Holland & Barrett has launched a pilot project with Mercaux to assist with the brand’s digital transformation. The specialist health food retailer with use Mercaux’s Sales Assist and omnichannel solutions to train staff on the concept of the ‘endless aisle’, educate on new products entering the store and reduce lost sales by offering alternatives or online options.
A third of e-commerce companies are choosing to opt-out of participating in peak season campaigns this year — an unprecedented rise from only six per cent in 2019.
However, consumer demand is trending in the opposite direction, with 34 per cent of shoppers planning to increase their peak season spending year-on-year.
E-commerce platform Shopify has confirmed that two rogue members of its support team were to blame for a data breach. A statement from the US company explained that the incident involved the data of less than 200 merchants, with immediate action taken to notify those affected.
Tesco has joined calls for the UK government to fast-track the shift to zero-emission cars and vans to 2030. The big four supermarket has joined a coalition of 27 large businesses - including Dixons Carphone, E.ON, Heathrow, Lime and SSE - in calling for faster action to tackle emissions and climate change as the government reviews its plans for zero emission car and van sales.
UK consumers have spent £2.1 billion on products and services due to misinformation from businesses in the last year, according to research. A Censuswide study of 6,000 consumers across the UK, Germany and France - including 2,000 in the UK - found that as adoption of e-commerce rises, 87 per cent of people believe that misinformation is already a problem, with a majority (57 per cent) believing the problem is set to grow in the future.
Nike's online sales rose 82 per cent during the three months to 31 August, offsetting falling store revenue due to the pandemic. The latest results follow a 75 per cent online sales increase in the previous quarter.
Unilever is partnering with Google Cloud as part of a programme to use technology to expand the use of data for eco-friendly decision making.The partnership will focus first on the commercial application of Google Cloud and Google Earth for sustainable commodity sourcing.
One in five European adults used digital payments for the first time during lockdown, according to a new report from Forrester, which predicted that changes to behaviour will have long-term consequences for banks, networks, payment processors and retailers. The market research firm found that trends in digital and contactless payments and the shift to online services are likely to last, with nearly half of the European adults surveyed planning to use cash less often.
Stella McCartney is partnering with decision-making platform Board International for digital transformation of the company’s finances. The agreement will apply Board’s technology to financial consolidation and lease accounting processes at the luxury lifestyle brand.
London Designer Outlet has selected Coniq to develop a new customer engagement and loyalty platform. Opened in 2013 as the capital’s first outlet centre, just next to Wembley Stadium, the location attracts more than seven million visitors a year.
A combination of strong online sales and a trend towards lockdown DIY projects has caused profits to rise this year for the Kingfisher Group. The owner of B&Q and Screwfix in the UK stated that during the six months to 31 July, statutory pre-tax profits were up 62.4 per cent to £398 million, while adjusted pre-tax profits rose 23.1 per cent to £415 million.
Walmart will buy a 7.5 per cent stake in TikTok as part of a deal to maintain the social media company's US presence with the blessing of the president. The supermarket giant will invest alongside Oracle to collectively take a 20 per cent stake in a new company called TikTok Global, with Chinese parent company ByteDance still owning a majority share.
Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all warned that delivery slots are in increasingly high demand as fears of second lockdown drives panic buying. Ocado told customers that delivery slots were “selling out faster than usual”, advising them to use the “next three days button to see available slots further in advance”.
The value of in-vehicle payments will reach $86 billion in 2025, up from just $543 million in 2020. The latest market analysis from Juniper Research stated that this growth will be driven by increased partnerships which are improving the availability of services, particularly in the fuel and smart parking segments.
Asda is broadening its in-store partnerships strategy with the trial of a new convenience format with forecourt operator EG Group and the introduction of B&Q mini-stores within its supermarkets. The B&Q collaboration will place DIY areas in four Asda superstores, the first of which will open in Dagenham and Sheffield later this year.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has revealed new plans for fundraising and cost saving. The shopping centre owner, which owns London’s two Westfield malls, announced Reset, a strategy aimed at strengthening its balance sheet and increasing financial flexibility.
In August, the value of retail sales increased by 0.7 per cent, while the volume of sales was down 0.8 per cent compared with the previous month. The latest Office for National Statistics report showed that when compared with the previous three months, a stronger rate of growth was seen in the three months to August, at 16.4 per cent and 16.7 per cent for value and volume sales respectively.
Astound Commerce has announced the appointment of Michael Kahn as global chief executive, tasked with accelerating growth and developing marketplace leadership. For the last three years he was global brand president at marketing agency Digitas Worldwide, expanding its network from 27 offices in 13 countries to over 50 offices in 30 countries.
Alibaba has unveiled its autonomous logistics robot for last-mile deliveries. Developed by the Alibaba DAMO Academy, the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, the delivery robot can carry 50 packages at one time and cover 62 miles on a single charge.
Next saw pre-tax profits fall 97 per cent to £9 million in the first half of 2020, although it remained ‘resilient’ thanks to its online operations. The fashion and homeware retailer’s latest financial report revealed that full price sales were down by a third in the six months to 25 July, with a half-year loss of £16.5 million.
A record 794 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) involving e-commerce software, platforms and marketplaces were closed in the first half of 2020. Data gathered by technology M&A advisors Hampleton Partners showed that after reaching peak transaction volumes in 2016, the sector saw renewed impetus in the first half of 2020 as the COVID-19 drove rapid adoption of online shopping.
Inditex has reported net profit of €214 million for the second quarter, compared with a €409 million loss during the previous three months. The retail group - which owns Zara, Bershka, Pull&Bear and Massimo Dutti - still posted a net loss of €195 million though, but this was mostly put down to a previously announced €308 million provision for its advanced store digitalisation programme, without which Inditex said it would have made an overall profit of €39 million for the first half of the year.
Bloom & Wild has appointed its first chief technology officer. Marta Jasinska will join the online florist in October, leaving the same position at Moo.com, where she has spent the last two years, having previously been web development director at former Moonpig parent Photobox.
Credit and debit card activity fell in June despite the re-opening of shops, pointing to continued caution among shoppers following the Coronavirus lockdown. The latest data from UK Finance showed that card activity remained below pre-lockdown levels in June, dropping 43.1 per cent compared to June 2019, with 933 million transactions made across the month. The levels of activity were also down 2.7 per cent compared to May.
Impersonation scams have nearly doubled in the first half of 2020, at a cost of £58 million as criminals seek to exploit the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
UK Finance found that almost 15,000 impersonation scam cases were reported by its members in the first six months of this year - an increase of 84 per cent on the same period in 2019.
Marks and Spencer has cancelled its partnership with Deliveroo to focus on its recently launched Ocado delivery service. In March, the supermarket chain began offering online delivery for the first time through a pandemic-pushed trial with Deliveroo, which was expanded to 142 stores in May.
New Look has gained creditor approval for its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal at a meeting yesterday where the majority voted in favour. The fashion retailer’s plan had come up against some criticism due to its model of moving 400 UK stores to a turnover-based rent model, with a three-year rent holiday on its 68 remaining stores, along with enhanced landlord break clauses.
Amazon has announced the launch of Luxury Stores, a new marketplace offering both established and emerging luxury fashion and beauty brands. Fashion house Oscar de la Renta is among the first brands to open a store on the site, with more similar retailers promised in the coming weeks.
London’s Fashion District has revealed the 14 tech startups shortlisted for its Retail Futures 2020 competition. The £15,000 challenge prize, sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, is focused on small businesses which believe their tech solutions could change shopping in the future, or revolutionise the retail supply chain to drive growth in an industry hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.
ScS has created 300 new jobs to help meet a rising number of orders since the easing of Coronavirus lockdown rules. The sofa and carpet retailer hired 150 new employees in August and has a further 150 vacancies open.
Nearly half of UK fashion retailers are offering free delivery in a bid to win a share of the rapidly growing online shopping market. A survey of 1,000 retail brands by digital operations platform Brightpearl found that 44 per cent are looking to roll out free delivery by 2021 in bid to attract new online shoppers, while a third (34 per cent) plan to offer free returns by the end of the year.
The Payment Systems Regulator’s (PSR) interim report on the supply of card acquiring services has shown that merchants could make savings by shopping around and either switching or negotiating with their current provider – but many small and medium ones do not. Card-acquiring services enable retailers to accept card payments. The cost to a merchant of these services are reflected in the prices we all pay for goods and services.
Klarna has raised $650 million in an equity funding round, at a post money valuation of $10.65 billion. This ranks the buy now, pay later specialist as the highest-valued private FinTech in Europe and now the fourth highest worldwide.
TJ Morris has entered into a technology partnership with Hitachi Europe to install motion sensor technology in all 550 Home Bargains to monitor and limit the number of people inside. Home Bargains is the latest retailer to introduce an automated traffic light queueing system to control the number of customers in their stores.
Cath Kidston has appointed former Dune e-commerce director Rob Silsbury as its new digital director. He left the footwear retailer in June after three years leading the marketing and online business, having previously held senior e-commerce and digital roles at Tiffany & Co and Ralph Lauren.
Aldi is trialling its first UK Click and Collect services from a store in the Midlands, with plans to extend that in the coming weeks. During the current trial, Aldi colleagues can choose from a full range of grocery items online, then drive to their local store where they can have their shopping brought to their cars by store colleagues contact-free.
Matalan’s chief executive Jason Hargreaves is stepping down from the role he has held for seven years at the business his father founded in 1985. The board will now be led by Steve Johnson, who became executive chair after recently succeeding John Mills as chairman.
Yodel has announced plans for a long-term strategic investment in a new Northern super-hub to support the company’s growth. The investment, which aims to protect all existing jobs while also creating new job opportunities for the wider region, will see a five-year transition from its existing warehouse hub in Shaw.
Mastercard and Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) have partnered with the Government of Jersey to develop the world’s first card-based stimulus scheme. The scheme, which launches today, will offer eligible citizens in Jersey their own £100 Spend Local Card that they can use in businesses across the island until 31 October.
Online sales growth continued to slowly slide in August, falling against July by 4.1 per cent, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini figures. While overall sales remained strong - growth was up 43.5 per cent year-on-year - this result dipped below the rolling three-month average of 49.95 per cent.
Games Workshop Group has reported a 15 per cent increase in sales to £90 million for the three months to the end of August, compared to £78 million for the same period last year. This trading ahead of expectations "has been driven by healthy growth in our online and trade channels" according to the fantasy figurine retailer.
Tesco will begin a trial of delivering groceries by drone in October. During a 'disruptive innovation' virtual event yesterday, chief executive Dave Lewis said it will launch testing in Ireland, where its partner Manna already has a licence to operate drones.
Charlotte Tilbury has deployed the Looker business intelligence and analytics platform from Google Cloud to accelerate its omnichannel growth. The luxury beauty and skincare brand - now available in more than 60 countries online and in 550 physical locations - sought to advance its data analytics processes while scaling up its e-commerce platform to meet growing customer needs across channels.
Almost half (43 per cent) of UK online shoppers said they shopped more at stores within the UK rather than spending at internationally during the global lockdown.
A survey of 1,196 British consumers by e-commerce shipping platform Sendcloud found that the pandemic has driven a dramatic shift in UK consumer attitudes regarding online spending.
