalised delivery communications to online shoppers, is to join the growing UK market for ‘last mile’ delivery solutions when it opens its first hub in London this month. Since the Munich-based startup was founded in 2014, it has partnered with 30 per cent of Germany’s largest online retailers to offer personalised customer communication via email, text and app during shipping.
Perry Ellis International (PEI) has deployed Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services to help personalise the shopping experience for customers across the UK and US. PEI’s brands Perry Ellis, Original Penguin and Cubavera manage an international footprint of retail stores and e-commerce channels. According to a company statement, these multiple points of engagement created complexity that made it difficult to understand consumer behaviour.
Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire has warned of a “structural shift” hitting retail business models as shoppers move online – but insisted the department store format was not “dead” and would evolve into a 21st century experience comprising both online channels and physical stores.The High Street executive was speaking to the BBC Today programme in an attempt to reassure investors and explain the company’s strategy following a 17 per cent drop in the Debenhams share price on Monday.
New research has revealed that 80 per cent of retail IT decision makers in the UK are planning to change their IT strategy as a result of challenges on the High Street. IT as a service firm Rackspace surveyed 250 IT decision makers in the UK retail industry to see how they are adopting new technologies to react to shifting consumer trends, while continuing to deliver cost-savings and customer experience.
JD Sports has reported pre-tax profits up 19 per cent to £121.9 million in the first half of its financial year, which chairman Peter Cowgill hailed a “record result”. The sportswear retailer saw earnings before tax rise 26 per cent to £171.8 million, while revenue increased by 35 per cent, during the six months to 4 August. Meanwhile, total like-for-like sales grew by more than 3 per cent.
Nearly 98 per cent of young customers will abandon their online shopping cart if they experience shipping-related friction, according to new research that highlights the importance of flexible delivery options for Generation Z shoppers. Neopost Shipping, a supply chain technology provider, conducted a report into the influence shipping options have on e-commerce conversion and retention amongst younger shoppers, specifically those who fall into the Generation Z category of people born between 1995 and 2015.
Adobe has announced new artificial intelligence (AI) innovations designed to help retailers deliver personalised experiences at scale and across multiple channels.
“Personalisation must be at the core of every customer experience and if it isn’t, brands risk losing customers’ loyalty and business,” said Loni Stark, head of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target.
The retail industry is one of the most susceptible to failure and payment delinquency, according to a consultancy’s latest figures. Dun & Bradstreet second quarter report - covering April to June - showed that retail recorded the sharpest increase in the number of liquidations, up by 23.5 per cent on the first quarter of this year.
For the first time the value of retail purchases made by card now accounts for more than three quarters of all retail sales, according to the British Retail Consortium. Its annual payments survey suggested this has partly been driven by UK customers increasingly using cards for lower value payments, traditionally dominated by cash. Cash fell again by more than 1 per cent, accounting for just 22 per cent of all retail sales.
Alibaba Group has announced that one year from today, chief executive Daniel Zhang will succeed Jack Ma as chairman of the board. Ma will continue as executive chairman of the company over the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition, and will complete his current term as a board member at the annual general meeting of shareholders in 2020.
Debenhams has called in accountancy firm KPMG as it considers a restructuring process to help stem losses. The embattled department store chain, which has seen its share price plummet by two thirds since the start of the year, is understood to be drawing up a series of contingency plans, including a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).
Footfall in August fell by 1.6 per cent on the previous year, a sharper decline than seen in July, when a fall of 0.8 per cent was recorded. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures showed that three months of growth came to an end in August for High Streets, which recorded a decline of two per cent.
House of Fraser’s website should come back online early next week, after the embattled department store reached a deal with warehouse operators XPO Logistics. Shortly after the company went into administration last month, Sports Direct came in with a £90 million rescue deal, but then became responsible for various unpaid debts.
Shoppers have abandoned the High Street this summer with sales in August being one of the worst since accountancy and advisory firm BDO started recording 12 years ago. Sales declined 2.7 per cent year-on-year, the worst August decline for three years and the seventh month in a row for negative in-store sales. It was also the eleventh month in succession where bricks and mortar growth has failed to exceed 1 per cent.
Argos has launched Voice Shop, enabling shoppers to reserve 20,000 products from more than 850 Argos stores using voice technology. Customers can now reserve for same-day pick up by using the Google Assistant on most Android devices, iOS or smart speakers like Google Home. After a quick confirmation on their smartphone their order is ready for collection.
Marks & Spencer has appointed Jeremy Pee as its new chief digital and data officer. He will join M&S on 3 December from his current position as senior vice president of Loblaw Companies – Canada’s largest retailer, where he was responsible for building the e-commerce businesses in grocery, beauty, clothing and pharmacy.
One in four (23 per cent) online shoppers has fallen victim to scammers, according to new research. A survey of 2,003 UK consumers commissioned by Shieldpay Fraud Tracker, a payment solutions provider, found that the average victim of online fraud loses £608, but only recoups £55 on average from their bank. One in seven (14 per cent) victims were defrauded by more than £1,000.
A glitch in terminals run by Cardnet, a joint venture by Lloyds Bank and First Data, resulted in thousands of shoppers being charged twice for debit card payments. The operating error in Cardnet terminals occurred on 29 August, leading to duplicate transactions coming out of customer bank accounts but transactions showing up only once on shop, pub and restaurant receipts.
Digital agency Wunderman has acquired 2Sales International, an e-commerce consultant that supports brands in building their business on Amazon and other online marketplaces. It will become part of the global commerce offering, Wunderman Commerce. The acquisition strengthens Wunderman Commerce’s expertise across supply chain, operations and assortment planning, search optimisation and promotional management, particularly in European markets where Amazon’s market share is growing rapidly.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has announced it is developing technologies to offer online sales for all of its retail brands by 2020, including in markets where it does not have physical stores. The Spanish clothing conglomerate, which also owns Pull&Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, announced yesterday that it is teaming up with tech firms to develop new ways of handling stock and inventory.
Instagram is planning to launch a new standalone app dedicated to shopping, according to people familiar with the matter. The Verge has reported that the app may be called IG Shopping and will let users browse collections of goods from merchants that they follow and purchase them directly within the app. Instagram have so far declined to comment. There are no details on when it might be launched, as development is still ongoing.
Nearly half of shoppers are abandoning the High Street due to endless queues, according to new research that highlights the need for better payments technology. A survey by retail technology firm Jisp of 1,000 shoppers found that 41 per cent said they had ditched the high street due to the experience of long queues, while other deterrents driving them to take their money online included difficulty locating products in store (19 per cent) and unknowledgeable staff (15 per cent).
Changes associated with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) have sparked a surge in e-commerce work for law firms, according to an analysis by law firm Howes Percival.The regional firm, which helped organisations to prepare for the introduction of GDPR on 25 May, says that it has seen a significant increase in instructions from e-commerce companies with concerns over terms and conditions of sales at the top of the list of queries.
Payments provider Klarna is teaming up with men’s formalwear brand Moss Bros to offer customers a pay later service on their purchases. Moss Bros is the latest retailer to partner with Klarna’s Pay Later service, which will enable customers to try on and return items for 14 days before paying for them, with no interest or fees.
In August, UK retail sales increased by 0.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from August 2017, when they had increased 1.3 per cent from the preceding year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium and KPMG figures. On a total basis, sales increased 1.3 per cent in August, against an increase of 2.4 per cent on last August. This is below the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.8 and 1.5 per cent respectively.
Footasylum expects to report full-year adjusted earnings at less than half of last year’s £12.5 million figure, due to lower gross margin and higher costs from investment in operations. In its first announcement after listing on the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market in 2017, the footwear and apparel retailer reported lower overall gross margin due to a higher amount of clearance activity in stores.
Guests at certain hotels across China can now experience products from JD.com from the comfort of their rooms. The latest application of the e-commerce platform’s ‘Boundaryless Retail’ strategy sees some rooms at Wanda, Sheraton, Beijing 5L, Greenland and other hotels outfitted with products popular among travellers, including a Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, a JD smart speaker, or power banks to charge their devices.
Boden recorded four per cent growth in pre-tax profits to £27.3 million, while overall sales rose 13 per cent to £347.1 million over the year ending December 2017. The fashion retailer’s latest statement suggested investment will now be made into its e-commerce platform and personalisation capabilities.
Google and Mastercard have reportedly struck a secret deal to allow merchants to track when online ads have led to sales at bricks and mortar stores. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc and Mastercard brokered the partnership during protracted negotiations lasting about four years, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.
High Street jeweller Beaverbrooks has gone live with Sanderson solutions to deliver a single view of stock across the entire business, to fulfil e-commerce and in-store orders. The brand has 70 stores nationwide stocking diamonds, jewellery and designer watches, which will now feature Ship from Store and Click & Collect solutions.
Zara’s parent company Inditex has seen its share price tumble to its lowest level in six months after Morgan Stanley slashed its estimates for the world’s largest fashion retail group.Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their target price for Inditex to €21 per share from earlier estimates of €26.
Whitbread has entered into an agreement for the sale of Costa to The Coca-Cola Company for £3.9 billion. The transaction is conditional upon agreement by Whitbread's shareholders and various other approvals, but is expected to complete in the first half of 2019. The Whitbread group stated that it will now focus on structural growth opportunities for its hotel business, Premier Inn, in the UK and Germany. Chief executive Alison Brittain said the deal recognises strategic value developed in the Costa brand and its international growth potential.
Blockchain technology firm Omnitude has partnered with e-commerce platform CS-Cart to provide a new way for vendors and customers to sign-in and verify their identity. CS-Cart powers more than 35,000 websites worldwide, where multiple vendors can sell their goods through a single marketplace. Omnitude ID technology will be natively integrated into its software, helping to reduce the risk of fraud.
Any continuation of this summer’s hot weather into September could cost non-food retailers £80 million per week. A report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), based on Met Office analysis of weather data, indicates that temperature can have a significant influence on how much is spent on retail goods – but only at certain times of the year.
Point-of-payment customer feedback startup TruRating has launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, seeking to raise £1.8 million. The company has already secured £7.5 million from institutional funds, family offices and private individuals, but wanted to open up investment to individuals.
For the first time in over five years, shop prices entered inflationary territory, up 0.1 per cent in August from the July decrease of 0.3 per cent. Non-food deflation continued to ease in August to 1 per cent from 1.4 per cent in July – the lowest rate of deflation since April 2013. Food inflation accelerated to 1.9 per cent in August from July’s rate of 1.6 per cent.
