Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire is exploring various options to secure its future following reports that the group could collapse into administration within days. It follows a Sky News report this morning suggesting that the retail group, which owns High Street Brands including TopShop, TopMan Dorothy Perkins and Burton, could appoint administrators as soon as next week, potentially putting 15,000 jobs at risk.
Black Friday debit card transactions were marginally up as of midday, going by Nationwide Building Society data, but retail watchers will be looking to see if this is sustained by the end of the day. At midday, the Nationwide had seen 2.3 million debit card transactions – up 2 per cent on the same period last year, and 22 per cent up on the same period last Friday.
With record numbers of shop closures this year, a large number of retailers are stepping up their communication efforts to customers to help stay afloat, according to research. Communications provider Esendex questioned 660 international businesses about how the pandemic had influenced their messaging, and found that a quarter of the retailers questioned had increased their customer communication efforts compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The British Retail Consortium has said it is encouraged that the government is considering options for further rates relief for businesses in England impacted by the pandemic. But the industry body called for the government to implement its suggestion of rates relief at 50 per cent.
Online shoppers say they have increased their online purchases by a third (31 per cent) over the past year, with 60 per cent saying the majority of their shopping is now done online “as a result of the pandemic”, according to research. ShipStation, which provides an e-commerce order and delivery management platform, questioned over 500 online shoppers living in the UK with an average age of 35 for the research.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has appointed Sir Brian Leveson to provide independent oversight of the group’s supply chain transformation programme. The e-commerce platform has appointed the former judge, who led the independent inquiry into press ethics, to oversee the overhaul of its business practices and supply chains following a review led by Alison Levitt QC, which found a series of failings.
Co-op has extended its use of autonomous home delivery robots to shoppers in Northampton, using bots from Starship Technologies. The grocery chain said it had ambitions to use as many as 300 of Starship’s robots by the end of 2021 as it looks for more towns and cities to operate autonomous deliveries.
The ethics of retailer supply chains has been called into question recently, with brands now rushing to implement technology that gives better visibility into how products are made, sourced and shipped. The scandal that brought the issue into focus most recently was a report in July on Boohoo’s UK supply chain that had a significant impact on the company’s share price and reputation.
The Coronavirus crisis has hit many industries hard, but those grocers expected to keep the nation fed and watered have been criticised in recent weeks for not being able to handle the surge in demand. The self-isolation advice and eventual lockdown across the UK has led people to stockpile certain key items, putting a serious strain on ‘just in time’ replenishment models not prepared for such spikes in sales – especially while dealing with staff shortages that cut available manpower by as much as a quarter.
Cashierless shopping trials are currently underway with a range of retailers across the US and Europe, but concerns around shop security could hold back the roll-out of the technology. In the last 12 months, the Co-Operative and Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK have run in-store pilot schemes, while Europe’s largest consumer electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn recently deployed MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout solution in the world’s biggest electronics store in Hamburg.
Retail Systems editor Peter Walker sits down with Brother’s senior commercial client manager Jessica Stansfield to talk through the company’s solutions for retailers and hospitality businesses, what’s new in labelling technology, and the benefits of outsourcing printing.
Fluent Commerce’s EMEA managing director Rob Shaw sat down with Retail Systems editor Peter Walker to discuss omnichannel opportunities, the best way to tackle technology and how the company is expanding into the UK and Europe.