Klarna is planning to raise around $500 million to fund its US expansion, with the potential round valuing the company at more than $10 billion. Reuters reported that the Swedish payments provider is tapping up both existing and new investors, with an official announcement expected in the coming days.
Square and Mastercard are partnering with the Falkland Islands Government to help small businesses in the territory implement card and digital payments. The project will help retailers and small business move from a cash-only system to more streamlined digital transactions.
Iceland has reacted to a surge in demand for online groceries by creating 3,000 new jobs since March. Online orders rose by more than 300 per cent since April, according to the discount supermarket chain, which has significantly increased its e-commerce and delivery capacity in response.
Amazon is assembling new team of engineers at its Cambridge development centre as part of plans to expand its autonomous delivery technology in the UK. Currently in field testing across four states in the US, the Amazon Scout devices are the size of a small cooler and roll along pavements at a walking pace - similar to existing rival Starship devices being used by the Co-op in Milton Keynes.
Klarna has redesigned its app, giving greater flexibility, control and personalisation. It now aims to cover the entire shopping journey, from inspiration and discovery through to the transaction and follow-up payments.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has appointed Ben Agnew as its new chief executive. His most recent role was managing director of independent media business Datacenter Dynamics. There he led the EMEA and North America businesses, overseeing a change programme across digital, process and operations.
In August, UK retail sales increased 4.7 per cent year-on-year, when they had decreased 0.8 per cent from the preceding year. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG sales tracker showed that on a total basis, sales increased by 3.9 per cent in August, against a decline of 0.4 per cent in August 2019. This is the best growth since May 2018, excluding Easter distortions.
VIA Outlets has expanded its agreement with Coniq as provider of customer engagement and loyalty software across its entire portfolio. This includes 11 luxury fashion outlets across Europe, comprising 1,100 stores in nine European countries.
Around 10 of New Look's landlords have rejected its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal, which would move the majority of its UK stores’ rent to a turnover basis. The Mail On Sunday reported that the group includes several large shopping centre owners.
Tmall Global is planning to add 2,600 new international brands, with more than 2,000 overseas products, in time for China's 11.11, or Singles' Day, shopping festival. The number of new brands launched on the platform increased 125 per cent year-on-year, with Tmall's president of import and export Alvin Liu stating that COVID travel restrictions have caused "significant growth" in demand for imported goods amongst Chinese consumers.
Cos is launching a digital resale platform to let customers sell and buy used clothing. The Re-sell platform will go live later this month in the UK and Germany, ahead of a global roll out throughout autumn.
The value of transactions processed by smart checkout technologies will reach $387 billion in 2025, up from just $2 billion in 2020. This is according to Juniper Research, which predicted that frictionless systems will provide much simpler user experiences by embracing a ‘just walk out’ approach.
Murray Lambell will lead eBay's UK business as general manager, having been promoted from vice president of UK trading, where he was responsible for business to consumer and operations activities. He replaces Rob Hattrell, who will now have regional oversight of all eBay Europe operations - including in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
AliExpress has launched a social commerce initiative, allowing users to earn bonuses for their next purchase through social sharing and gifting. Available in more than 200 countries and regions, Bonus Buddies gives instant rewards for getting a friend to register on AliExpress.
The Co-op will launch 65 new and extended stores, with more than 100 further outlets receiving makeovers as part of a £130 million store investment programme creating up to 1,000 local jobs. Up to 12 new Co-op franchise stores are set to launch this year, including at Oxford Brookes University and Stirling University – with more university locations planned for 2021.
UK footfall decreased by 34.8 per cent in August, with only a 7.3 per cent improvement from July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak data. Footfall on high streets declined by 41.7% year-on-year and was the worst performing location in August, falling below shopping centres for the first time since April 2018.
Amazon is set to create 10,000 jobs in the UK this year, expanding its workforce to over 40,000 by the end of the year. The tech giant plans to hire 7,000 new employees across more than 50 sites, adding to the 3,000 it has already hired this year.
Visa is partnering with Norwegian digital wallet provider Vipps to extend mobile payments across Europe. The partnership will enable Visa clients and partners to use the Vipps platform to create their own digital wallets and offer customers new ways to pay and be paid.
The boom in online shopping during the Coronavirus has seen more than one in seven UK retailers (15 per cent) create roles specifically to cater to an increase in digital sales and boost online capacity. This is according to a study of over 300 senior retail executives conducted by Barclays Corporate Banking, which showed that 26 per cent think the pandemic has accelerated a ‘technological revolution’ in retail.
Lego has reported a 14 per cent increase sales during the first half of this year, as traffic to its website more than doubled to 100 million. Significant investments in the Danish toy maker's e-commerce operations last year appear to be paying off, as despite the company having to close all 616 stores during the pandemic, the rise in online visitors mitigated a drop in sales.
Spar UK has appointed Lee Johnson as its new operations and strategy director. He joined last month from the position of vice president for global financial planning and analysis at beauty group Coty.
Cosmose AI, which uses smartphone data to predict offline shopping behaviour, has raised $15 million in a Series A funding round. Valuing the company in excess of $100 million, the investment was led by Tiga Investments, OTB Ventures and TDJ Pitango, supported by several high net worth individuals in Asia.
Klarna has reported losses rising by almost 85 per cent in the first half of this year, compared to the same time last year. Between January and June 2019, the Swedish buy now, pay later business saw net losses of $9.52 million, but in the first six months of this year, this rose to $62.98 million in net losses.
Homebase has announced a 10-year partnership with The Hut Group (THG) and its e-commerce services division THG Ingenuity. This contract builds on investment already made in product range and online shopping experiences over the last two years as part of the home and garden retailer's restructuring project.
Shop prices fell by 1.6 per cent in August, compared to a decrease of 1.3 per cent in July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen data. Non-food prices fell by 3.4 per cent in August, compared to a decline of 2.9 per cent in July, while food inflation eased to 1.3 per cent in August, down from 1.5 per cent in July.
Discount shopping platform Wish is preparing to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The US company, which sells Chinese goods at between 60 and 90 per cent of their recommended retail price, has filed a draft registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Marks and Spencer and Ocado’s online delivery partnership has gone live today. The £750 million joint venture, signed last year in a move away from rival Waitrose, lets customers shop for 6,000 M&S grocery, fashion and homeware products on Ocado’s home delivery platform.
PayPal has announced Pay in 4, a short-term instalment payment offering. Launching initially in the US, it is aimed at helping merchants drive conversion, revenue and customer loyalty without taking on additional risk or paying any additional fees, while letting consumers make a purchase worth between $30 and $600 and pay over four, interest-free instalments, over a six-week period.
Amazon is adding more than 1,800 electric vehicles from Mercedes-Benz Vans to its delivery fleet in Europe this year. The German car manufacturer has also joined The Climate Pledge, which calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040; a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal of 2050.
The value of retail industry deals fell by nearly 80 per cent to $8.72 billion in the second quarter of 2020, according to analysis by GlobalData. As the Coronavirus pandemic took its toll on investment, the total value of deals was down 76.5 per cent in the three months to June, compared to the first quarter, marking a drop of 64.5 per cent when compared with the last four-quarter average of $24.6 billion.
Walmart has partnered with Microsoft to bid for the US operations of TikTok, potentially worth between $20 billion and $30 billion. The US retail giant is looking to keep up with Amazon’s e-commerce might, and sees a deal for the video-sharing social media app as one way to target a younger demographic.
The H&M Group has appointed Alan Boehme as its new chief technology officer. He takes over from Joel Ankarberg, who is moving to become head of group strategy and transformation.
NatWest is joining forces with Loomis UK to offer retailers a facility to deposit cash takings in a connected smart safe without leaving their store. The Same Day Credit pilot is aimed at UK retailers operating smaller stores and uses Loomis technology in the shape of a SafePoint connected smart safe.
More than half (54 per cent) of retailers in the UK have made no preparations for a second wave of COVID-19. A survey of 500 retailers by digital operations provider Brightpearl found that just 56 per cent of retailers said they believed their businesses could survive the impact of a second wave of the pandemic this autumn or winter, with resources already stretched by the lockdown period.
The Hut Group has confirmed plans for a £4.5 billion Initial Public Offering (IPO). The listing includes a proposed offer of new shares to raise £920 million, plus a sale of existing shares of an amount to be confirmed at a later date.
UK consumers have grown more comfortable with returning to the shops, according to the latest EY Future Consumer Index, which revealed that comfort levels with traditional shopping behaviours have all more than doubled since May. The percentage of consumers comfortable going to a shopping mall has risen from 15 per cent in May to 36 per cent in July, and those comfortable trying on clothes has risen from eight per cent to 19 per cent.
New Look has launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal, seeking approval from landlords and unsecured creditors to reset 402 of its UK stores to a turnover rent model. Leases would be set at a turnover percentage of up to 12 per cent, while the remaining 68 stores in the womenswear retailer's estate would move to nil rent.
Retail employment fell at the fastest rate since February 2009, in the year to August, as the economic impact of the Coronavirus took hold. As survey of 128 businesses, of which over half were retailers from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), showed that employment in the retail sector fell by 45 per cent, from a 20 per cent fall in May, registering the sharpest decline since the height of the financial crisis.
Amazon is preparing to launch a luxury fashion marketplace next month. More than a dozen fashion and accessories brands have partnered with the e-commerce giant, according to WWD, with the new platform set to allow brands to take full control of their own virtual stores.
JCB and Viva Wallet have collaborated for an expanded European roll-out, enabling payment between Viva Wallet's European merchants and JCB's 140 million card members through both face-to-face and e-commerce transactions. The roll-out will be extended with an additional six European nations, over and above the 17 countries which have already been enabled, from next month.
Supermarket clothing brand George at Asda has partnered with delivery experience platform Sorted to trial real-time updates to improve post-purchase tracking. Asda recently announced that due to the increased and sustained appetite for online shopping, it plans to increase capacity to make up to one million delivery slots available per week in 2021.
The Coronavirus lockdown has created a ‘subscription society’, according to Barclaycard data, with Brits spending an average of £552 annually on sign-up services. Research from Barclaycard Payments, found that two thirds (65 per cent) of UK homes are signed up to regular subscription services, with an average of seven contracts per household.
Boots has appointed Richard Corbridge as its new chief information officer. He joined the health and beauty retailer in May last year as innovation director, tasked with driving change across the business.
Marks and Spencer is trialling two new Click and Collect solution with Doddle. An in-store contactless collection is being piloted at Hempstead Valley, Camberley & Longbridge, while a drive-up collection is being tested at Camberley.
Tesco has announced that it is creating 16,000 new permanent jobs to cope with the growth in demand for online grocery shopping during the Coronavirus. Britain’s largest supermarket said that the roles will include 10,000 pickers to compile customers’ online orders and 3,000 drivers to deliver them, with further roles in distribution centres and stores.
AO has ramped up its recruitment drive with the creation of 650 new jobs across the UK in its retail, mobile, tech, financial services and logistics divisions. The online electricals retailer said it needs extra help managing the sustained demand since the Coronavirus accelerated online shopping habits.
Frasers Group is set to buy rival retailer Dave Whelan (DW) Sports out of administration for £37 million. Mike Ashley's retail empire will also pay up to a further £6.9 million for stock from DW’s gyms, although it is not buying the DW name or brands.