Bed-in-a-box brand Emma Mattress’ has made a move offline, to be available for customers at selected DFS stores across the UK. The Emma Hybrid mattress is already available online via the DFS website and now customers will be able to try out the product before purchase, thanks to in-store displays set to be rolled out by the furniture retailer over the next six months.
Post-purchase customer engagement platform Narvar has announced a $30 million Series C financing round led by Accel, which also led Narvar’s Series A round. Existing investors including Battery Ventures participated in the round, as well as new investors Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. In conjunction with the financing, Accel partner Ryan Sweeney will join Narvar’s board.
The government should create a two-tiered VAT system where shoppers would pay tax at 15 per cent in a physical store and 22.5 per cent for online purchases, according to Colliers International. Paul Souber, head of London retail at the international property firm, added his suggestion to the ongoing debate over redressing the balance between arguably under-taxed e-commerce retailers and over-taxed bricks and mortar shops.
Debenhams has announced that following a successful trial, the Doddle Click & Collect service currently being offered across 50 of its department stores, will now be rolled out across the full estate of 165 UK stores, with the majority live by Spring 2019. The roll out means that shoppers will be able to collect and return parcels from over 50 Doddle retail partners including ASOS, Amazon, Missguided and Wiggle at any Debenhams store.
Electronic money and payment institutions from the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to continue passporting into the UK for three years under government plans for a no-deal Brexit.In a paper published yesterday - one of 25 technical notices of a total of 80 due to be released in the coming month - the government set out plans for dealing with the consequences for financial services and cross border contractual arrangements if the UK exits the EU without a negotiated deal on 29 March 2019.
The shortlisted entries for this year’s Payments Awards have been officially announced. Now in their 6th year, the awards recognise card and payments excellence and innovation. Winning entries will come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched and/or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched its formal investigation into the proposed merger between J Sainsbury and Asda Group. Since the announcement of the merger on 30 April, the CMA has been gathering the information needed to start its formal investigation. It will now begin the first phase of its detailed assessment into how the deal could affect competition for UK shoppers.
The luxury sector is lagging behind the rest of fashion world when it comes to adapting to a digital future, according to Brightpearl. The omnichannel retail software company’s chief executive Derek O’Carroll explained that the luxury sector’s hesitancy in embracing e-commerce is understandable, as it is an area of retail that has relied on a sense of exclusivity and inspirational store experiences to attract wealthier customers.
The government has warned that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, consumers would face slower and more costly credit card payments when they buy European Union products, while British citizens living abroad could lose access to their bank accounts altogether. The details come as part of 25 technical notices - the first of 80 due in the coming weeks - published in Westminster today, which explain how companies and the public should prepare for a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.
Amazon is reportedly partnering with South Korean retail group Hyundai Department Store to launch tech-driven retail stores and drone delivery services in Seoul.Under an agreement signed on Friday, Amazon’s South Korea Web Service and Hyundai Department Store Group (HDSG) announced plans to drive forward technological transformation in HDSG’s online and offline platforms, Retail News Asia reported.
Omnia Retail, a Dutch tech firm which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate pricing for major retail brands, is setting up shop in the UK.Bucking fears of an overseas investment slowdown in the run up to Brexit, the Amsterdam-based tech scale up says it has secured several millions of pounds of funding to open a London office, after seeing increasing demand for its services in the UK.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 15.2 per cent year-on-year in July, according to the latest data from IMRG and MetaPack. Growth traditionally plateaus as many people go abroad during the summer, but as temperatures remained very high across most of the UK, many appear to have opted to stay on home turf this year, which reflected positively in the delivery index – up 2.6 per cent month-on-month during July.
Tesco’s head of labs, who led the supermarket giant’s online and mobile e-commerce arms, is leaving the company after 18 years. Angela Maurer, who joined Tesco through its graduate scheme in 2000, will leave the company to become head innovation at real estate firm Land Sec.
Superdrug has warned its online customers to change their passwords after criminals claimed to have stolen the details of 20,000 customers.
The pharmacy chain last night contacted customers to advise them to change their online passwords and said the affected data does not include payment card information. However, it said the breach may include names, addresses and in some cases details of their dates of birth, phone number and loyalty point balances.
Difficult trading conditions were blamed for Laura Ashley’s annual profits being just £100,000 – with latest results suggesting this would continue into the second half of the year. Statutory pre-tax profits fell from £6.3 million the previous year, and like-for-like sales dropped by 0.4 per cent. However, some small comfort came in the fact that the fashion and homeware retailer’s like-for-like online sales were up 4.1 per cent, now accounting for a quarter of retail revenues.
Ant Financial, the Chinese electronic payment affiliate of Alibaba, has reportedly pushed back its plans for an IPO due to financial hurdles and a government crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions. The fast-growing payments startup was valued at $150 million (£117billion) in its latest fundraising round in June, but has decided to delay rumoured plans to list in 2018, according to the Financial Times.
Farfetch, a UK-based ecommerce platform for luxury fashion and high end goods has revealed plans to head to Wall Street after it filed plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange. The London-headquartered company, which was founded in 2007, has yet to specify how much it plans to raise, but estimates by analysts Pitchbook suggest an IPO could raise as much as $8.4 billion (£6.6 billion).
In July, UK online retail sales slipped to their lowest year-on-year growth in 2018 so far, as consumer spending slumped in the weeks following England’s exit from the World Cup. The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index showed online sales increased by 10 per cent year-on-year in July, well below the three, six and 12 month rolling averages of 14.7, 15 and 12.7 per cent respectively.
The UK generated £81.3 trillion in cashless payments in 2016, almost double the amount spent in any other European country, according to new research from Expert Market. The study assessed data for all 29 countries in the European Union, looking at the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the countries with the most digitally-ready businesses.
Google is reportedly planning its first foray into bricks and mortar with a standalone retail store in Chicago.The internet search giant is drawing up lease arrangements for a two-level, 14,000 sq ft retail store to sell its growing range of products, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Walmart has announced the closing of the agreement to become the largest shareholder in India’s leading e-commerce platform, Flipkart. As part of the investment, Walmart will also inject $2 billion of new equity funding to help accelerate the growth of the Flipkart business. Both companies will remain separate, with different operating structures in India.
Amazon is set to bid for a number of Homebase stores as part of plans to grow its pool of ‘last mile’ delivery hubs. The e-commerce giant is weighing up a potential bid to turn a number of vacant Homebase stores into delivery warehouses when the DIY retailer closes 42 of its 241 sites through a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) this year, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
Threads, a fashion tech business that uses chat commerce to connect millennials with luxury brands, has landed $20million in a Series A funding round. The London-based company which helps Millennials and Generation Z shoppers find the right luxury outfit through a mobile-based app, has secured investment from C Ventures, a lead investor in Moda Operandi and Highland Europe, an investor in the MatchesFashion, a luxury fashion goods website.
Almost half of UK shoppers would be more likely to buy online if they could use technology such as augmented reality (AR) to test the product in a realistic way, according to research. A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers by e-commerce agency PushON found growing demand for new immersive technologies such as AR and VR (virtual reality), with 45 per cent of customers saying they would like the chance to “look around” and get a feel for products in 3D.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has published its second quarter results, revealing a 31.2 per cent increase in revenue to $18.5 billion. Services revenues for JD.com were also up 51 per cent from the second quarter of 2017, as the retailer continued to develop its ‘Retail as a Service’ strategy, providing retail partners with the latest innovations in technology to improve efficiency and support growth.
Retail sales were up by 3.5 per cent in July, when compared with the slower growth of 1.1 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. The data also showed that spending online increased to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2 per cent in July, with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.2 per cent.
Marks & Spencer has entered into partnership with Twilio, a cloud-based automated communications service, to help it handle more than 12 million customer calls annually. The High Street giant announced its link-up with the San Francisco-based internet firm as part of a £25 million technological transformation programme aimed at improving efficiencies and streamlining switchboard services.
House of Fraser’s website has been taken offline due to a disagreement between its main warehouse and new owners Sports Direct. Yesterday it was reported that employees at House of Fraser’s distribution centre in Wellingborough have been ordered to stop accepting goods and processing deliveries by the site operator XPO Logistics due to a dispute over delivery payment terms.
India's lawmakers are weighing up measures to make its $32 billion e-commerce market more hostile to US tech giants. A draft of rules set to go before the Indian parliament would see a major clampdown on access to India’s e-commerce sector for companies including Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook, according to the Wall Street Journal, which has seen a version of the bill.
New research has revealed that 64 per cent of shoppers feel retailers do not understand them, suggesting there is room for improvement with personalisation and loyalty initiatives. Salesforce surveyed 6,000 consumers across six countries, along with mystery shopping assessments of 70 stores across London, New York and San Francisco, and analysis of digital shopping behaviour from 500 million shoppers and 1.4 billion e-commerce visits worldwide.
Fat Face saw overall sales increase 7.4 per cent over the full year to 2 June, driven by online sales - which make up 20 per cent of the retailer’s revenue - up 11.8 per cent year-on-year. Over the year, sales increased to £238.4 million, representing a like-for-like growth of 4.9 per cent across the fashion brand.
Consumers at Dubai’s next mega-mall will be able to shop via mobile and try on the latest 3D-printed fashions in interactive mirrors as part of plans to build the world’s first omnichannel retail development. Emaar and Dubai Holding, the owners of the colossal Dubai Square retail and leisure development, have unveiled plans for a $2 billion tech-driven retail destination which aims to “blur the boundaries between online and in-mall shopping”.
Security flaws in a number of market-leading mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices could leave customers open to fraudulent charging and vulnerable payment methods, according to researchers. Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov, researchers from security firm Positive Technologies, looked at seven MPoS devices popular in the US and Europe, including devices sold by Square, iZettle, PayPal and SumUp.
The majority of UK consumers now accept the risk of fraud when shopping online as the growth of e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, according to Paysafe. The payment solutions provider surveyed 5,056 consumers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany and Austria, with 70 per cent of British respondents stating that they now prefer shopping online rather than going to physical stores, while 68 per cent shop online much more than they did a year ago.