BWG Foods has become the first retail business in Ireland to launch MishiPay's Scan, Pay & Go checkout technology, as part of a new pilot scheme across its network. If the initial run in two sites is successful, BWG will roll-out the solution to independent retailers across more than 1,000 SPAR, EUROSPAR, MACE, Londis and XL stores.
The UK food and grocery market is set to grow by 10 per cent - or by £19.1 billion to £211 billion - between 2019 and 2022, according to the latest market forecast research from IGD. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to online, a channel IGD expects to mostly retain the loyalty of new shoppers gained during the crisis. Discount retailing will, however, become the fastest-growing channel in 2021 and 2022, as shoppers looking to economise due to rising unemployment.
Former Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman and former Asda chief executive Paul Mason are working with private equity groups on a £6.5 billion bid for Asda. Sky News reported that formal takeover bids are expected to be tabled next month, as Walmart looks to offload its majority stake in the big four supermarket chain, following the failure of its merger with Sainsbury's.
The Hut Group has partnered with Openpay to offer customers flexible payments options. Under the terms of the deal, online brands owned by the e-commerce technology group will be able to select plan lengths of between one and six months, allowing customers to spread the cost of their purchase on an interest-free basis.
The extent of the switch to online grocery shopping over the last six months has been confirmed and quantified by new research from Waitrose. OnePoll research, conducted in July on behalf of the supermarket, among 2,000 nationally representative UK adults - and supported by online search trends and purchases on Waitrose.com - showed that last year, less than half of over 55 year-olds (47 per cent) did some of their food shopping online – a figure which has since increased to 74 per cent.
Fewer than one in four payments are now being made in cash - at around half of pre-COVID levels - as businesses and consumers alike look for contact-free ways to pay. This is according to research from Square, taking data from thousands of transactions across hundreds of small and medium sized businesses across the UK that used its point of sale and payments technology, between January to July.
Mobile commerce startup Button has partnered money management assistant Plum for a new rewards and cashback program. Button’s technology lets users discover offers tailored to their preferences, as well as shop and save with a range of high street brands.
The value of sales increased by 4.4 per cent and volume sales by 3.6 per cent in July, when compared with the previous month. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) release revealed that when compared with February’s pre-pandemic level, total retail sales were 1.7 per cent and three per cent higher in value and volume terms respectively.
More than two in five (44 per cent) of customers feel that the pandemic will have a permanent impact on the way they shop moving forward - with nearly half (47 per cent) stating that the number of times they shop online will definitely increase, according to a new report. A survey of 2,000 online consumers by O2 Business and Retail Economics found that the COVID-19 lockdown had driven a profound shift in spending habits, with more than a third (34 per cent) of shoppers sourcing essential and non-essential items from online retailers during lockdown.
A full range of Morrisons' food products are now available on Amazon.co.uk, with free same-day delivery on orders over £40 for Prime members. The ‘Morrisons on Amazon’ service launches today in Leeds, before being expanded across the country in the coming weeks.
Tesco Mobile has started a two-year partnership with Crisis aimed at helping thousands of people experiencing homelessness across Britain to reconnect with society. The partnership aims to combat growing issues around digital exclusion, as new data highlights the increasing barriers to accessing information, support and opportunity felt by people who are homeless. It includes an initial donation of £700,000 worth of phones, devices and connectivity in the net 12 months.
Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of retail IT bosses believe their e-commerce platform should be updated in the next 12 months, in order to keep up with demand. A Censuswide survey of 405 heads of retail IT, chief information officers and heads of e-commerce in business-to-consumer and business-to-business organisation across the UK and US for Wunderman Thompson Commerce, showed that 49 per cent did not expect their e-commerce platform to last beyond a year.
Asda's online sales doubled during the past quarter, as the Coronavirus caused a “structural shift” in customer shopping habits. The supermarket chain reported a 3.8 per cent jump in like-for-like sales for the three months to 30 June, with online grocery sales spiking during the lockdown period.
The Co-op has partnered with OpenText to automate supplier on-boarding.The retail group has integrated OpenText Trading Grid to help make supply chain processes more flexible and efficient, as well as speeding up ability to bring on new suppliers.
Google Cloud is now used more than Amazon Web Services (AWS) by retailers, as many do not want to work with a rival. Market analysis from Canalys explained that while AWS retains dominance in the wider cloud infrastructure market, it is losing ground within e-commerce.
UK businesses are leading the revival of the UK High Street, according to new data which shows that spending on business credit cards surpassed e-commerce spend in July, for the first time since lockdown. Allstar Business Solutions analysed data on customer business credit card spending, finding that the proportion of in-store transactions rose to 52 per cent in the last week of July, up from 33 per cent in peak lockdown in late March.
Marks and Spencer has confirmed the loss of 7,000 jobs over the next three months as part of restructuring plans due to the Coronavirus. Roles are expected to be cut across stores, regional management and the support centre after the retailer experienced a “material shift” in trade during the last few months.
The 15th annual Retail Systems Awards is due to go ahead in person, as planned, on the 19th of October - but with additional safety measures in place. To keep our guests safe, the event will run at half its usual capacity, so places are likely to sell out fast.
Debenhams’ owners have begun contingency planning for the future of the 242 year-old department store chain, including plans for a potential liquidation.
The retailer, which has already cut more than 4,000 jobs since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic - including 2,500 last week - has said that its remaining 124 stores have been trading strongly since re-opening.
Frasers Group is preparing a £30 million bid for DW Sports. The sporting goods retailer and gym group entered administration earlier this month, putting more than 1,700 employees at risk.
Avon has upgraded to a new cloud telephony system as part of a wider digital transformation strategy. The 134 year-old cosmetics retailer has moved to the Maintel ICON platform to make it easier for employees and sales representatives to work, irrespective of their location and language.
New Look has secured an agreement with its creditors to extend its current facilities and deliver £40 million of new investment, and is planning to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). The fashion retailer will also be able to significantly de-leverage its balance sheet, with current debt reduced from £550 million to £100 million.
River Island is planning to cut 350 store management and senior sales roles, as part of ongoing restructuring plans. This follows the announcement last month of 250 head office redundancies, as a cost-cutting measure driven by the Coronavirus hitting sales and footfall.
Payments platform APEXX Global is collaborating with the PayPal Commerce platform to connect merchants, buyers and partners with digital payments on a global scale. APEXX said the partnership will provide merchants with a wider range of payment methods and reduce costs as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates the growth of digital payments.
Although there was some evidence that the relaxation of lockdown rules impacted online retail in July - when growth fell 10 per cent against the previous month - overall sales remained strong, recording growth of 28.3 per cent year-on-year. The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index showed that while people appeared to initially divert spend away from online the week (commencing 5 July) after some lockdown rules were lifted, this decline was short-lived and sales for the following week (commencing 12 July) rose again by 27 per cent year-on-year.
Marks & Spencer will open a new national food distribution centre in Milton Keynes, expanding capacity by up to 60 per cent, accelerating supply chain modernisation plans and creating 360 new jobs in the local area. Set to open and begin operating by September, the new 365,000 sq ft facility will be operated by XPO Logistics and will supply ambient M&S Food products to the South of England regions.
Travis Perkins has worked with 5874 Commerce to launch a new 'dead stock' website for its trade and consumer customers. The building materials retailer has a network of over 640 branches and 200 tool-hire outfits, but at the start of this year it identified around £30 million worth of inventory which had not sold in branches.
Sainsbury’s has partnered with ThirdEye to roll-out concealment detector technology, which uses machine learning to detect and record when a shopper places an item in their pocket or coat. When the system detects a concealment, it will send a short video of the theft to security staff.
More than 90 per cent of UK shoppers are planning to avoid physical stores this Black Friday, as fears around COVID-19 persist.A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers conducted by analytics company Contentsquare, found that while many consumers are avoiding Black Friday altogether, 35 per cent will still be hunting for deals online on 27 November.
Pattern has closed its first round of outside funding, a $52 million Series A round co-led by Ainge Advisory and KSV Global. Since being founded in 2013, the company has become one of the largest e-commerce analytics platforms globally, with this investment backing the continued development of tools that will allow partners to make better decisions based on real-time data.
Debenhams is set to cut a further 2,500 jobs from stores and warehouses, as the retailer seeks to stem losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. The department store chain, which fell into administration for a second time in April, was already facing tough trading conditions before non-essential stores were forced to close for the lockdown.
Younger generations are leading the adoption of alternative payment methods (APMs) such as e-wallets and bank transfers, with 42 per cent of Millennials and 35 per cent of Generation Z consumers having used these. A survey of 1,000 consumers in the UK and 1,000 in the US by Arlington Research for payments platform PPRO found that security of their data and money is the most important aspect when choosing a payment method, with 81 per cent of all respondents citing this as a priority.
Superdry has agreed a £70 million asset-backed lending facility with HSBC and BNP Paribas, replacing its existing deal with was due to expire in January 2022. The fashion retailer announced that first quarter trading was better than initially expected during the pandemic. Total group revenue for 13 weeks to 25 July was down 24.1 per cent year-on-year, largely due to the impact of store closures during lockdown.
On a total basis, sales increased by 3.2 per cent in July, against an increase of 0.5 per cent in July 2019 – the second consecutive month of growth since the start of the pandemic. However, the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures cautioned against notions of a sector recovery, noting low footfall and weakened consumer confidence.
Ralph Lauren and Snap have agreed a long-term global partnership, which introduces virtual branded apparel to accessorise Bitmoji avatars. The collaboration will lead with Ralph Lauren’s branded and customisable wardrobe for Bitmoji avatars – within Snapchat and the Bitmoji app.
A test version of Lidl’s new mobile rewards app, Lidl Plus, is now live. This early version of the app provides customers with single-use discount coupons, refreshed on a weekly basis.
The government is urging shoppers to head to their local High Streets to help retailers bounce back during Shop Local Week. The campaign is asking shoppers to help local retailers rebuild from the Coronavirus pandemic.
FTSE-listed retailers issued 47 profit warnings in the first half of 2020, far exceeding the total number recorded in the sector in the whole of 2019 (32), according to EY’s latest Profit Warnings Report. In the first quarter of this year, the professional services firm recorded 38 warnings in the FTSE retailers sector, followed by a further nine in the second quarter.
Consumer spending declined 2.6 per cent year-on-year in July – the smallest fall since lockdown began. Data from Barclaycard showed that spending on essential items grew 3.2 per cent year-on-year, largely driven by supermarket shopping, which rose by 15 per cent, helping to offset a 22.2 per cent drop in fuel spend.
Adidas has reported “exceptional growth in online sales” during the last quarter, up 93 per cent and accounting for more than a third of total revenue. However, this was not enough to offset an overall 35 per cent fall in sales to £3.25 billion, compared to the £4.97 billion a year earlier.
Jigsaw is considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in order to close some of its 75 stores and cut rents on others. The fashion retailer, which employs around 900 people, brought in KPMG last month to look at rent negotiations, while Cavendish Corporate Finance was hired to find new external investors or a potential sale process.
UK footfall decreased by 42.1 per cent in July, compared to a decline of 62.6 per cent in June, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures. Footfall on High Streets declined by 47.5 per cent year-on-year, which is an improvement on June’s fall of 64.5 per cent.
Marks and Spencer has confirmed that its Ocado online delivery service will launch on 1 September, but has warned there may be a delay in them being able to use the service. In an email to customers today, the retailer said that capacity to cope with demand for delivery slots may be limited at first, as Ocado scales up to cope with demand amid the COVID-19 boom in online shopping.
Coronavirus concerns are accelerating consumers’ demand for digital, according to a new report from Periscope by McKinsey. The consultancy firm's analytics solution surveyed more than 2,500 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany, revealing that the appetite for digital is surging with no signs of slowing down, brand loyalty remains vulnerable, and there is a new premium on safety and convenience.
E-commerce continued to outperform pre-pandemic levels last week, as in-store shopping began to show signs of recovery following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Data collected from more than 10,000 e-commerce merchants by fraud protection company Signifyd Ecommerce, found that European retailers were tracking sales levels 30 per cent higher than the start of the pandemic from 27 July to 2 August.
Hammerson plans to raise £552 million, while offloading £274 million worth of assets to help offset 'the extraordinary disruption caused by COVID-19'. The shopping centre owner is proposing a rights issue, alongside the sale of the company’s 50 per cent stake in VIA outlets, to bring in a combined £825 million.
WHSmith is set to cut 1,500 jobs as the Coronavirus hits sales on the High Street and in transport hubs. The retailer expects to report a headline loss before tax for the financial year ending 31 August of between £70 million and £75 million.
River Island is considering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) as the Coronavirus continues to hold back trading. The fashion retailer is looking to reduce rents and close stores across its 300-strong estate.
Independent parcel carrier Yodel and online flower retailer Nova Blooms have partnered as the florist begins its first step into the food delivery market. The partnership, which launched during the COVID-19 lockdown, allows customers to select the contents in their box to include locally grown fruit and veg to fresh pasta and artisan bread.
Dixons Carphone will cut 800 jobs as part of a store management restructuring. The parent company of Currys PC World stated that this would create a flatter management structure as it adapts to increasing online sales and falling in-store footfall.
Asda has struck a deal to become the first UK supermarket to use hydrogen fuel cell technology to power its fleet of warehouse lift trucks. US company Plug Power will provide the Asda with zero emission hydrogen fuel cell solutions, beginning with its fulfilment facility in Skelmersdale.
More than half of retail workers (54 per cent) have admitted that there is a 'knowledge gap' around their products, with many feeling customers had more knowledge about products than they do. A Censuswide survey of 250 retail UK retail workers conducted for voice communication specialists VoCoVo found that this lack of information around products and services risked staff giving inaccurate information to customers.
More than half (58 per cent) of microbusiness owners have considered closing down their business altogether due to the ongoing uncertainty of Coronavirus, with three quarters concerned they may have to cease trading within an average of nine weeks if conditions do not improve. A survey of the owners of 124 retailers with less than 10 employees by smart meter provider Smart Energy GB revealed that three quarters of those polled were anxious about how they will keep their business afloat in the coming weeks and months. The biggest concerns for struggling owners are a lack of business, consumer confidence not returning quickly enough and cashflow issues.
DW Sports has filed for administration, putting 1,704 employees at risk of redundancy. Graham Newton and Ryan Grant from BDO have been appointed as joint administrators.
Amazon has begun negotiations to acquire 30 sites across the UK for its long-awaited launch of Amazon Go in the UK. The Sunday Times reported that the e-commerce giant had finalised a deal to open 10 of its cashierless grocery stores by the end of this year, with a further 20 sites to open in 2021, mostly situated near major transport hubs.
Online electricals retailer AO is set to recruit 250 new roles at its logistics hub in Crewe. The recruitment drive has been launched to manage the sustained demand following the COVID-19 lockdown, which has led to a shift from high street retail to online.
The Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift away from cash, with nearly a third of consumers (32 per cent) preferring to pay via contactless methods and 70 per cent choosing online payments over in-store. A survey of 3,000 consumers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Singapore by digital transformation consultancy Publicis Sapient, found that social distancing measures were accelerating the call for more contactless interactions and the use of digital tools to facilitate everyday tasks.
Hammerson is preparing to ask shareholders for around £600 million to help the company survive the Coronavirus. Sky News reported that a rights issue could raise more than the shopping centre owner's current market capitalisation.
Burberry has opened its first social retail store in China’s technology hub Shenzhen, blending the physical and social worlds in a digitally-immersive experience. Powered by Tencent technology, the store - which will opens in the new Shenzhen Bay MixC development today - is a space designed to inspire and entertain luxury customers, letting them interact with the Burberry brand and product in new ways.
Amazon has smashed second quarter results, with revenues of $88.91 billion driven by Coronavirus growth in online shipping. The e-commerce and cloud services giant's latest financial reports revealed that sales had comfortably beaten analysts’ expectations of $81.56 billion, confirming that it has ironed out initial struggles with a spike in demand during the early phase of the pandemic, which resulted in delayed orders and delivery bottlenecks.
Marks and Spencer is more than tripling the number of stores offering its Mobile Pay Go technology. As part of its 'Never the Same Again' transformation strategy, the scan-and-go system has been rolled out to 310 stores - from the initial 100 test sites mostly in and around London.
In the second quarter of 2020, the overall vacancy rate increased to 12.4 per cent, from 12.2 per cent in the first quarter – marking the eighth consecutive quarter of increasing vacancy rates. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures showed that all locations saw an increase in vacancies in the second quarter, with shopping centre vacancies increasing to 14.3 per cent from 14.1 per cent in the first quarter.
Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos attempted to defend his company from a grilling by US lawmakers yesterday. Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of Google also faced the House judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee, which has collected 1.3 million documents and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews as part of its investigation into the world's biggest tech firms.
After 47 years, 93 editions and over one billion copies printed, the digital trend has finally called time on the Argos catalogue. A statement from the retailer explained that its now has the third largest retail website in the UK - with more than one billion visits each year, while customers shopping on smartphones and tablets now account for more than 70 per cent of all Argos online sales.
The Hut Group has chosen seven banks to work on a potential £4.5 billion Initial Public Offering (IPO). Sky News reported that the online consumer goods group has hired Citigroup, JP Morgan, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Jefferies and Numis to assist with the stock exchange listing.
GAME Digital is set to sell its Belong Gaming Arenas to US firm Vindex for around $50 million. The brand and intellectual property will now be owned by Vindex, but Game will continue to own and operate the in-store arenas via an exclusive licence.
Waitrose and John Lewis have announced plans to significantly increase the use of electric vans to help fulfil ambitions of ending the use of fossil fuels across their entire transport fleet by 2030. The John Lewis Partnership will use two new designs of vehicle for its Waitrose.com food deliveries and for smaller John Lewis deliveries, saving over 20,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.
The White Company has partnered with Quadient for automated packaging solutions as its e-commerce sales grow. The homeware retailer will adopt Quadient’s CVP Everest auto-boxing system at its multichannel fulfilment centre in Northampton.
Shop prices fell by 1.3 per cent in July, compared to a decrease of 1.6 per cent in June, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food prices fell by 2.9 per cent in July, compared to a decline of 3.4 per cent in June, while food price inflation was steady at 1.5 per cent in July - the third consecutive month when prices increased at the same rate.
Selfridges has revealed plans to cut 450 jobs as a result of annual sales expectations coming in “significantly less” than last year due to the Coronavirus. The department store's total workforce is likely to be reduced by 14 per cent, with group managing director Anne Pitcher warning that 2020 will be “the toughest year we have experienced in our recent history”.
Wincanton is investing in a dedicated new e-commerce fulfilment facility in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, due to open this month. The first customers in this new site will be existing Wincanton partners, home furnishings brand Loaf and health and beauty company Neal’s Yard Remedies.
Kingfisher has appointed a new group data director and group digital product and platform director.Sienne Veit, most recently digital director at the John Lewis Partnership, joined as group digital product and platform director.
Half of consumers now have at least two subscription payments leaving their account every month, with more than a quarter (27 per cent) expecting that to rise within the next year, according to new research. A survey of 8,000 consumers in the UK, US and European countries for Paysafe found that despite the surge in subscriptions to services such as Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime, nearly half (46 per cent) said they worry that subscriptions can be difficult to cancel and make them feel tied to long-term commitments.
Tesco has launched a new e-gift card service with personalisation features. Customers will be able to tailor Tesco e-Gift Cards for the recipient with digital ‘unwrapping’ animations and personalised messages.
Amazon has announced that Prime members will get free grocery deliveries, starting today in London and expanding to millions of members across the UK before the end of the year. The selection includes meat, seafood, snacks and household essentials, with free delivery in two-hour windows on orders over £40.
Sainsbury’s is trialling a virtual queuing system to help customers shop safely and conveniently in stores.The trial, which will run via the ufirst app, will go live in five stores from today and is the first instance of the queueing technology being used in UK supermarkets.
Debenhams has begun a process that could see the business changing hands after it fell into administration for a second time during the Coronavirus lockdown.In a statement released after the Mail on Sunday reported on the plans this weekend, the department store confirmed that administrators had begun a process to consider ways for the business to come out of the protective administration it was placed in in May.
Arcadia Group is set to embark on a wide-ranging restructure of its businesses as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the UK High Street. Philip Green’s retail empire - which includes Topshop, Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge - has presented a plan to reduce costs to The Pensions Regulator, according to reports in the Sunday Times.
Computer vision platform Advertima has closed a €15 million Series A investment round led by existing shareholder, real estate company Fortimo Group. Advertima lets retailers create smart spaces that offer consumer-centric, frictionless and relevant in-store shopping experiences. The investment will enable the startup to further develop its platform on a global scale.
Barbour has partnered behavioural marketing technology provider Wunderkind to drive its e-commerce revenues. The heritage fashion brand, established in South Shields in 1894, is best known for its wax jackets, and now trades in over 40 countries worldwide.
Dyson is set to cut 900 jobs across the company as Coronavirus has moved more sales online. The consumer electronics company employs a total of 4,000 people in the UK, with at least 600 roles due to go for staff in store and in customer service.
The volume of retail sales increased by 13.9 per cent in June compared to May as non-food and fuel stores continued their recovery from the sharp falls experienced since the start of the pandemic. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed that the last two months of rising sales have brought total sales to a similar level as before COVID-19 hit, although there is a mixed picture in different store types.
Hermes is creating 10,500 new jobs across the UK as part of a £100 million investment in expanding its capacity to cope with a surge in demand for home deliveries during the Coronavirus lockdown. The delivery firm is looking for around 1,500 full-time staff, including some roles at its head office in Yorkshire, and throughout its UK network for drivers, warehouse operatives, managers and supervisors.
DPD has passed its 2020 target for sustainable delivery vehicles five months ahead of schedule, with 10 per cent of its van fleet now zero emission electric vehicles. The parcel delivery firm now has the largest sustainable delivery fleet in the UK. At the start of 2020, DPD had just over 130 EVs on the road, with that number rising rapidly to 700 as delivery rates spiked as consumers turned to online shopping during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Hammerson has launched a crowd checker feature to help people understand when the safest times to shop are. The shopping centre owner has rolled out the tool initially at its locations in Brent Cross, Cabot Circus and Westquay.