Retailers are at risk of losing their most loyal customers if they don’t change the way they execute sales periods, according to research commissioned by Collinson. The loyalty and benefits company surveyed 1,006 UK adults, finding that the deadliest sin for retailers to commit is offering discounts exclusively to new customers, which two-thirds of respondents say would annoy them as loyal customers.
Sainsbury’s is trialling new scan, pay and go technology in its Clapham North Station shop, in what it claims to be a UK supermarket first. Using the latest version of the SmartShop app, customers can use their smartphones to scan shopping as they go and then pay for it through the app, from anywhere in the store, using Apple Pay.
Retailers need to combat scepticism over digital assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, with new research showing that a majority of users fail to see the need for digital speaker devices as concern mounts over cybersecurity issues. Research conducted by YouGov found that one in ten (11 per cent) of households that own an Internet of Things (IoT) device have smart speakers such as the Echo and its associated digital assistants. Meanwhile, more than three quarters (77 per cent) of households do not own any device, which the polling and data company suggested leaves significant potential for brands to expand their market share.
The chancellor has revealed he is considering a special retail tax on online businesses to help redress the balance with those operating on the High Street. In a Sky News interview, Philip Hammond said that the UK is changing shopping habits, with more of us buying things online, which has knock-on effects for bricks and mortar shops.
Footfall fell by 0.8 per cent in July, in line with last month’s decline of 0.9 per cent and a decline of 1.1 per cent last July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures. High Streets saw growth of 0.3 per cent, the third month of consecutive growth. Footfall in retail parks declined by 0.5 per cent in comparison to July 2017, when footfall increased by 1.7 per cent.
Missguided is looking for a new head of e-commerce, following the exit of the fashion retailer’s online chief executive in May. A job advert posted this week specifies the role will be at the brand’s Manchester head office, with leadership over its website and apps across all territories – “analysing, reviewing, recommending and building strategic capability to drive sales and profitability by improving conversion rates, increasing average order size and improving user experience across multiple channels”.
Security scans performed on 218,000 Magento websites - the most popular e-commerce platform - revealed 86 per cent are missing critical security patches. The survey carried out last month by cyber security consultancy Foregenix focused on small and medium-sized company websites globally, including around 15,000 in the UK, found 2 per cent of the websites analysed were compromised and currently being harvested for their customers’ data.
Sports Direct has acquired all of House of Fraser's department stores in a £90 million cash rescue deal. In a statement to the stock exchange, Mike Ashley's sportswear chain confirmed it had bought the retailer, following House of Fraser's administration announcement earlier this morning.
Bucking the trend for companies considering moves away from the UK in the lead up to Brexit, US e-commerce platform BigCommerce is setting up its new European headquarters in London. Having recently closed a $64 million investment round led by Goldman Sachs to accelerate international expansion, the company stated London was its first choice for establishing a foothold in Europe.
JDA Software has completed the acquisition of Blue Yonder, which builds artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for retail and supply chain. JDA hopes the acquisition will accelerate its Autonomous Supply Chain capabilities by connecting its systems and data to enable automated and more profitable business decisions. Blue Yonder’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions also further fuel development of JDA’s Luminate cognitive SaaS platform and solutions.
Keeping up with technological innovations remains the greatest challenge faced by retailers, according to Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE). Research of over 7,500 retail professionals by the trade show revealed that keeping up with technology advancements was the number one challenge identified by 35 per cent.
The proportion of adults aged 65 years and over who shop online trebled since 2008, rising from 16 to 48 per cent in 2018. Analysis of internet access by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also revealed that among all adults, 78 per cent bought goods or services online in the last 12 months, up one per cent since 2017 and 25 per cent since 2008.
Almost three-quarters of European retailers believe investments in 3D printing will directly lead to greater customer satisfaction. A survey by Ricoh among 791 retail decision-makers across the continent found that 84 per cent see a growing demand from customers for shorter delivery times, while and 74 per cent report customers want more personalised products.
More than 33 billion records will be stolen by cyber criminals in 2023 alone, according to Juniper, representing an increase of 175 per cent on the 12 billion records expected to be compromised in 2018. Despite this, Juniper forecasts that cyber security spend will only increase by an average of nine per cent per company per annum, in spite of new legislation mandating strong cyber security and authentication measures.
Marks & Spencer has expanded its partnership with Doddle to provide easier online returns from M&S.com across its Simply Food stores. While customers could previously collect their online orders in Simply Food stores, items could only be returned at larger M&S stores. Doddle now enables customers to collect and return their orders in one place at hundreds of Simply Food stores.
Nordstrom has appointed Edmond Mesrobian as chief technology officer, to bolster the fashion retailer’s strategy of leveraging digital capabilities and expand customer engagement. He joins from the same position at Tesco, having been focused on strengthening the company’s technological capabilities and creating innovative solutions for its customers. Prior to that, Mesrobian was in charge of operational and technical innovations as CTO of Expedia.
Consumer spending in the UK rose five per cent year-on-year in July, marking the third consecutive month of growth surpassing five per cent and the strongest three-month period since Barclaycard began measuring the data in 2014. Data from Barclaycard, which compiles almost half of the UK’s credit and debit transactions, found that essential spending was up 8.7 per cent in July – driven by a strong rise in supermarkets of 6.7 per cent. Petrol expenditure also grew significantly, up 13 per cent.
Robinson Webster Holdings - which owns fashion retailers Jigsaw and The Shop at Bluebird - posted a pre-tax loss of £783,000 over the year to 30 September 2017, down from a £2.7 million profit the previous year. Group sales of clothing and accessories increased 9.5 per cent to £103.7 million, driven by e-commerce sales up £8.6 million to £27.6 million, while in-store sales were also up £488,000 to £76.2 million.
Asian food chain itsu has partnered with Flux for the trial launch of their paperless receipts across its entire UK store estate. Customers paying with cards issued by Flux partner banks who have opted in to Flux, will receive digital receipts directly into their banking apps when they shop at itsu. Bank partners currently include Barclays via their Launchpad app, Starling Bank and Monzo Bank (in closed pilot).
Online sales of non-food products in the UK were up 7.5 per cent in July, against a growth of 8.3 per cent in July 2017. This is according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales monitor, which recorded an increase of 0.5 per cent in total UK retail sales, down from a 0.9 per cent increase from the previous year. In-store sales of non-food items declined 1.0 on a total basis and 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
Four in 10 UK consumers regard confidence in parcels being left securely a key factor when making an online purchase, according to new research from Sorted. Despite this, 60 per cent of retailers allow carriers to leave their goods in unsecure locations, according to the study. Over half of retailers track deliveries at multiple touchpoints to ensure security, while only three in 10 ask for an alternative delivery location in the event of an unsuccessful delivery.
Intercontinental Exchange has revealed plans to form an open and regulated platform where consumers can buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Called Bakkt, the new company will be working with various organisations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks and others to add expertise in risk management, technology and consumer experience. By leveraging trusted market infrastructure, Bakkt is being designed to help the digital asset markets evolve securely while supporting transaction flows.
Marks and Spencer has partnered with retail and consumer investment and innovation firm True to gain access to its expertise, emerging technologies, proprietary research and sector specific international network. True’s business model and network enables it to see over 2,000 enterprise-ready technology and consumer-product businesses each year.
Three quarters of UK shoppers are frustrated by a shortage of real-time stock availability, while 31 per cent revealed stores they visit regularly run out of stock. This is according to a study from HSO, which found that 42 per cent of consumers wish to be alerted to the exact moment when a selected item will be restocked or made available. A further 44 per cent polled would prefer the addition of knowledgeable staff members to provide this real-time information, something currently lacking in many retail stores.
Pets at Home has published a trading update for the 16 week period to 19 July 2018, revealing a 6.9 per cent uplift in revenues, driven by 47.3 per cent growth in omnichannel revenues. The pet retailer noted that its retail price position continues to strengthen to competitive levels, with its overall price gap to online retailers being halved in the past 18 months.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018, up from 13 per cent growth in the first quarter. This is according to the latest BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor, which found that in the UK, the North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter with 26 per cent, followed by Greater London (23 per cent).
Luxury retailer Mulberry is rolling out new mobile point of sale (MPoS) technology from Tulip in its stores. The system will provide single-swipe mobile checkout and a mobile product catalogue, giving the UK brand’s sales associates access to a single view of stock across the business using the iPad-based platform.
Online retail grew by 16.8 per cent year-on-year in the UK during the first half of 2018, defying extreme weather events to record strong sales results every month so far, according to the Capgemini and IMRG. E-retail saw the highest average first half year-on-year growth since 2011, above the five-year average of 14.1 per cent, while the average basket value was also at its highest for the decade, at £94 – again outshining the five-year average of £85.
Overseas mobile searches for UK brands grew by 17 per cent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2018 – up from 13 per cent in the first quarter. According to British Retail Consortium (BRC) analysis, The North and Yorkshire represented the highest portion of Google searches in the second quarter, with 26 per cent, higher than the 23 per cent recorded in Greater London.
Starbucks has partnered with Alibaba Group for a new coffee delivery initiative in China. Collaborating across businesses within the Alibaba ecosystem - including Ele.me, Hema, Tmall, Taobao and Alipay - Starbucks will pilot delivery services beginning September 2018, establish delivery kitchens for order fulfillment and integrate multiple platforms to co-create a virtual Starbucks store.
Retailers have revealed that successful fraudulent transactions were up nearly 30 per cent this year, compared to 2017, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions research. The Fraud Multiplier, which measures the cost for each dollar of fraud loss, found that every dollar of fraud in 2018 cost merchants $2.94, up from $2.77 a year ago, or a six per cent increase.
Disney Europe has launched a new e-commerce website shopDisney, calling it a “virtual department store” for all the film studio’s brands. The group includes Disney animations, along with Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel products, which range from clothes and accessories to toys, homewares and collectibles.
Next has reported better than expected second quarter results, with online sales making up for a drop in takings from physical stores. The latter were down 5.9 per cent over the 12 week period ending July 28, slipping from a 4.8 per cent drop in the first quarter. Online full price sales rose 12.5 per cent in the second quarter, although this was compared to the 18.1 per cent surge in the prior quarter.
New research from Frost & Sullivan has found that UK consumers have only a marginal degree of trust in organisations to protect their digital data. The Digital Trust Index is based on various metrics, including how willing customers are to share personal data with organisations, how well they think organisations protect that data and the extent to which consumers believe companies sell their personal data to third parties. The index is based on a rating out of 100, with 100 representing “total trust”.