Adevinta has acquired eBay's classified advertising business for approximately $9.2 billion. As part of the transaction, eBay will receive $2.5 billion in cash and approximately 540 million Adevinta shares, which would represent an equity stake of approximately 44 per cent, and a 33.3 per cent voting stake.
American outdoor clothing brand Woolrich has chosen Fluent Commerce to boost its capability in Europe. As part of the global investment in its customer experience and planning for future omnichannel requirements in Europe, Woolrich has selected commerce specialist Openmind to implement Fluent Commerce.
The government has confirmed that the next business rates revaluation will take place in April 2023, calling for evidence on a wider review of the system. It was announced in May that the revaluation in 2021 would be postponed, but exact timings were not revealed until today.
Kingfisher has seen an increase in second quarter sales due to rising demand in European markets and online. Group like-for-like sales jumped 21.6 per cent in the three months to 18 July, with store reopenings for its B&Q and Screwfix brands in the UK being matched by “strong” online growth.
The number of UK consumers who feel comfortable returning to the shops doubled between May and June, according to a new report from EY. A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers found that nearly half (48 per cent) are now comfortable shopping in grocery stores, almost double the amount who said the same in the previous month.
Missguided has partnered with InPost to provide parcel lockers for contact-free delivery. The online retailer struck a deal with the automated locker provider to enable a 24/7 self-serve delivery and returns option for customers.
Walmart has restarted talks over the potential sale of a stake in Asda, more than a year after its failed merger with Sainsbury’s. The US retail giant stated that it was in discussions with “a small number of third-party investors”, following speculation around potential private equity interest which valued the UK big four supermarket chain at around £7 billion.
Marks & Spencer has confirmed that 950 jobs are set to be cut as part of plans to reduce the size of its property, store management and head office teams. A statement explained that the proposals would help move the company to “a leaner, faster retail management structure” as part of a strategy to accelerate business transformation and become more resilient.
Boohoo is set to open a new automated factory in Leicester, the city at the centre of the garment industry labour rights scandal that recently wiped millions off its share price. The online fashion retailer is understood to have acquired a former Vauxhall dealership in the north of Leicester, as part of plans which were in place before an investigation accused it of paying factory workers just £3.50 an hour.
Huawei will open three new Experience Stores and Service Centres in the UK, including its first ever own-brand store, which will open in London’s Olympic Park in October. This will be followed by a dedicated retail space and service centre in Manchester, scheduled to open in February. An additional London Huawei Experience Store will be opened in early 2021, in addition to the Huawei Service Centre in Wembley, which opened in June this year.
The proportion of UK small businesses predicting growth has almost doubled in three months, according to new research, as retailers rebuild confidence following the Coronavirus lockdown. Data from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that the percentage of retail businesses predicting growth in the next three months grew from 21 per cent to 27 per cent.
John Lewis is adding 400 additional stores to its Click & Collect partnership with Co-op. The expanded tie-up means that the delivery and returns service will be available in over 500 Co-op food stores by the end of the summer.
Barclaycard has partnered with commerce platform FreedomPay for multi-channel commerce operations. The deal, which will see Barclaycard become the new acquiring partner to FreedomPay within the UK and Europe, will also offer Barclaycard customers access to transatlantic opportunities and capabilities that ensure a seamless, multi-channel commerce experience for enterprises operating across borders.
Whistles has signed a deal with OMIO PIM, a retail SaaS provider to improve its IT systems.The deal will enable the womenswear retailer to better control its product information and release it to market via a centralised system.
Visa has launched a US trial of its buy now pay later installments solutions.A pilot project with global payments issuer TSYS will allow financial institutions to offer installment plans to their cardholders, marking the first case of an issuer technology partner integrating Visa’s pay by installment option for cardholders at checkout.
The John Lewis Partnership has selected Capgemini to provide specialist IT application services across the retailer’s technology systems and business processes. The agreement with the technology consulting group is aimed at upgrading systems and applications to enable the business to respond more quickly to the digital demands of customers and staff.
Ocado’s chief executive Tim Steiner has said the shift to online shopping during the COVID-19 has “permanently redrawn” the retail landscape. Steiner made the comments as the grocery delivery giant announced that first half revenue had risen 27 per cent to more than £1 billion as shoppers flocked online for grocery deliveries during the pandemic.
UK retailers saw sales increase 3.4 per cent in June in the first evidence of growth on the High Street since the Coronavirus began. Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG retail sales monitor for the four weeks from 31 May to 4 July shows a rise in sales compared to a decrease of 1.6 per cent in June, marking the highest increase since May 2018.
Nearly a third (31 per cent) of Generation Z expects the internet to be able to predict what they need and alert them before they need it, while developments in AI and biometrics are set to make keyboards obsolete, according to new research.A survey of 1,528 consumers aged 14-59 in the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Ireland by The Center for Generational Kinetics and WP Engine, found that Generation Z, born between 1996-2015 have grown up as an internet-dependent generation with 60 per cent unable to go for more than four hours without access to the internet without feeling uncomfortable.
Enterprise businesses could face losses of up to £1 million a year due to failed payments as small and medium size businesses also face significant failure rates, according to new research.Analysis by recurring payments firm GoCardless of payment data from over 55,000 customers and 900 external businesses found that medium sized or mid-market businesses face losses of £200,000 a year due to failed payments, while small businesses stand to lose £6,000 on an annual basis.
More than half (65 per cent) of consumers expect to see a rise in touchless interactions, voice assistants and facial recognition after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study of the growth of AI in retail. The survey of 950 organisations by Capgemini found that a majority (53 per cent) of retail organisations have continued to progress their artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives, despite the disruption brought by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon will open four new stores across the US, despite decreased footfall due to the Coronavirus. Two new Amazon Go stores will be situated in Washington, while two grocery stores with conventional payment systems will open in California and Illinois.
UK footfall decreased by 62.6 per cent year-on-year in June, as lockdown restrictions continued to ease, with a 19 percentage point improvement from May. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed that in the first two weeks the footfall decline averaged 77.1 per cent, improving to 53.3 per cent in the remaining three weeks, once all stores were allowed to open in England and Northern Ireland.
Boots and John Lewis have announced downsizing plans which will cut thousands of retail jobs. The pharmacy chain will shed more than 4,000 jobs - around seven per cent of its total UK workforce - as part of action to mitigate the “significant impact” of COVID-19.
The UK’s ailing retail sector has bemoaned the “missed opportunity” in the chancellor’s Summer Statement to offer further support for the High Street. While British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson welcomed the new Job Retention Bonus in helping bring back hundreds of thousands of staff who have been on furlough in recent months, she noted that retailers lost out to the hospitality and tourism industry in this latest announcement.
The economic recovery could be delayed unless businesses plug an annual $20 billion hole in online transactions, according to a new study by Checkout.com. Loss of sales caused by false declines, where legitimate transactions are flagged as fraudulent, cost online retailers at least that amount in 2019 in the world’s biggest e-commerce markets.
Even as high streets came out of hibernation last month, June’s online retail sales spiked to a new 12 year high of 33.9 per cent year-on-year. The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, showed that this acceleration in online sales was underpinned by the continued success of almost every category.
American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa are beginning technical preparations to roll out the Click to Pay online checkout to countries including the UK. Click to Pay, based on the EMV Secure Remote industry standard, aims to make the online checkout simple and secure for consumers across websites, mobile apps and connected devices by replacing the entry of personal account numbers and information at checkout.
Bazaarvoice, a provider of product reviews and user-generated content solutions, has acquired Curalate, which provides shoppable social marketing solutions to retailers. A statement explained that the deal will capitalise on the growing visual commerce trend, where consumers increasingly buy based on user-generated visual content.
Boohoo is launching an independent review of its UK supply chain in response to allegations that some factories in Leicester that it uses paid workers below the minimum wage and failed to protect them from the Coronavirus. The online fashion group, which owns brands including PrettyLittleThing and NastyGal, said the review will be led by Alison Levitt QC, with £10 million to be invested in “eradicating malpractice” in its supply chain.
Quiz has grown its email channel and reduced online cart abandonment by using a solution from Wunderkind - formerly BounceX - a behavioural marketing technology provider. Since its launch in 1993, omni-channel fashion brand Quiz has grown from three shops in Scotland to more than 200 stores and concessions across the UK.
Most global retailers are only at an early stage of digital supply chain adoption, according to a new report from Blue Yonder and the WMG department at the University of Warwick. Their report benchmarked the digital supply chain readiness of 104 global retailers, revealing that only 15 per cent currently have prescriptive or autonomous supply chains.
AllSaints has had its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposals approved by more than the required 75 per cent of creditors. Last month, the fashion retailer announced the CVA, aimed at driving a major restructure of its store portfolio in the UK and the US.
UK retail footfall decreased 49.6 per cent year-on-year during the third week of reopening in England and Northern Ireland – although this was down on a decrease of 53.4 per cent the previous week. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed that high street footfall declined by 55.7 per cent year-on-year – compared to a decrease of 58.1 per cent the previous week.
Hugo Boss has named Oliver Timm as chief sales officer, effective from 1 January 2021. He will join from his current position as chief commercial officer at rival fashion group PVH - which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands - taking on responsibility for Hugo Boss’s global retail, wholesale and e-commerce operations.
The Centre for Retail Research has estimated that 24,348 jobs have already been lost this year across insolvent UK retailers. Many of these have been due to retailers falling into administration after the Coronavirus lockdown suspended trading for several months.
Memberships of loyalty programmes with a digital element will increase from 37 billion in 2020 to 48 billion in 2023 globally. Market analysis from Juniper Research suggested that as economic challenges remain for both consumers and retailers, digital loyalty will become a prized differentiator.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of shoppers are scared of returning to physical stores, as the lockdown restrictions ease further this weekend. A Censuswide survey of 2,000 consumers for e-commerce consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce found that the surge in online sales is set to continue after lockdown, with the channel set to account for over half (51 per cent) of all spend in the future.
Luxury lingerie and swimwear brand La Perla has selected a data analytics and unified planning platform Board as part of it digital transformation strategy. The retailer, founded in 1954, sells its collections through its network of 75 stores worldwide and concessions, as well as online.
Amazon has pushed back the date of Prime Day for a third time, with the sales event now not expected to take place until early October. Business Insider reported that the e-commerce giant told third-party sellers that Prime Day, which in May was pushed back until September, would now be delayed for another month.
Following a successful pilot with Frasers Group - formerly Sports Direct - the retailer is deploying Enactor’s point of sale (PoS) software. An enterprise agreement was signed at the start of the year, with Frasers’ clothing brand Jack Wills going live with the software in only six weeks, as part of a single, flexible platform across all the group's retail operations and brands.
Marks and Spencer has written to its seven million Sparks members to let them know it will be relaunching its loyalty scheme on 9 July as a digital-first platform. In line with the retailers’ transformation plans, Sparks will offer a more personalised experience with instant rewards, a wider selection of charities to support and more tailored offers.
John Lewis Partnership, Arcadia Group and Harrods are the latest to reveal significant job cuts in response to the Coronavirus crisis. John Lewis did not disclose exactly how many staff will be made redundant, but a 'rightsizing' strategy will include a reduction in the number of stores across its estate and could also include the smaller of its two head office buildings in London.
COVID-19 has sparked a retail transformation in the UK, with more than 85,000 businesses launching online stores or joining online marketplaces in the last four months, according to new research from Growth Intelligence. With more than 750,000 businesses forced to close their doors under lockdown restrictions, businesses in nearly every sector have accelerated their digital transformation to meet growing demand for online shopping.
Sainsbury’s total sales rose by 8.5 per cent year-on-year for the three months ending 27 June, with a 87 per cent surge in online revenue. However, the supermarket chain warned that profits could fall by more than £500 million due to the impact of the Coronavirus, although this would be “broadly offset by business rates relief and stronger grocery sales”.
Lululemon has acquired home fitness company MIRROR for $500 million. The augmented reality technology give access to weekly live classes and thousands of on-demand workouts, as well as immersive one-on-one personal training.
TM Lewin will permanently shut its entire store estate, as it struggles to pay rent and other costs for its stores.The Telegraph reported that the menswear retailer's administration will result in around 600 job losses.
Shop prices fell by 1.6 per cent in June, compared to a decrease of 2.4 per cent in May, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen statistics. Non-food prices fell by 3.4 per cent in June, compared to a decline of 4.6 per cent in May, while food inflation was steady at 1.5 per cent in June, the same rate of increase as in May.
The John Lewis Partnership has partnered with Wipro to provide infrastructure services. This represents a significant step in the creation of the partnership’s new Technology and Change function, which will better support its business strategy and let it respond more quickly to the digital expectations of customers.
Pets At Home has selected the Aptos ONE platform to power its retail operations and customer engagement strategies. Founded in 1991, the pet product retailer now has more than 450 stores and an e-commerce website.
With COVID-19’s long-term impact on consumer behaviour still unclear, the week that High Street stores reopened saw online retail sales surge by 41.3 per cent year-on-year and 1.8 per cent week-on-week. This marks the second strongest year-on-year growth since lockdown measures were put in place, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.
Scurri has announced a further €1.5 million investment to support its continued growth. A group of existing investors, including Act Venture Capital, Episode 1, Pa Nolan, and J Meade Corporate Finance advising the majority of angel investors, backed the company to total funding of €8.5 million to date.
UK footfall decreased 53.4 per cent year-on-year during the second week of reopening in England and Northern Ireland – compared to a decrease of 81.6 per cent year-on-year for the month of May. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed that footfall on the High Street declined by 58.1 per cent year-on-year – compared to a decrease of 77.8 per cent year-on-year during May.
Microsoft will close almost all of its retail stores, as the Coronavirus has led it to take a “new approach to retail”. A blog explained that more than 100 stores worldwide will close, with only four Microsoft Experience Centres left open - a move set to cost the tech giant $450 million this quarter in pre-tax asset impairment charges.
New research has revealed that 53 per cent of UK shoppers felt that retailers were doing enough to protect the public from Coronavirus, with only nine per cent disagreeing. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Opinium surveyed 2,001 nationally representative adults between 19 and 22 June - and has been conducting similar polls since the beginning of May - finding that 15 per cent of shoppers intended to visit shops to browse, up from 13 per cent prior to England and Northern Ireland’s reopening.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of shoppers believe that supporting the local economy is key to the UK overcoming the impact of the Coronavirus crisis. Data from PayPal has found that the economic downturn prompted by the lockdown has led to Brits rethinking their spending priorities, with over half (57 per cent) saying they chose to shop small to help support local and national retailers.
Online retail brands PrettyLittleThing and HYPE have partnered with flexible payments platform Laybuy. The integrations with the Boohoo-owned fashion retailer and HYPE is due to go live on both retailers’ e-commerce sites later this month.
Intu Properties has now fallen into administration after failing to secure an agreement with its creditors. Jim Tucker, David Pike and Mike Pink from KPMG have been appointed to handle the process.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has provisionally cleared Amazon’s 16 per cent investment in Deliveroo, on the basis that it is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition. In its initial provisional findings, published in April, the CMA provisionally cleared Amazon’s investment on the basis that Deliveroo would have exited the market without it, because of the negative impact of the Coronavirus on its business.
TikTok has launched TikTok For Business, giving retailers a suite of marketing tools to rival the e-commerce efforts of Snapchat and Instagram. The new platform allows brands to create their own adverts and connect with influencers within the app, including ‘TopView’ ads which appear when the app is first launched, ‘Brand Takeovers’ which are three to five-second-long video or image adverts, and a new augmented reality (AR) ‘Brand Scan’ functionality.
DHL has launched a new warehouse robotics platform as part of a partnership with artificial intelligence-backed fulfilment provider Blue Yonder. The new platform, built on Microsoft Azure, will integrate warehouse robotic systems into existing platforms at some of the 2,000 operational sites in the DHL Supply Chain.
The Very Group is cutting 141 office jobs, while creating 100 new roles in technology-focused teams, as part of a Coronavirus-driven restructure. The parent company of online retailers Littlewoods and Very said it would make 106 head office roles and 35 customer care roles redundant.
The John Lewis Partnership has appointed Pippa Wicks as its new executive director. She joins from the Co-op Group, where she was deputy chief executive, and will start her new role in August.
The Brazilian Central Bank has suspended WhatsApp payments, citing competition concerns, just over a week after the messaging app's payment service launched in the country. In statement, the central bank said the decision had been taken to allow it to evaluate potential risks to the country’s payment infrastructure and to establish whether WhatsApp complies with domestic regulation, according to Bloomberg News.
Verizon has joined forces with UK-based technology innovation centre Digital Catapult to launch an immersive accelerator programme to develop innovative 5G solutions for enterprises. The programme will enable a select number of retail and brand partners to work directly with startups and technology innovators to explore how 5G-enabled solutions can solve their real-world business challenges.
UK retailers saw a 60 per cent surge in transactions last week as shops began to re-open after lockdown, according to new data from Barclaycard. The bank's payment arm, which processes nearly 40 per cent of all UK transactions, analysed data on activity in the last week (beginning 7 June) as lockdown restrictions began to ease, finding eight per cent growth in the total volume of transactions and six per cent growth in the total value of transactions.
Amazon has pledged $2 billion worth of support for the development of sustainable technologies and services that will enable it and other companies to meet The Climate Pledge - a commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040. This dedicated venture investment program will back companies whose products and services will facilitate the transition to a zero carbon economy.
JD Sports has bought back its Go Outdoors business, following its administration earlier this week. Michael Magnay and Daniel Butters of Deloitte were appointed as joint administrators yesterday, before the parent company bought the brand in a pre-pack deal for £56.5 million, via a newly incorporated subsidiary, JD Newco.
Ocado's UK grocery market share has reached an all time high, as the Coronavirus shifts demand online. Kantar data showed that online grocery sales were up 91 per cent over the last four weeks, despite lockdown measures easing across the UK.
Visa has now issued more than one billion tokens worldwide through Visa Token Service (VTS), marking a milestone in its proprietary offering to help accelerate e-commerce innovation and make payments more secure. VTS replaces a cardholder’s 16-digit account number with a secure token that protects the underlying card number from fraudsters.
UK retail footfall decreased 57.2 per cent year-on-year during the first week of reopening – a slight improvement on the previous week at 76.2 per cent. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed that footfall on High Streets declined by 61 per cent year-on-year – although again, this was an improvement on a decline of 74 per cent the previous week.
The Hut Group has signed more than £100 million worth of partnerships with beauty brands which will use its Ingenuity platform to develop their direct-to-consumer (D2C) propositions. Brands like Elemis, PZ Cussons Beauty and Nuxe will now have access to a range of e-commerce solutions, including international fulfilment and payments, hosting, translations, brand development, creative content and data analytics.
Cornwall-based clothing retailer Seasalt has selected product information management (PIM) provider Akeneo to ensure a consistent online shopping experience for customers. The new PIM platform will allow the company to centralise all of its product data and quickly measure data quality and consistency to deliver consistent, personalised customer experiences across sales channels.
Mothercare is in discussions with new debt providers for new recapitalisation facilities and will move its head offices as part of its transformation plan. The baby care and maternity retailer said that it remains on track to become a profitable international franchise operation, via an “asset-light model” of operations in around 40 international territories, refocusing on “core competencies of brand management and the design, development and sourcing of product to help grow the Mothercare business with its global franchise partners”.
Go Outdoors is considering administration options, potentially putting around 2,400 jobs at risk. The outdoor equipment and clothing retailer filed legal a notice of its intention to appoint administrators on Friday, with the Sunday Times reporting that Deloitte has been lined-up to review restructuring plans.
Etsy has launched a new augmented reality (AR) visualisation feature to help users get a better idea of how items will look in their homes or offices. With over five million items in the Art and Collectibles category on Etsy, the online marketplace wanted to give users a better way of visualising potential purchases.
Dunelm has launched a new virtual shopping service, featuring expert interiors advice and product selection guidance tailored to individual home needs. Customers can book an appointment online, where they will be prompted to share information around their style inspiration or products they are seeking.
Andrew Tyrie has resigned from the chairman of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), hinting at his dissatisfaction with the limits of the regulator to combat market dominance of digital giants such as Facebook and Google. Lord Tyrie, a former Conservative MP and chairman of the Treasury Select Committee from 2010 to 2017, said that he was standing down from the UK’s competition watchdog three years before his term was due to finish in order to make the case “more forcefully” for a crackdown on market abuse by multi-national companies in favour of consumer rights.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has warned the public to take extra care online, after statistics show 16,352 people fell victim to online shopping and auction fraud during lockdown. Since shops were forced to close due to the Coronavirus outbreak on 23 March, Action Fraud has received reports of online shopping fraud totalling £16.6 million in losses.
E-commerce sales rose 72 per cent year-on-year in the UK in May, as the pandemic continues to drive shoppers online, according to new data from Mastercard. The payment giant’s SpendingPulse tracker, which measures overall retail sales across all types of payment, found that online spend continued to rise in May compared to April, which saw an increase of 64 per cent growth compared to April 2019.
Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr is leaving the company to take up a new position as director of the Natural History Museum. He first joined the e-commerce giant in 2011, having previously worked at Asda, and was promoted to his current position in April 2016, after leading the China arm for two years.
Retail sales volumes partly rebounded in May, with an increase of 12 per cent when compared with the record falls experienced in the previous month, but sales were still down by 13.1 per cent on February before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution to monthly growth in May, aided by a 42 per cent in household goods stores, with the opening of hardware and DIY stores reflected in this sector.
As shoppers return to the High Street this week, 85 per cent of retailers have revealed concerns about the risk the Coronavirus poses to staff and customers. A survey of 2,000 retailers for Brightpearl, an operations platform for retailers, found that the majority are rolling out measures to reduce risk of spreading the disease, including nearly three quarters (73 per cent) which will be placing limits on customer capacity.
AllSaints has revealed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal which will restructure its store portfolio in the UK and US. The fashion retailer aims to renegotiate contracts with its landlords to move 41 stores in the UK and 42 stores in North America to turnover-rent, while a "small number" will close where business is no longer feasible.
DPD has announced the creation of 6,000 new UK jobs and £200 million infrastructure investment as the company bets on the ongoing popularity of online shopping following the COVID-19 lockdown. The delivery and logistics firm, which has contracts with many of the UK’s leading retailers, will invest to expand its next-day parcel capacity, including £100 million on vehicles, £60 million on 15 new regional depots (10 more than originally planned in 2020) and the remainder on technology.