Following a review of its security systems, Dixons Carphone has concluded that approximately 10 million records containing personal data may have been accessed during last month’s data breach. The company stated that none of the compromised data contained payment card or bank account details and there is no evidence that any fraud has taken place as a result. Dixons Carphone has advised affected customers on protective steps to minimise the risk of fraud.
Online sales will drive almost half of retail growth in Western Europe over the next five years, with Italy and Spain expected to see the fastest e-commerce growth. This is according to new research from Forrester, which suggests that 21 per cent of non-grocery retail sales will be online by 2023 – up from 13 per cent in 2017. Groceries will also be one of the fastest-growing online retail categories.
Burger restaurant chain Five Guys has partnered with Looker to use data insights to increase operational efficiency, enhance the customer experience and drive improved sustainability across the business. Prior to the partnership, reporting was a time consuming process which required input from the development team and slowed the decision-making process. With the introduction of Look, processes have been optimised to improve the firm’s ability to react to insights.
UK consumer confidence dropped by one point to -10 in July, despite an increase in retail sales generated by warm weather and the World Cup. GfK’s consumer confidence index has now been at zero or below zero since February 2016, thanks to wider concerns about personal financial situations and the general economic outlook.
Retailers could be losing out on over £25 billion in potential sales by not offering a range of consumer finance options, according to Duologi research. The specialist lending platform surveyed 1,000 UK consumers, finding that 78 per cent would consider financing through point of sale (PoS) in the future – around 39 million UK adults.
Mexican restaurant chain Chilango has adopted a new electronic point of sale (EPoS) system to enable digital ordering and loyalty technologies. Through the digital ordering service, guests will be able to pre-order via the restaurant’s mobile app or web ordering page. The orders will be sent directly to Chilango’s EPoS, meaning it can manage remote orders and keep all financial data in one place without the need to reconcile online payments with in-store transactions.
Driven by payment cards and mobile wallets, in-store contactless payments will reach $2 trillion by 2020 – representing 15 per cent of total point of sale transactions. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that contactless payments will exceed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, a year earlier than previously anticipated. The study found that growth will be driven by strong adoption in Europe as well as the Far East and China.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with digital skills training company Decoded to create the world’s first data academy in retail. This will take colleagues from every function - from store managers and visual merchandisers to finance and buying - and improve their data skills to help lead digital transformation across the business.
The retail sector had the second highest number of companies going bust during the second quarter, with 2,197 new company insolvencies, although this was down 3.8 per cent compared to the first quarter. The Insolvency Service’s quarterly figures revealed that total company insolvencies decreased by 12.4 per cent compared to the first quarter this year, but when compared to the same quarter last year, total company insolvencies increased by 12 per cent.
Women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché has seen sales increase by 2.7 per cent year-on-year during the first quarter, driven by a 27.3 per cent rise in online sales. This comes in contrast to a fall of 1.2 per cent in store-only like-for-like sales.
Amazon has posted a record profit of $2.5 billion for the second quarter of 2018, driven by a 39 per cent increase in sales to $52.9 billion. Operating income rose to $3 billion in the 12 weeks to 30 June, compared to $628 million for the same period last year.
US online food delivery platform GrubHub has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire loyalty platform LevelUp for $390 million in cash, subject to standard closing conditions. GrubHub hopes the acquisition will simplify its integrations with the top restaurant brands in the US, provide more channels to attract and engage diners, and accelerate product development.
E-commerce delivery technology company MetaPack has reached an agreement with postage and shipping provider Stamps.com to sell the business for approximately £175 million. The sale follows MetaPack’s management team driving high growth in the UK and continental Europe, taking the business from a loss-making position into sustained profitability.
Just over half of UK consumers (51 per cent) now prefer to shop online than in-store, while 55 per cent said they are shopping more online this year than 2017. This is according to research from EmpathyBroker, which surveyed more than 3,000 adults in the UK and Spain. It found that the average consumer shops online six times per month, with 25-34 year olds the most active, shopping on a retailer’s website eight times a month. Londoners are the most active online shoppers, averaging seven days a month.
Online retail group Shop Direct has announced changes to its executive board, with former group retail, technology and data director, John Rudoe, stepping down from his role. Stressing the importance of technology to the future of the business, Shop Direct said that it is currently in the process of recruiting a permanent chief technology officer to sit on the executive board. Until then, interim chief information officer, JM Domaingue, will report to group chief executive Henry Birch.
eBay has partnered with Square Capital to enable eBay sellers in the US to access funding that can help them grow their businesses. Square Capital facilitates loans ranging from $500 to $100,000 to all types of small businesses, providing critical financing to sellers that may be either unable to access loans from traditional lenders, or whose needs are not served by existing offerings. Select eBay customers will begin receiving email invitations to apply for a loan through Square Capital in the third quarter of 2018.
Customers of digital currency exchange Coinbase will now be able to spend their cryptocurrency balances on e-gift cards, following a partnership with WeGift. Customers in the EU and Australia will now be able to spend the funds in their crypto accounts with retailers including Nike, Tesco, Uber, Google Play, Ticketmaster, Zalando and more. There will be no Coinbase withdrawal fees, while there will be bonuses on selected e-gifts.
Fashion retailer Joules has seen group revenue increase by 18.4 per cent year-on-year to £185.9 million, driven by strong growth from its e-commerce channels. The UK brand’s annual report for the year to 27 May showed that retail revenue was up by 15.9 per cent to £129.7 million, reflecting growth from stores and online, with e-commerce revenue increasing by 28 per cent to represent 38.4 per cent of total retail revenue – up from 34.8 per cent in 2017.
Online retailer Beauty Bay has partnered with payment provider Klarna to help drive growth. Customers will now be able to use the pay later service when checking out online, receiving their products while paying for them up to 30 days later, with no interest or fees.
Worldpay are developing a proof-of-concept drone that incorporates contactless technology, to help combat the growing issue of parcel fraud. The Drone Pay prototype uses EMV contactless payment technology to verify the identity of the recipient, ensuring the parcel is delivered to the correct person at the right address. This technology is embedded into a drone landing pad, which is issued to the customer in the form of a doormat.
Cashless payments provider tappit has announced a three-year strategic partnership with Bestival and Camp Bestival. Rolling out this July, festival-goers will use tappit’s contactless payment wristbands for the first time, saving time in queues, getting more secure transactions and letting the festival organisers gather data on their habits to enable enhanced experiences in the future.
Mobile biometrics will authenticate $2 trillion worth of in-store and remote mobile payment transactions annually by 2023 – 17 times the $124 billion expected in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper, which expects the growth to be driven by over 2,500 per cent growth in remote biometric transactions. The study predicts that remote m-commerce transactions will reach over 48 billion in volume by 2023, representing around 57 per cent of all biometric transactions – up from an estimated 28 per cent in 2018.
The amount of London-based businesses reporting serious financial difficulty has risen by 17 per cent year-on-year, according to Begbies Traynor. The consultancy’s regular ‘Red Flag Alert’ research found that in the second quarter this year, 472,183 businesses across the UK were experiencing ‘significant’ financial distress at the end of June 2018, up nine per cent compared to the same stage last year, but down one per cent compared to the previous three months of this year.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) is looking to carry out a market review into card-acquiring services and has published draft terms of reference for consultation. Card payment use is growing, with the PSR stating that last year in the UK, 13.2 billion payments were made by debit card and an additional 3.1 billion payments by credit card. Also in 2017, for the first time, debit cards became the most frequently used payment method.
IKEA has announced plans to open a new city centre shop on London’s Tottenham Court Road, the first step in the retailer’s revised strategy to get into the heart of urban areas and respond to changing consumer lifestyles. Javier Quiñones, IKEA UK and Ireland country retail manager, explained that London is the first city globally to pilot this concept, which is aimed at making the brand more accessible.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with Founders Factory to launch Founders Factory Retail – a joint venture focused on investing and growing retail startups. M&S will become Founders Factory’s exclusive UK retail partner, and invest in a number of startups, sourced through Founders Factory’s global network. M&S will become the majority shareholder within the joint venture which will build a portfolio of investments in fast growth startups, which it will seek to grow and scale.
People in the UK and US are the most prolific online shoppers, compared to consumers in Europe and Australia, according to the ING International mobile banking survey. Ipsos internet-based polling of nearly 15,000 people across 13 countries in Europe, as well as the US and Australia, found that 16 per cent of Britons and Americans have bought goods or services more than once a week in the last 12 months – six per cent higher than the overall European average of 10 per cent.
There were 20 profit warnings from FTSE-listed retailers in the first half of 2018, double the number issued in the same half-year period in 2017, according to new figures from EY. Retailers such as John Lewis, Debenhams, Moss Bros, Card Factory, Dunelm, Carpetright and Eve Sleep were among those issuing profit warnings so far this year. Meanwhile, non-listed retailers such as New Look and House of Fraser have started the Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) process.
Cambridge City Council has installed two contactless donation terminals, where members of the public can donate to Cambridge Street Aid – a charitable fund for the homeless in the city. Passers-by can donate using contactless debit or credit cards, or smartphones – 24 hours a day at one terminal, or any time during the Visitor Information Centre’s regular opening hours.
As shoppers spend more time and money on mobile, greater emphasis is being placed on the importance of website speed – with many retailers falling below the expected wait times. This is according to Mobify’s second quarter Mobile Insights report, which notes that 53 per cent of users will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. A study of the top 2,000 e-commerce websites in the US and UK revealed that the median load time was six seconds, with only 10 per cent of companies’ websites loading in 3.1 seconds or less.
Farfetch has acquired social media marketing firm CuriosityChina to help facilitate an expansion of its presence in the Chinese market. The online fashion retailer said that the deal - for an undisclosed sum - will help its brands build their presence in China with a range of new services.
Growth in UK online spending has beaten previous records, with e-commerce sales exceeding £28 billion - over £14 billion per quarter - in the first half of the year, according to the Adobe Digital Price Index. This equates to 9.9 per cent year-on-year growth in the first quarter and 10.7 per cent in the second quarter. Adobe’s figures are based on analysis of over one trillion visits to over 4,500 retail sites in the UK, with pricing insights based on sales of more than 55 million unique products. In addition, Adobe surveyed 1,000 consumers in the UK between the end of May and the start of June.