The Supreme Court has found in favour of the UK's largest supermarket chains in a case disputing the level of interchange fees levied by Visa and Mastercard. The UK's highest court unanimously upheld the conclusion of the Court of Appeal that multi-lateral interchange fees (MIFs) infringed European Union antitrust rules by illegally restricting competition in the acquiring market.
Mastercard is launching a global payments tokenisation service for Amazon customers. The payments giant is rolling out the service, which makes a secure digital record of stored card credentials to Amazon customers in 12 countries, including the UK, US, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, Mexico and United Arab Emirates.
Boohoo has acquired the online businesses and associated intellectual property of Oasis and Warehouse for £5.25 million from Hilco Capital. After administrators failed to find a buyer, the Oasis and Warehouse Group closed all stores and concessions at the end of April, with the loss of more than 1,800 jobs.
Forever 21 has reentered the UK market with a new online store and localised e-commerce experience. The US fashion retailer is working with cross-border e-commerce solutions provider Global-e to accelerate its global online expansion, which began in Asia Pacific and Latin America earlier this year.
London Dynamics, an augmented reality (AR) firm founded by a former vice president of digital transformation at IKEA, has teamed up with Capita to develop new solutions for e-commerce. The startup’s collaboration with the professional services giant will look to develop new applications for AR to assist shoppers in virtually trying, testing and viewing a range of products using Capita’s artificial intelligence technology.
Customers of Claire’s Accessories may have had their card payment details stolen after it was hit by a card skimming cyber attack. Its website and that of sister company Icing fell victim to a magecart attack from 25 April to 13 June, the company confirmed.
Poundstretcher has launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal, as part of a major restructuring. The retailer will make changes to its UK store portfolio, renegotiate rents, reduce head office costs and stem losses from underperforming outlets.
WhatsApp has finally rolled-out in-app digital payments, starting with users in Brazil. People will now be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat.
Intu is repurposing its footfall-tracking technology to ensure social distancing measures are maintained within its UK shopping centres. As non-essential retailers are able to reopen this week, the shopping centre owner stated that frontline staff will be informed when the centre is reaching maximum capacity so they can instruct shoppers to queue outside until it is safe to enter.
UK footfall decreased by 81.6 per cent in May – a shallower decline than that seen in April, as more categories of shops were able to reopen. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed High Street footfall down by 77.8 per cent year-on-year, faring better in comparison to shopping centres, as local convenience stores saw a rise in popularity.
In preparation for the reopening of shops across the UK today, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and 25 leading retailers have launched five simple steps to encourage considerate shopping. The retailers are urging the public to play their part in creating a safe retail environment for other customers and retail staff.
Avoiding shopping at peak times and contactless payments are among the tactics consumers will be using to keep safe from Coronavirus when the shops re-open on Monday, according to new research. A poll of 2,000 consumers conducted by buy now, pay later provider Laybuy found that 46 per cent are preparing to avoid visiting high street shops at peak times as non-essential retailers reopen, while 40 per cent will insist upon contactless purchases.
Zara owner Inditex has announced plans to close between 1,000 and 1,200 stores - mainly from brands other than Zara - and invest more than €2 billion in online and integrated store platforms, as the Coronavirus pushed sales down 44 per cent. The Spanish retail giant which - owns a stable of brands including Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka - reported a fall in sales to €3.3 billion during the first quarter of its financial year, between 1 February and 30 April.
Half of UK consumers are unwilling to share their personal data with retailers over concerns about how this is being used, with those aged over 55 revealed to be the least willing to provide any data (56 per cent), according to REPL Group. The retail IT consultancy and technology firm surveyed 1,000 consumers across a range of age groups - varying from 18 to over 65 - finding that despite this reluctance of sharing data, 24 per cent said they would be drawn to those retailers that provide personalised in-store offers.
Currys PC World is to reopen 131 of its stores as ‘Tech Help Hubs’ as of next week. The retailer said that from 15 June selected stores will recycle all old or unused tech, regardless of where it was purchased, and help customers with any tech questions they have.
Quiz has revealed plans to restructure its store portfolio in response to the shift to e-commerce during the Coronavirus lockdown. The fashion retailer will put its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kast - which operates the 82 standalone stores in the UK and Ireland - into administration with KPMG.
Alkemics has raised €21 million in a Series C funding round led by Highland Europe with participation from Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance and Serena Capital. Since raising €20 million in 2016, the Paris-based startup has worked with grocery retailers in France and the UK - including Tesco, Ocado, Casino, E.Leclerc and Intermarché - to digitise their commercial processes with more than 17,000 brands.
Ocado is looking to raise £657 million in an equity share placing with institutional and retail investors, as well as borrowing £350 million through a convertible bond issue. The money will be used to increase fulfilment capacity with its existing Ocado Solution partners and help acquire new grocery clients for the platform.
UK consumers have gone an average of 44 days without using cash, according to Nationwide research, which shows the Coronavirus lockdown is accelerating the shift to contactless payments. A Censuswide survey of more than 2,000 Nationwide members between 23 March and 31 May found that 78.5 million contactless payments were made, up 44 per cent during the period to a total value of nearly £957 million, including a fifth that said they have not used coins or notes at all for two months.
Seven out of ten shoppers say they will not feel totally comfortable heading into physical stores once they re-open on 15 June, according to new research from EY. The professional services firm surveyed 1,017 UK consumers about their attitude to revisiting non-essential and essential food stores after the lockdown, with 80 per cent saying they would not feel comfortable trying on clothes in store.
Monsoon Accessorize founder Peter Simon has rescued his company through a buyout covering the retailer’s brands, head office and distribution centre. Adena Brands, a company ultimately controlled by Simon, will now enter talks with the landlords of many of Monsoon and Accessorize’s 230 stores to try and reach terms to reopen them once the Coronavirus lockdown ends next week.
Retailers around Covent Garden will be trialling a range of digital initiatives to ensure social distancing when they reopen next week.
Nearly two thirds (64 per cent) of online shoppers are prepared to purchase from overseas vendors in order to make a cost saving, according to a new report. A survey of 1,200 consumers in the UK, Republic of Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and the US, by delivery management company Whistl, found that consumers were going online to access products not available locally (60 per cent), then getting access to unique products (51 per cent), as well as low fee or free shipping (39 per cent).
Consumer spending contracted 26.7 per cent year-on-year in May, according to the latest Barclaycard data. The data, taken from having processed nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, revealed that spending on essential items grew by 0.9 per cent in May. This was bolstered by a 24.5 per cent rise in supermarket spend – which increased to 27 per cent in the week preceding the VE Day weekend.
On a total basis, retail sales decreased by 5.9 per cent in May, against a decrease of 1.9 per cent in May 2019. This was the second worst decline recorded since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG monitor began in January 1995 – but also an improvement over April.
Ocado and Kroger have announced the continued expansion of their partnership with plans to construct three new Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFC) in the US. The robotic warehouses will be located the Great Lakes, Pacific Northwest and West regions - with exact locations not yet announced.
Retail footfall improved slightly in May to a 73.3 per cent decline, compared with 80.1 per cent in April. The latest Springboard figures showed that retail parks had the biggest improvement, with footfall dropping by only 55.1 per cent - compared to 68.1 per cent in April - mainly due to home and DIY stores reopening, and the presence of essential retailers like supermarkets.
Cryptocurrency exchange CoinCorner has launched a new service that will reward customers with Bitcoin when they shop online. It claims the cashback service is the first-of-its-kind to launch in the UK and CoinCorner has partnered with more than 400 UK retailers - including Burton, Twinings, Confused.com, Ninja, New Era and Morphy Richards.
A new study has identified human vulnerabilities across the retail supply chain during the Coronavirus crisis - and the need for future investment in flexibility and automation to improve future resilience. WMG, the University of Warwick and Blue Yonder gathered insights from 105 different retailers from Europe, Asia and the Americas, finding that the majority (61 per cent) used inventory to buffer against the disruption of COVID-19.
The UK’s second month under lockdown saw online retail sales rise to a 12-year high, up 32.7 per cent year-on-year in May. The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, showed that sales were overwhelmingly driven by soaring sales in three categories – home and garden, electricals and alcohol.
Total like-for-like retail sales declined by 18.3 per cent in May, but from a base of 2.2 per cent for the equivalent month last year. The latest BDO High Street sales tracker showed total in-store sales fell by 87.1 per cent year-on-year, while online sales increased by 129.5 per cent.
A review of the top 450 e-commerce websites in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Sweden has uncovered widespread checkout errors, causing customers unnecessary frustration and costing businesses significant lost revenue. Research from Stripe, which builds economic infrastructure for the internet, found that some of the most common errors include: allowing shoppers to submit transactions with incorrect card details; failing to warn shoppers when out of date expiry information is entered; not providing a numerical keypad for entering card numbers on mobile.
Mastercard has launched an online search tool to see which shops have reopened, as the nation gradually comes out of Coronavirus lockdown. The ShopOpenings.com site has been built in partnership with data analytics firm Sixth Sense, is free to use and provides up to date information on which shops and businesses are open for trading in line with government guidance.
Debenhams is preparing to re-open the “vast majority” of its stores from next week, following successful negotiations with landlords. The embattled department store chain filed for administration in April, explaining that the move would protect it from the threat of legal action that could have the effect of pushing the business into liquidation, while its 142 UK stores remain closed in line with the government’s COVID-19 pandemic advice.
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) has backed out of its proposed €14.7 billion acquisition of Tiffany & Co, due to concerns around the Coronavirus. A statement explained that the luxury group's board of directors met to discuss the proposed deal and potential impacts that the pandemic could have on both businesses.
Mobile network Three has improved online customer experience by integrating a site search tool from Yext. In the first two weeks of implementing Yext Answers, Three saw a 42 per cent reduction in the number of customer support contacts initiated due to incorrect, irrelevant, or 'no results' responses delivered to customer queries on Three.co.uk.
The Dune Group has announced an international partnership with Klarna. The fashion and footwear retailer's online customers will be able to use Klarna’s Pay later products - Pay in 30 days and Instalments - in the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
More than 90 per cent of face-to-face transactions are now made using contactless payments methods, following the COVID-19 pandemic. This is according to data from Barclaycard Payments, which processed over 25 million contactless payments above £30 since the new £45 limit was introduced at the start of the lockdown period, in a bid to reduce risk for card users.
Foodservice wholesaler Brakes has partnered with e-commerce agency KPS to digitally transform its operations during the COVID-19 lockdown. The project opened up its business-to-business (B2B) food delivery site to the public with the launch of a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce offer, giving UK households an alternative to visiting the supermarket or relying on online grocery delivery slots.
Almost a third of Brits had their first experience of shopping online during lockdown, with three quarters (74 per cent) of more frequent online shoppers planning to continue to shop online as Coronavirus restrictions lift, according to new data from Visa. An Opinium survey of 2,000 British consumers, commissioned by the payments giant, found that 41 per cent had shopped online more frequently than normal and more than a third (34 per cent) say they now prefer to shopping online to browsing in physical retailers.
Snapchat has launched Dynamic Product Adverts (DPAs) to make it easier than ever for brands to set up their e-commerce business on the social network. Adidas, Farfetch and Topshop were among the first brands to have tested DPAs over the past month with "very positive results".