In the three months to June, the quantity of retail sales rose by 2.1 per cent, the largest increase since February 2015. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found food stores having the strongest growth since May 2001 at 2.2 per cent, with feedback from supermarkets suggesting that the continued good weather and World Cup had encouraged sales.
Seven in 10 Millennials would be more likely to shop with a retailer that was enhancing its shopping experience with innovative technology, according to a new study. The survey of 2,000 British consumers, published by Hitachi Consulting, revealed the attitudes to technology of different generations and incomes – identifying Millennials as the group retailers can target to boost sales and grow market share.
The retail sector was the only area of the UK commercial property market to post an outright decline in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The results of the survey found that the downturn across the retail sector is intensifying, with stores in secondary locations showing “particularly negative rental and capital value projections” and 53 per cent more respondents noting a downfall in demand over the period.
Hotel Chocolat has published its trading update for the full year to 1 July 2018, revealing revenues of £116 million – an increase of 12 per cent year-on-year. Over the course of the year, the retailer added 200,000 new online buyers and opened 15 new stores – contributing six per cent to the group sales. Hotel Chocolat has also developed a number of innovative, digital-first products for the upcoming season.
Debenhams has updated its flagship Oxford Street department store with a new 20 metre dynamic window installation from retail display manufacturer Unibox. With window promotions changing more than 10 times every year, Debenhams was looking to introduce a display that could be easily reconfigured. Unibox engineered a custom specification of its Kinetik LED Lightbox - which features dynamic LEDs that augment a tension fabric graphic - allowing the Debenhams team to amalgamate replaceable graphics and physical product display.
UK online retail sales were up strongly again during June, as the hot weather and start of the World Cup spurred a 16.9 per cent year-on-year growth, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Both multichannel and online-only retailers performed well – up 14.8 per cent and 18.7 per cent respectively. The largest sector increase was seen in garden, with a 49.9 per cent year-on-year growth, as the nation prepared for barbeques and basked in the hot weather. This was followed by clothing, with the sun inspiring a year-on-year growth of 19.3 per cent.
Supermarket chain Asda has entered into consultation to close its distribution centre in North London, as a lack of automation means the retailer is not meeting its fulfilment requirements. The site, which opened in 2010, currently employs 261 colleagues and delivers home shopping to around 4,500 customers each week. The proposal follows the opening of two fully-automated distribution centres in London over the past 18 months – one in Heston in July 2017 and one in Dartford two months ago.
Online furniture retailer Swoon has partnered with payments provider Klarna to offer its customers new types of financing. When checking out online, shoppers will now be able to use Slice it, a Klarna tool which cuts costs into monthly instalments — with payments of £500 or more being spread over six months and those more than £1,000 over 12 months.
John Lewis has revealed plans to overhaul several of its stores in a bid to fight falling sales and profits. The following 17 outposts will be turned into ‘pilot shops’ from September: Oxford Street, Bluewater, Cheadle, White City, Cheltenham, Southampton, Glasgow, Nottingham, Peter Jones, Oxford, Milton Keynes, High Wycombe, Cribbs Causeway, Stratford, Leeds, Southampton and Nottingham.
The government has appointed a panel of experts to diagnose issues that currently affect the health of the UK’s High Streets and advise on practical measures to help them thrive now and in the future. High Streets minister Jake Berry announced that the panel will be chaired by Timpson chairman John Timpson, along with Vidhya Alakeson, chief executive at Power to Change; Gi Fernando, founder of Freeformers; Graham Galpin, a councillor from Ashford council; Emma Mackenzie, director at NewRiver; Eric Reynolds, founding director of Urban Space Management; Stephen Robertson, former director general of the British Retail Consortium (BRC); and Sophia de Sousa, chief executive at The Glass-House.
UK consumers are looking for innovative, digital payment experiences with their banks, according to a new YouGov survey on behalf of Ondot. The results found that online security and fraud prevention tops the list of what British consumers think banks should guarantee – with 60 per cent wanting peace of mind when using their cards online. The survey also discovered that consumers are keen to play a much more proactive role in managing their personal finances.
Research into the behaviour of NikePlus members in Los Angeles has led the footwear and clothing brand to open a new concept store on Melrose Avenue. Nike by Melrose opened its doors last week, operating as an “experimental digital-meets-physical retail pilot”, according to the company, although the bricks and mortar will remain, with products and services tested there “based on a deep understanding of the neighbourhood”.
Mastercard has announced a partnership with payments technology firm Worldpay, focused on expanding acceptance options and making digital payments more convenient and secure. Through the partnership, Worldpay will offer Mastercard’s Pay by Bank app to merchants in the UK starting in early 2019. Pay by Bank enables customers of UK businesses to make online payments for goods via their mobile banking app, directly from their bank account.
UK footfall in June dropped 0.9 per cent from 2017, when footfall increased by 0.8 per cent, according to the latest figures from BRC. The High Street saw growth of 0.1 per cent, representing the second month of consecutive growth since November 2017. Retail parks experienced a decline of -0.4 per cent in June against also a tough comparable of 2.3 per cent last year, while shopping centres saw a 3.4 per cent decline in footfall – representing the 15th month of consecutive decline.
Ahead of today’s Amazon Prime Day, research has revealed Amazon is the preferred starting point for shopping (51 per cent) and is where consumers complete the majority of their online purchases (55 per cent). Over 3,500 consumers who shop online across the US and UK were surveyed by e-commerce consultancy Salmon, finding that Amazon captures a significant share of online spending – 35 per cent in the UK and 52 per cent in the US. While 72 per cent of consumers are more likely to shop with retailers that are digitally innovative - up from 60 per cent in 2017 - many retailers are still failing to meet these expectations.
Japanese payments firm Paidy has seured $55 million in a Series C funding round, led by ITOCHU Corporation, with participation from Goldman Sachs. Paidy provides an instant post-pay credit service for e-commerce customers in Japan. No pre-registration or credit card is required to use Paidy; customers simply purchase products online using a mobile phone number and email address, settling a single monthly bill via bank transfer, auto credit or at a convenience store.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for further clarity around the government’s Brexit plans, following yesterday’s publications of a new white paper. Among the new details contained within the document was the proposal that businesses should be able to move “their talented people” from the UK to the European Union - and vice versa - with the UK government prepared to allow EU citizens to travel freely without a visa in the UK for tourism and temporary work.
Retailers consider security of both cash and staff to be the strongest drivers for investing in new cash technology, according to a new report from RBR. The study found that retailers in countries which have strong cash usage as well as general concerns around security are likely to gain the most from retail cash automation. In countries like the US, Brazil and South Africa, security concerns are considered paramount.
Verifone and Bluefin have partnered to provide the latter’s Point-to-Point Encryption (P2PE) security solution to merchants using the former’s POINT or Retail Transaction Switch (RTS) solutions. Merchants can reduce not only the cost incurred when trying to comply with PCI Payment Application Data Security Standards, but also mitigate the risk associated with face-to-face payments.
Homewares retailer Dunelm Group has reported broadly flat (0.1 per cent increase) total like-for-like revenues during the last quarter were broadly flat year-on-year, saved by “continuing strong performance” from its online channel, which achieved growth of 41.8 per cent. The trading update for the 13-week period ended 30 June 2018 revealed weak footfall in physical shops, leading to a 4.6 per cent decline in sales.
Luxury fashion brand Emma Willis has partnered with retail software firm Esperus Systems to upgrade the management systems at its central London store. The retailer has implemented new AURES hardware that has multiple configuration options and touchscreen functionality. The cloud-based platform will manage the company’s stock control and customer data, including financial reports.
Long queues are the biggest turn-off for UK shoppers, whose abandoned baskets are costing retailers up to £12 billion each year. This is according to new research from Adyen, which suggests that British retailers are struggling to keep up with the increasing demand for improved customer experience in-store. The payments platform commissioned 451 Research to survey 1,000 UK consumers and 100 senior retail decision makers during the second quarter of this year.
ASOS has reported retail sales up 22 per cent to £823.9 million in the four months to 30 June. This broke down into UK retail sales up 23 per cent to £288 million, EU sales up 31 per cent to £257.4 million, and US sales up 15 per cent to £108.1 million.
A new study has revealed that 44 per cent of companies reported a “significant increase” in both growth and revenue generation as a result of using customer analytics, while 58 per cent reported significant improvements in customer retention and loyalty. However, only 16 per cent considered their brands “very effective” at delivering real-time interactions across various channels, with 30 per cent indicating they were “not effective at all”.
eBay UK has unveiled Image Search – a new artificial intelligence (AI) based feature for shoppers to use pictures instead of words to search the marketplace’s catalogue of items. The new technology enables consumers to take a photo or use an existing photo of an item they want to purchase and enter it into the search bar. eBay will then surface listings that are a close match or visually similar so users can purchase.
Westminster Council has agreed to invest £727,000 in the transformation of Oxford Street, turning the shopping district into a “global, iconic destination”. The new scheme is in response to the long-term challenges facing the High Street, including poor air quality, the changing nature of retail and safety issues related to the opening of the Elizabeth Line. The council wants to ensure that Oxford Street remains a must-visit destination for visitors from London and around the world.
Online fashion retailer N Brown has seen a 12 per cent uplift in new visitor conversion using optimisation and personalisation tools from Monetate and Taggstar. N Brown deployed advanced testing, segmentation and geo-location capabilities of Monetate to tailor the real-time Taggstar messages on its JD Williams, SimplyBe and Jacamo brands. Taggstar’s technology pulls crowd-sourced real-time data about product popularity and other trends derived from customer browsing history – including the number of people viewing an item, product reviews and ratings, top trending items and product scarcity.
Almost a third of UK customers are willing to share more personal data to improve their shopping experience, although they are less willing to hand it over than their European counterparts. Experience personalisation firm RichRelevance surveyed 2,577 respondents across the UK, France and Germany, finding that 32 per cent of UK customers are unwilling to hand over more data to retailers, compared with 31 per cent in France and 25 per cent in Germany.
Ocado has revealed a £9 million loss in its half-year report, caused by continued investment in expanding IT systems and warehousing capacity, compared to a pre-tax profit of £7.7 million during the first six months of last year. Underlying earnings also fell 13.9 per cent year-on-year to £38.9 million, while revenue growth slowed to 11.7 per cent year-on-year, something the delivery retailer blamed on the ‘Beast from the East’ storms earlier this year.
In June, UK retail sales increased by 1.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis from June 2017, when they had increased 1.2 per cent from the preceding year. The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG showed that on a total basis, sales increased 2.3 per cent in June, against an increase of 2 per cent in June 2017.
The John Lewis Partnership has announced it has selected three finalists to join its retail tech innovation programme JLAB. The first JLAB pitch day of 2018 whittled down over 100 start-ups and established businesses to a shortlist of 11, which then pitched to a panel of six senior leaders from across John Lewis.
As established High Street retail brands struggle with large store footprints and lost sales to e-commerce, new research has revealed that nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of UK consumers want the government to do more to back the growth of independent retailers. Marketing automation firm Pure360 commissioned YouGov to poll a representative sample of British consumers, finding that nearly half (42 per cent) would consider shopping with an independent retailer because they prefer to support smaller operations over a larger retailer.
Matalan’s revenue has grown by 4.9 per cent during the first quarter, backed by both in-store performance and 39 per cent growth of its online channel. For the 13 week period ending May 26, the value fashion retailer’s total revenue was £265.9 million, compared to the £253.4 million over the same period last year.
Figures released today by business advisory firm BDO have revealed that UK High Street sales declined 1.7 per cent year-on-year in June, marking the first time in at least 12 years that in-store growth has failed to exceed 1 per cent in a single month for the first half of a calendar year. BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker figures also marked the fifth successive month of negative in-store growth.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has taken a 40 per cent minority stake in Chinese pharmacy retailer Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores. Boots’ US parent company acquired the equity through a capital increase worth CNY 2.76 billion. Its chief executive Stefano Pessina said the Chinese retailer held a strong position in the sector.
The chancellor has responded to calls for changes to retailers’ business rates, but stopped short of any action for the time being. In a letter responding to the Treasury Committee, Philip Hammond stated that the government recognises business rates can represent a high fixed cost of some businesses, adding: “That is why we have taken repeated action to cut the burden of business rates, announcing reforms and reductions worth over £10 billion by 2023.”
European Union regulations coming into place next September will lead to a significant increase in the use of biometric technology to authenticate who is paying, according to Mastercard. In terms of card payments, currently just 1-2 per cent of online transactions require cardholder authentication to complete a transaction - mostly likely using a password - but this is set to rise to 25 per cent from next autumn.
The average retailers’ data is only about 75 per cent accurate when it comes to knowing exactly what inventory is actually in stock at any particular time. This problem is often compounded by retailers continually managing stock across multiple channels and increasingly having to stay on top of consumer demands for up-to-the-minute, reliable information.
Retail technology firm JDA Software has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Yonder – a market specialist in artificial intelligence (AI) retail solutions. The acquisition builds on JDA’s strategy of developing cognitive and connected solutions to power digital transformations for companies seeking to improve their supply chain technology.
Luxury fashion brand Jules B has experienced a 40 per cent revenue increase since revamping its digital marketing strategy. The retailer partnered with e-commerce agency Visualsoft to help increase its digital presence and boost brand awareness both in the UK and internationally. The design of the website was overhauled, while a 360 degree marketing approach was implemented.
Primark has bucked the UK High Street trend and reported sales up six per cent during the 40 weeks to June 23, up seven per cent on last year at actual exchange rates. The value fashion retailer’s parent company Associated British Foods said this growth was “marginally lower” than the performance delivered in the first half, although like-for-like sales over the quarter improved on those for the first half.
A new report has warned that retailers with slow-loading mobile websites will begin to be penalised by Google webs search from this month. The tech giant’s new Speed Update initiative, being implemented in July 2018, will officially make mobile page-speed a ranking factor, although it did state that only sites which “deliver the slowest experience to users” will be impacted, meaning only a “small percentage of queries”.
Alibaba has revealed plans for a new fashion outlet in Hong Kong powered by artificial intelligence (AI), demonstrating a new model for the digitisation of fashion retail. The technology has the ability to learn the latest fashion trends and tips from analysis of data generated by Alibaba’s ecosystem of sales, stylists and information from partner brands on Tmall, providing customers with personalised recommendations through in-store smart mirrors.
Sainsbury’s has published a trading statement for the three months to 30 June 2018, revealing 0.8 per cent growth in total retail sales, driven by a 7.3 per cent uplift in online sales. The supermarket chain has continued to invest in digital and online channels, with same-day online delivery now available from 171 stores, covering 57 per cent of UK households. Sainsbury’s also experienced its biggest ever sales week in convenience this quarter.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for a two-year freeze on business rates increases to provide some relief for the retail industry at a time when it is under significant cost pressure, and is going through a period of transformation driven by technology and changing consumer behaviour. The retail industry is the UK’s largest private sector employer, making up five per cent of the economy and paying nearly a quarter of the overall business rates bill – over £7 billion per year. The BRC argued this is a disproportionate burden and is leading to decisions to close stores, while at the same time getting in the way of the modernisation of Britain’s High Streets.
Online fashion retailer ASOS has announced that Danny McBride will be stepping down as chair and non-executive director in November this year, after a six-year tenure. McBride will be succeeded by Adam Crozier, who will be appointed as chair and non-executive director on 29 November 2018. Crozier has extensive boardroom experience, with directorships at Saatchi & Saatchi, Vue International, G4S, the Football Association, the Royal Mail, and most recently ITV, where he served as chief executive until June 2017.
Firms in retail and wholesale spent an average of £2,940 on cyber security in 2017-18 – a rise of 21 per cent on the previous year. This is according to new figures from the Business Continuity Institute and SavoyStewart, which found that 53 per cent of UK firms now consider a cyber attack as the main threat facing them in the near future. According to security professionals recently consulted by networking hardware company Cisco,
UK retailers have spent almost £827,000 on failed and £663,000 on cancelled digital transformation projects, new research has found. Fujitsu’s latest report found that a lack of direction behind digital projects is costing retailers, as almost three quarters admit to undertaking projects not linked to the overarching business strategy. Furthermore, six in 10 retailers said the cost of failed projects has put them off pursuing digital transformation in the future.
Merlin Entertainments has partnered with Alipay so Chinese tourists can use their Alipay app across the company’s London attractions, including Madame Tussauds, the London Eye and London Dungeon. Visitors will be able to collect discounted e-coupons when they book flights to London, as well as paying for souvenirs ahead of time. Alipay users with higher membership levels will also receive preferential foreign exchange rates.
Retailers are failing to provide a consistent omnichannel experience, according to research from commerce solutions provider PCMS. The study of 2,000 UK consumers found that just five per cent believe they received a ‘very consistent’ customer experience when comparing a retailer’s website to its app or store. When it comes to those retail sectors that shoppers believe best manage the omnichannel experience, grocery and supermarkets came out top of the list (30 per cent),
China’s JD.com has introduced a fleet of hydrogen energy delivery trucks to Shanghai, as part of a technology-based sustainability programme. Hydrogen-powered vehicles were chosen as alternatives to traditional vehicles run on carbon-based fuel, but the new technology requires experience to utilise effectively. The tanks take just three minutes to refill, with the trucks able to travel for 300km per tank while carrying up to 3.5 tonnes of cargo. The only omission released by the new vehicles is purified water.
Tesco and Carrefour are entering into a long-term, strategic alliance, covering their relationships with global suppliers, the joint purchasing of own brand products and goods not for resale. The alliance will be governed by a three-year operational framework and should be formally agreed within the next two months.
In the 11 Russian host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, approximately one in five (17 per cent) purchases with Visa has used contactless technology. This is according to new data from Visa, which found that in the stadiums themselves, the share of contactless payments was 54 per cent, inclusive of purchases made by fans from Russia and abroad. On average, Visa cardholders have spent $56.65 per transaction, with fans from the US spending the most – followed by China and Mexico in second and third respectively.
In the 11 Russian host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, approximately one in five (17 per cent) purchases with Visa has used contactless technology. This is according to new data from Visa, which found that in the stadiums themselves, the share of contactless payments was 54 per cent, inclusive of purchases made by fans from Russia and abroad. On average, Visa cardholders have spent $56.65 per transaction, with fans from the US spending the most – followed by China and Mexico in second and third respectively.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has stressed the importance of maintaining frictionless trade following a Brexit deal, in new research analysing the effect of ‘non-tariff barriers’. Currently, when goods enter the European Union from outside member countries, there is various checks and controls to slow down the transaction. There are 405 of these controls in total, with fresh beef facing 22 of these measures, strawberries 28 and pharmaceutical products 44.
For the first time in Italy, it is now possible to pay for tickets at the point of sale (PoS) terminals in Milan’s subway stations – following cities like London, Moscow, Chicago, Singapore and Vancouver. Made possible by technology from SIA, the upgrade marks a significant step in Milan’s digital transformation programme for public transport. SIA’s platform connects every PoS terminal on which contactless cards can be used to open the turnstiles of the 113 stations on the Milan subway network, as well as payment circuits and ATM’s fare calculation system.
Online retail parcel delivery order volumes were up 14.8 per cent year-on-year in May, according to the latest data from IMRG. According to the study, the uplift is in line with many indicators of retail performance in May, with multiple factors – including the royal wedding and good weather – driving shoppers to spend both online and in-store. Use of next-day or specified-day services reached a record high for May, accounting for 37 per cent of UK-delivered orders.
Some 48 per cent of the UK retail industry feels they are behind most competitors when it comes to technology, according to a new report from Unisys. Furthermore, the report found that 40 per cent of employees feel negative about their job and even frustrated to be working for their employer. The figures reveal a growing trend across the world, with 56 of digital workers at “technology laggard” organisations expressing frustration with their employer, compared to just nine per cent at “technology leader” organisations.
Ticketmaster has admitted that 40,000 customers’ personal information and credit card details have been compromised in a data breach on Saturday. The company said in a statement that its systems had been hit by “malicious software” through a third-party supplier to the site. Ticketmaster said that the affected accounts – five per cent of the firm’s customer base – have been contacted and advised to change their password.
Caffè Nero, Yoyo, DFS, Hilton, Nisa Retail, Bleep UK and Tommy Hilfiger were among the companies to pick up a trophy at the thirteenth annual Retail Systems Awards last night. Recognising technology excellence and innovation across the retail sector, the 2018 awards were hotly contested, with a number of stand-out entries. This year’s winners were revealed at a prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Waldorf Hotel in central London, hosted by comedian Kerry Goldiman.
The age old debate about using cash or new electronic methods was ignited again at a panel session about payments infrastructure – with one participant stating consumers are being pushed down routes where they have no choice. The Westminster Business Forum event on the future of payments in the UK was opened by New Payment System Operator (NPSO) chair Melanie Johnson, who laid out the work her organisation was doing to bring the country’s disparate payment systems under one umbrella.
John Lewis has outlined the next phase of its business strategy, with an increased focus on the whole business competing through differentiation and innovation. The retailer will continue to invest at a rate of £400-500 million each year and take further steps worth £500 million over three years to strengthen the balance sheet, while recognising the short-term pressure on profits.
Six in 10 retailers believe that lost sales in digital channels are a bigger concern than fraud, with 48 per cent stating that they are willing to face an increased risk of fraud if it means more sales. This is according to a new report from ACI Worldwide and Ovum, which found that one in four European merchants in the retail, travel and hospitality and digital goods sector has experienced data theft, with 61 per cent believing that they are at greater risk of a data security breach today than they were a year ago.
Oasis, Warehouse and Coast will leverage Aptos’ point of sale (PoS) solution, Aptos Store, across their stores. At 178 locations across the three brands, employees will be able to conduct more informed and personalised interactions, optimise checkout and returns processing, and improving store management and operations.
Wimbledon has enlisted the support of IBM to transform the way fans perceive the game of tennis, using artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver unique and authentic content. AI-powered automated video highlights are generated using IBM Watson and other technologies to show the most exciting moments of the tournament from the six main show courts. With an average of three matches per court, per day, video from the matches can quickly add up to hundreds of hours of footage which could take hours to pull together into highlight packages.
Two thirds of retailers plan to invest in machine learning to enhance their digital marketing campaigns, according to new research. Digital marketing agency QueryClick surveyed over 150 chief marketing officers for UK consumer brands with a revenue of over £150 million and an e-commerce offering, finding that over half (53 per cent) of retailers will invest in voice search technology within the next 12 months.
UK shoppers are returning £7 billion of purchases every year, according to Barclaycard, leading to a ‘phantom economy’ of lost revenue for retailers. The study found that a quarter of retailers have seen a rise in returns in-store and online over the last two years, with the number of returned items up by 22 per cent on average. The figures are higher among fashion, footwear and accessory retailers, with 37 per cent of these businesses reporting a rise in refunds since 2016.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has unveiled plans for a fully-automated wine store where people are able to make purchases through facial recognition. Customers to the store can be attended to by a machine, which is able to help them identify the product, obtain further information about it and facilitate the purchase through facial recognition. All bottles are embedded with a tracking tag, with nearby screens displaying further information when the bottle is picked up. Payments are automatically conducted through Alibaba’s Alipay payment platform.
House of Fraser has announced that the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposals launched on 6 June have been approved by the company’s creditors. The CVA enables House of Fraser to restructure its business to secure its future and access new capital from international retailer C.banner. The retailer hopes that the move will provide a more sustainable cost base and a platform for future growth. House of Fraser will now begin the process of working with landlords and other stakeholders to implement the proposals
PayPal look set to continue their spending spree with the $120 million acquisition of fraud prevention and risk management platform Simility. PayPal hopes that the purchase will enhance its ability to deliver fraud prevention and risk management solutions to merchants around the world. Merchants will gain access to fraud tools that can be customised to suit the needs of their business.
The US Supreme Court has moved to close a loophole which enabled online retailers to effectively sell items tax-free in states where they have no physical presence. The decision made in South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc on Thursday overturns a ruling from the Supreme Court in 1992, which ruled that the Constitution bans states from requiring businesses to collect sales tax unless they have a substantial connection to the state. The 1992 decision has helped support the e-commerce industry by allowing companies to sell nationwide without having to comply with complex tax networks.
The Bank of Ireland yesterday experienced technical problems with the processing of debit card transactions, leaving thousands of customers unable to withdraw money or pay for goods. According to the bank, one in seven customers were affected by the problem, which it stated has now been resolved.
Iceland has partnered with innovation specialist and investor L Marks to launch the Iceland Innovation Lab, tasked with supporting startup businesses in the retail sector through partnership and investment. The lab will help startup firms validate their business ideas with Iceland over the course of a nine-week partnership development programme. Senior members of the Iceland leadership and subject-matter experts across the sector will be on hand to provide mentorship, while participants will also have access to the retailer’s scale and network.
Marks and Spencer has signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft, with a view to “transform the retail experience using the power of artificial intelligence (AI)”. The two organisations will work together to explore how new technologies can be utilised within the retail environment to improve customer experience and optimise operations. A team of AI engineers and product personnel from Microsoft will collaborate with the M&S Retail Labs team to accelerate the retailer’s digital transformation plans.
Omnichannel retailers are lagging behind their pureplay counterparts, with 32 per cent of retailers still lacking next day delivery capabilities. This is according to a new report from Sorted, which surveyed 2,000 UK shoppers and 50 retailers. It found the 59 per cent of consumers want retailers to offer faster fulfilment, while 39 per cent of people do not expect to have to wait more than 24 hours for a delivery.
OP Financial Group has joined forces with Nets to make the Pivo Wallet Oy available for Finnish Nets merchants, both in-store and online. Following the agreement between Nets and Pivo Wallet Oy, Pivo payments will be available at selected shops that use Nets terminals and in online stores at a later date.
Dixons Carphone has reported underlying pre-tax profit down by 24 per cent to £382 million, compared to £500 million during the 2016-17 financial year. The group’s preliminary results for the year to 28 April showed like-for-like sales went up four per cent, with total revenue rising three per cent to £10.5 billion.
Retailers must prepare for the post-channel era, or risk getting left behind, according to the chairman of Outfittery and Made.com. Speaking at the eTail Europe conference, Susanne Given said that the current pre-occupation with multi and omnichannel strategies would fall away in the near future.
Stores are an asset, not a liability - despite the recent trend for retailers to reduce their bricks and mortar footprint - according to the chief technology officer at Sainsbury’s and Argos. Speaking at the eTail Europe conference this morning, George Goley also argued that the staff that work at those stores should also be viewed as an asset, rather than something to be downsized when trading is challenging.
Providing unique experiences to consumers and ensuring both in-store and online presences are connected will be vital to the future of many retailers, according to a new report. In the study, law firm Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business provides an estimate of gross value added (GVA) growth and job creation within key cities across the UK, with a specific focus on the retail, leisure, tourism and food and drink industries. The report found that despite below-average year-on-year retail sales volume growth of 1.1 per cent in March 2018
Mobile point of sale (mPoS) devices connecting wirelessly or via mobile devices will account for 24 per cent of all point of sale transactions by 2023, according to new research. The study from Juniper found that mPoS devices, such as those from iZettle and Square, will account for 87 billion transactions by 2023, representing a threefold increase over an estimated 28 billion transactions in 2018.
PayPal has agreed to acquire global payout platform Hyperwallet for $400 million in cash. The deal enhances PayPal’s payout capabilities, improving its ability to provide an integrated suite of payment solutions to e-commerce platforms and marketplaces around the world, according to a statement.
A rare malfunction of hardware in one of Visa’s data centre was the cause of the outage that left millions of people across Europe unable to make card payments on 1 June. In an 11-page letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, Visa detailed the reasons for the system failure, its effect on the UK and Visa’s response and plans for avoiding such problems in the future.
UK retail group Arcadia, which owns brands including Topshop, Burton and Miss Selfridge, has invested in data science-based technology to improve operational efficiency. The solution from Thought Provoking Consulting (TPC) uses data science and product history to make the best markdown price recommendation, presented through an easy-to-use interface for merchandisers.
Voice interactions are the next evolution of customer interaction with retailers, following the evolutions of online and mobile. This is according to Karen Pepper, UK general manager of Amazon Pay, who noted that the two biggest trends among consumers at the moment are immediacy and personalisation. “Consumers want instant gratification, whether that streaming content or purchasing goods,” she said, speaking at eTail Europe conference today.
Simplicity is key to a successful online transformation programme, according to Ralph Tucker, chief product and supply chain officer at the N Brown Group. Speaking at the eTail conference in Westminster, Tucker stressed the importance of retailers getting the basics right when going through an online transformation process. He noted how Amazon are leading the way with innovation, through a simplistic approach which has become the norm across the industry.
Following positive results from the High Street, online retail sales in the UK were up 19.4 per cent year-on-year in May, marking the highest May growth since 2010. This is according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which suggested that the strong growth could be attributed to a number of factors, including the good weather, royal wedding, the FA Cup Final and two bank holidays.
JD.com and Google have announced a strategic partnership that will see Google invest $550 million in the Chinese e-commerce firm. The two companies plan to collaborate on a range of strategic initiatives, including joint development of retail solutions in Southeast Asia, the US and Europe. By applying JD’s supply chain and logistics expertise and Google’s technology strengths, the two companies aim to explore the creation of next generation retail infrastructure solutions, with the goal of offering helpful, personalised and frictionless shopping experiences.
John Lewis is trialling an app-based service in which customers can have any unwanted clothing bought from its 50 shops and website, collected from their home and paid for, regardless of condition. The service is currently being tested by over 100 John Lewis customers, with social enterprise Stuffstr, to help reduce the 300,000 tonnes of clothing which gets sent to landfill each year in the UK.
The popularity of contactless payments, online shopping and smartphones has led to debit cards overtaking cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to trade association UK Finance. Its latest report showed new technology, payment innovation and changing consumer habits contributed to 13.2 billion card payments at the end of 2017, overtaking cash payments (13.1 billion) for the first time.
There is a strong appetite among younger consumers for banking services from technology firms such as Amazon, Facebook, Google or Apple, as they could offer greater convenience and more personalised services. This is according to a new report from MuleSoft, which surveyed more than 8,000 consumers across the UK, US, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. It found that one in three global consumers would consider using the likes of Amazon for banking services; a figure which rises to 52 per cent for those aged 18-34.
Customers using contactless payment cards in London can now view their journey history on the go following the latest update to the Transport for London (TfL) Oyster and contactless app. Half of all tube and rail pay as you go journeys in London are now regularly made using contactless payment cards or mobile devices. More than 17 million pay as you go journeys a week are now regularly made across public transport services, providing value, flexibility and convenience.
Tesco has published its trading results for the first quarter of 2018, revealing positive like-for-like sales growth for a tenth consecutive quarter. Group sales were up 1.8 per cent, with UK and Ireland recording 3.5 per cent growth. Since consolidating Booker on 5 March 2018, the cash and carry company has seen sales grow 14.3 per cent – driven by a strong underlying performance and new business contracts.
Iceland will be extending its market-first trial of the Diebold Nixdorf reverse vending machines across England, following positive results from London locations. The Food Warehouse Wolverhampton, which is part of the Iceland Food Group, will be trialling the machine at its Peel Centre store on Stafford Street for the next six months from today. Reverse vending machines reward individuals for recycling, by providing money or vouchers in return for empty containers.
Fenwick has selected Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud to deliver new digital shopping experiences. At the end of April, the historic department store chain announced it was consulting with staff over a proposed structural reorganisation, with the centralising of back office operations and launch of a website that supports online shopping.
N Brown Group, the parent company of fashion retailers JD Williams, Jacamo and Simple Be, is consulting on plans to close 20 stores, with the possible loss of around 240 jobs. The stores are being closed ahead of their lease expiry dates, with the decision being based on poor footfall figures and the fact they only generated two per cent of the group’s revenue and an earnings before tax loss of £3 million.
The quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 1.3 per cent in May, compared to the previous month, with growth across all main sectors. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail figures showed that the quantity bought saw a sharp increase to 3.9 per cent year-on-year growth in May, compared with 1.4 per cent in April, possibly due to a combination of warm weather and just 0.8 per cent year-on-year growth in May 2017.
Retailers who neglect effective analysis of their promotional campaigns risk losing their customers, according to new research. The survey by Revionics, which quizzed shoppers in the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil, found that 37 per cent of respondents who received offers on items they would have paid full price for said the offer had neutral or negative impact. More than half of those consumers said they would be less likely to shop that store or brand in the future or that they reacted with annoyance.
Generation Z shoppers, those born from the mid-1990s, still value the in-store shopping experience, but would like it to be augmented by new technologies. This is according to a new study from Criteo, which surveyed over 2,000 Generation Z consumers (18-24 year-olds) across the US, UK, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan. It found that they crave novelty and experience, with a strong focus on omnichannel shopping. As a result of this, retailers must improve their websites and enhance store display and design. According to the survey, Gen Z want personalised experiences
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has launched a discussion paper about data in the payments industry. It stated that as payments-related data use is growing and becoming increasingly important, the regulator is examining how this can affect the payments industry and consumers.
More than a quarter (29 per cent) of UK small and medium businesses now give their customers the option to pay using an app in store – fuelled by the popularity of mobile payments apps such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The research conducted by Verve Partners Research and commissioned by Verifone also found that almost a fifth (17 per cent) of micro businesses are also tapping into the trend and accepting payment apps.
Dixons Carphone has found a data breach involving 5.9 million payment cards and 1.2 million personal data records. As part of a review of systems and data, the company determined unauthorised access to certain data. It launched an investigation with cyber security experts and added extra security measures.
New research has suggested that 85 per cent of businesses will use voice technology - such as Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana voice-activated assistants - to communicate with customers within the next year. The survey from Pindrop, a voice security and authentication firm, found that currently only 28 per cent of businesses use the technology. Based on the findings, the number of businesses planning to use voice to speak and listen to their customers will triple.
New Look has reported an underlying operating loss of £74.3 million compared to last year’s profit of £97.6 million, which was also down from £174.7 million the previous year. The fashion retailer’s UK sales fell 11.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with website sales down 19 per cent. New Look brand like-for-like sales were down 11.4 per cent, although third party e-commerce sales were up 15.5 per cent for the full year ending March 24.
Ted Baker has reported a 4.2 per cent increase in group revenue for the first half of 2018, compared to the same period last year. The gains were driven by e-commerce sales - described as “an integral and increasingly important component within our retail channel” - increasing by 33.6 per cent during the period. Total retail sales rose by 0.7 per cent.
The number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices is set to exceed 50 billion by 2022, up from an estimated 21 billion in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper Research, which found that the 140 per cent growth will be driven by edge computing services (the processing of data away from the cloud and closer to the source), increasing both deployment scalability and security.
Retailers in the UK are unwilling to spend money on innovation, and even those that are keen do not think such proposals will make it past the board, according to new research. The Rimini Street study spoke to 300 senior IT and finance decision makers across Europe across a variety of sectors. Specifically within retail, it found that 27 per cent believe their companies will only plan to spend one to five per cent more on innovation.
Only 31 per cent of UK retail businesses are sufficiently prepared for the EU General Data Protection Regulations, despite the legislation coming into effect on 25 May. This is according to instantprint, which found that the switchover to new regulations has proved to be an expensive task for retailers, with 45 per cent having to reprint marketing materials to gain compliance, at an estimated cost of £352 for each retail campaign.
The British Retail Consortium has warned that Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) will be used more and more by retailers in the UK as pressure on bricks and mortar footprints and staffing overheads continues to intensify. “The retail industry is going through a transformation, driven by technology changing how people want to shop, rising costs, and weak wage growth,” read a statement. “It’s a challenging period, retailers are adapting, and it’s clear that the industry will look very different in the future.”
Over a third of UK consumers believe that the UK will be a cashless society within the next 10 years, according to new research from Equifax. Furthermore, some 53 per cent of 16-34 year olds believe the UK will be reliant on digital and card payments by 2028, compared to just 22 per cent of those aged 55 and above. Despite this, the survey also found that cash still has its place in society.
Footfall fell in May by 0.4 per cent on the previous year, although this was a marked improvement over March and April, which recorded declines of 6 and 3.3 per cent, respectively. The British Retail Consortium noted that while footfall was still down, May was a great month for sales - due to weather and following a poor comparable from last year - with in-store sales recording growth for the first time in two years.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has published a response the HM Treasury’s call for evidence on cash and digital payments in the UK economy. The response lists a series of recommendations from the payments community on how government can encourage consumer adoption of new innovations and how the UK can become a less-cash society.
Ant Financial has agreed Series C equity financing totalling approximately $14 billion – believed to be the largest single fundraising round in history. It includes an RMB tranche raised by Ant Financial from domestic investors and a USD tranche raised by Ant International from international investors – which should increase the value of the Chinese group above $100 billion.
Almost three-quarters of Millennials still prefer stores to online shopping, according to a new report. Brand experience consultancy I-AM surveyed 2,000 18-to-35 year-olds living in several UK cities, finding that 74 per cent prefer physical stores, compared to just 26 per cent favouring online shopping.
Mastercard will soon be rolling out its Send platform, which allows financial institutions, FinTechs, digital customers and other businesses to send real-time payments to UK bank accounts and receive payments by the same means. The network is the first example of Mastercard’s integration of Vocalink and its real-time payment capabilities.
Almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) of the UK’s top retailers are risking a significant drop in online visibility by neglecting their mobile site performance, according to new research. The report from Visualsoft found that a “worryingly low” number of retailers have taken strides to improve mobile site speed since the launch of Google’s Speed Update study. The study rates sites that load in under four seconds as “excellent”, with research indicating that 50 per cent of users now expect a site to load within two seconds.
Paysafe has announced a partnership with Google which means its prepaid business paysafecard is now accepted as a payment method in the Google Play app store. The card enables consumers who prefer or need to use cash to pay online by using the 16-digit PIN to complete the transaction.
House of Fraser has confirmed that it has filed proposals for Company Voluntary Arrangements, with directors identifying 31 stores for closure, including its London Oxford Street flagship store. House of Fraser believes that the proposals are central to the survival of the company, with the current property portfolio “unsustainable in its current form”. The store closures will reduce the total store estate to 28, while the Baker Street head office and Granite House office in Glasgow will also be relocated.
Most businesses are at risk of trapping their customers in a cycle of repeated recommendations, according to a new report. Research from analytics firm SAS found 93 per cent of businesses surveyed were unable to use analytics to accurately predict what individual customers will want in future. However, 54 per cent mistakenly believed they are ‘best-in-class’ when it comes to using customer intelligence to shape their campaigns.
Shopping centre chain Westfield has unveiled its ‘Destination 2028’ concept, which depicts a ‘hyper-connected micro-city’ driven by social interaction and community. Developed by a team of experts, including a futurologist, fashion technology innovator, retail specialist and experimental physiologists, the concept shows how shopping destinations may look in ten years’ time. The new space features a hanging sensory garden, artificial intelligence-infused walkways and eye scanners
Department store chain House of Fraser looks sets to shut 29 of its 59 UK stores, as it prepares to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). According to a report from the Daily Mail, the department store’s Chinese owner C Banner will announce the decision in the coming days, outlining the restructuring process for the department store chain. High Street locations are expected to bear the brunt of the closures, with the London flagship store on Oxford Street said to be at risk.
The Treasury Committee’s chair has written to Visa’s European chief executive to find out what went wrong on Friday 1 June, how Visa will ensure that a similar failure doesn’t happen again, and whether customers or merchants will be entitled to compensation. Nicky Morgan commented that given a third of all spending in the UK is processed by Visa, “it’s deeply worrying that such a vital part of the country’s payment infrastructure can fail so catastrophically”.
Fans of Liverpool FC will now be able to enjoy 4G services at Anfield through a new stadium-wide network, which has been installed to improve the matchday experience for supporters. The new 4G mobile services have been designed and deployed by infrastructure delivery specialists Wireless Infrastructure Group (WIG). The service is available initially to O2 and Vodafone customers, with plans to roll the service out to other networks at a later date.
UK retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent on a total basis from May 2017, according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor. This is above the three-month and 12-month averages of 1.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively and the highest increase since 2014. Online sales of non-food products were up 11.9 per cent in May, against growth of 4.3 per cent in May 2017.
Mastercard has launched AI Express, a programme designed to help retailers address key business priorities, including anti-money laundering, fraud risk management, cyber security, credit risk prediction and operational efficiencies.“If data is the oil that powers the digital economy, artificial intelligence is the refinery,” said Ajay Bhalla, chief security solutions officer at Mastercard.
German online-only fashion retailer Zalando has confirmed plans to launch in Ireland and the Czech Republic in summer 2018, taking its total number of markets to 17. The two countries will be the first two markets that Zalando have entered since 2013. The move will expand the company’s reach and open its offering to an additional 15.4 million potential customers. Ireland and the Czech Republic are adjacent to current Zalando markets and will be served by Zalando’s existing logistics sites.