Shop prices fell by 2.4 per cent in May, compared to a 1.7 per cent decrease in April, marking the highest rate of decline since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen began the series in December 2006. Non-food prices fell by 4.6 per cent in May, compared to a decline of 3.7 per cent in April – also the highest rate of decline since December 2006.
Hermes has partnered with what3words to give customers the option to pick the exact spot their parcels are delivered. The delivery company has developed MyPlaces, a new initiative designed to make the process entirely contactless, letting people specify a three metre square using the app.
Data capture firm Datalogic has invested in smart store technology firm AWM Smart Shelf, which uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to automate in-store processes. Investing in the California-based company will mean Datalogic is able to keep up with trends in the retail technology market. Among AWM’s solutions are autonomous and cashierless checkouts, automated inventory intelligence, consumer demographics and behaviour tracking software and analytics.
The Co-op is extending its use of robot deliveries across the Milton Keynes area due to demand for the service almost doubling since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. In 2018, the supermarket chain began a trial of same-day autonomous robot deliveries in the area, partnering with Starship Technologies.
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group (YNAP) has partnered with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy to create a joint lab dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision in the fashion industry. The three-year partnership with AImageLab, will set up a research program led by professor Rita Cucchiara, one of the leading experts in the field and director of the National Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Systems.
Sainsbury’s new chief executive has appointed a new retail and digital director as part of a shake-up of his top team. On his first day in post, Simon Roberts announced that Clo Moriarty - previously chief digital director - will take on the new role of retail and digital director, while chief marketing officer Mark Given has been promoted to the operating board.
Ted Baker is looking to raise £95 million from investors, after reporting an annual loss of £79.9 million in its full year results - compared to a profit of £30.7 million the previous year. The fashion retailer detailed that its new Ted’s Formula For Growth strategy centres around a share placing and open offer - with shares being offered at 75 pence - which would fund a stabilising of finances and plans for future growth.
Virgin Media has announced that its 53 UK stores will remain closed even after the Coronavirus lockdown restrictions are lifted, meaning 341 employees who were not yet furloughed will lose their current roles. The company stated that these staff will be offered roles elsewhere in the company, with 300 potentially moving to telephone customer care roles working from home, and a further 50 field sales roles created.
The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has partnered with mobile app Jisp to create a solution providing same-day home delivery, Click and Collect, mobile payments and in-store scan and go services. For the first time consumers can turn to their local stores to benefit from one mobile app serving all their contact-free shopping solutions for both in-store and at home.
Poplar has closed a $2.1 million investment led by Fuel Ventures, to help realise its ambition to become the world’s leading augmented reality (AR) creative platform. The startup has now raised $2.9 million in total funding as it looks to grow the business and further develop its technology.
Monsoon Accessorize is on the brink of calling in administrators, potentially putting around 3,500 jobs at risk. The fashion retailer, which operates about 230 stores, is expected to file a notice of intention to appoint administrators today, according to Sky News.
Instagram is introducing shoppable badges to Live videos in order to increase advertising revenues. The Facebook-owned app will now offer users virtual badges to add to their live streams in a move similar to those available in Amazon’s Twitch platform.
Tesco has introduced a new automated queuing system to track the number of people in store and ensure social distancing. The new technology will be initially rolled out across 60 of its largest stores in Ireland, following a successful trial at its branch in Greystones, Wicklow.
New data from Mastercard has revealed that 66 per cent of all transactions across the UK are now contactless, with 45 per cent admitting their use of cash has decreased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and 22 per cent stating they no longer use cash at all. Proprietary data and consumer research also showed that 83 per cent agreed that contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay, with 43 per cent using contactless more often since the pandemic began, while nine per cent have started to use contactless for the first time.
One Stop has extended its strategic partnership with RELEX Solutions to integrate supply chain unification in retail operations. The new solution has gone live with improved forecasting and automatic replenishment for over 900 of the UK convenience store chain's wholly-owned and franchised locations, with a plan to integrate its four distribution centres in the next phase of implementation.
British Land has written down the value of its retail portfolio by more than a quarter due to the Coronavirus ruling out most of its retail rental income. The lockdown pushed the shopping centre owner to a £1.1 billion loss for the year to the end of March - compared with a loss of £320 million the previous year.
Boots will unveil its first entirely digital global product launch alongside a range of new virtual services. Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance is set to launch its No7 Advanced Retinol Complex Night Concentrate skincare products in the UK tomorrow.
Hammerson chief executive David Atkins is set to resign, as the shopping centre owner faces cashflow problems stemming from Coronavirus shop closures. He will remain in the post until the spring of 2021 at the latest to allow a search for his successor to be conducted.
A new startup has launched aiming to let users to go shopping together on the largest fashion e-commerce websites. Squadded is a Chrome browser extension which lets people register and invite friends, adding the social layer of in-person, in-store shopping.
As a result of COVID-19, 60 per cent of UK retail companies are overhauling their business strategies, with 42 per cent looking to invest in digital. This is according to a survey commissioned by LiveArea and conducted in May by Opinium among 500 business managers across various industries in the UK.
Aldi is launching an automated traffic light system to let people into its UK stores, limiting numbers and promoting social distancing. Following a successful trial of the technology, the supermarket chain will roll the system out this week. Each store will have a specific number of customers it can allow in at any one time to enable two-metre social distancing.
Retail technology provider TrueCommerce has entered into a strategic partnership with payments gateway firm Trust Payments to extend its services to business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce customers. The new relationship will enable users of TrueCommerce’s platform to implement Trust Payments’ payment solutions for all online transactions.
The prime minister has announced that non-essential retailers will be able to reopen stores in England from 15 June, so long as social distancing measures are implemented. Boris Johnson stated yesterday that openings would be “contingent on progress in the fight against Coronavirus” and retailers would have to adhere to the new guidance published for the retail sector “detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards”.
Amazon Prime Day will be delayed until September to ensure its warehouses and logistics operations are running at full capacity. The Wall Street Journal reported that despite initial Coronavirus restrictions prioritising essential items being lifted, delivery times could still take month to return to the one and two-day pre-crisis norms.
Dixons Carphone has partnered with Age UK to help vulnerable older people tackle loneliness during the Coronavirus crisis. The technology retailer has provided 500 free tablets with internet connectivity and a dedicated technology support phone line to help older people connect with friends and family, access guidance on staying safe and keep up to date with current news.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that all retail sales measures had record declines in April - from 1988 when records began - for both value and volume, as many stores paused trading from the Coronavirus lockdown on 23 March. The record fall of 18.1 per cent in April, followed the fall of 5.2 per cent in March.
Clarks will cut 900 office jobs as part of a new strategy to revitalise the business through the Coronavirus. The footwear retailer has made 160 redundancies globally today, including 108 at its headquarters in Street, Somerset.
Shopify has announced a new range of products and updates to help merchants navigate the Coronavirus crisis. At Reunite, the company’s first virtual event for members, it gave details of Shopify Balance, a new bank account for merchants to pay in and take out money made in their online shops.
The co-founder of Boohoo has partnered with Avacta to develop a 10-minute home saliva test for Coronavirus. The antigen test will look similar to a pregnancy test, but will use a saliva sample rather than urine.
Marks & Spencer has poached George at Asda’s commercial vice president Stephen Langford as its new e-commerce director. He will start in the next few weeks, reporting to the retailer’s new clothing and home managing director, Richard Price, who is set to join from Tesco in July to lead the turnaround strategy for M&S’ struggling apparel department.
The "trauma" of the Coronavirus outbreak has meant that shopping may “never be the same again”, Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe has said, as he announced an expected £2.1 billion hit on clothing, home, food and international sales. In a trading update for the 52 weeks up to 28 March, he announced that profit before tax had slumped 21 per cent to £403 million, including an adverse profit impact of around £52 million in March, which was “largely attributed” to the impact of COVID-19.
Asda is trialling virtual queuing as part of more long-term social distancing measures. The supermarket chain's new system will allow users to book a place and log into a virtual queue with their phones. They will then be able to wait in their car and be alerted when they are allowed to enter the store.
The City Takeover Panel has blocked Crew Clothing parent company Brigadier Acquisition Company’s attempt to retract its £22.6 million acquisition of Moss Bros. The firm made a submission last month to retract the takeover offer made in March, seeking to scrap the deal due to the material adverse change in conditions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic on Moss Bros.
Facebook is launching Shops, a free service aimed at making it easier for businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. Businesses can choose the products they want to feature and customise the look and feel of their shop with a cover image and accent colours that showcase their brand.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has announced plans to re-open its flagship London centres when the government advises it is safe to do so. Across Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City - Europe’s two largest shopping centres - the group explained the phased return of up to 30,000 people back to work.
Mamas & Papas has launched the UK’s first virtual personal shopping service for new and expectant parents. The nursery brand has taken its personal shopping appointments online to ensure that even when stores begin to reopen, pregnant women - who are classed as a vulnerable group - have the option to get advice and inspiration without having to leave the house.
Regatta is migrating from on-premise infrastructure management to the cloud with Cegid’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) application. The Manchester-based outdoor clothing retailer is aiming to future-proof the business as it continues to open new stores. It currently sells through 180 stores across 11 countries, employing over 1,400 people.
PayPal is rolling out payment by QR codes in the UK and across 27 markets globally. The payments system, which uses a consumer’s smartphone to scan the QR code before directing them to their PayPal account, is intended as a contact-free way for businesses to receive payment safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Over 60 per cent of consumers have stopped buying from brands that ‘stalk’ them online by using their data, according to new research. A survey of 8,000 consumers in the UK, France, India and the USA by Arlington Research on behalf of data analytics solution provider Truata also found over three quarters (77 per cent) believed that data held digitally about them should be their own property, not an asset owned by a company.
N Brown Group has reported a 25 per cent decline in sales over the last six weeks and is sought new funding from lenders to survive in a “very uncertain environment”. The group, which owns JD Williams, Jacamo and Simply Be, saw apparel sales fall 48 per cent during period, although home and gifting sales were up by 74 per cent.
Prada Group is now using Sprinklr to drive its data-driven social advertising and engagement strategy. The Italian luxury goods group is now enhancing collaboration across global agencies on Sprinklr’s artificial intelligence-powered platform to increase return on advertising spend, reach relevant audiences and gain insight into effective marketing content.
As of 17 May, Apple has begun opening stores around the world, with 100 already welcoming customers inside again. A blog from retail senior vice president Deirdre O'Brien explained that in China, and globally, the tech company was one of the first to close stores.
Graticule Personalisation is launching Forage Lite, a retail technology allowing customers to order via text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger contact-free from shops and restaurants during the Coronavirus lockdown. The service has been designed for restaurants, take-aways, grocers, retailers and other small businesses, and is currently being offered free of charge to all small businesses in the UK.
Aldi is trialling on-demand grocery home delivery in the UK for the first time, in partnership with Deliveroo. From today, the supermarket will offer a rapid delivery service from its Daleside Road store in Nottingham, before extending the trial to a further seven stores across the East Midlands in June.
UK footfall decreased by 84.7 per cent in April, a record decline for the sector during the Coronavirus lockdown. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures showed that footfall on high streets declined by 81.8 per cent year-on-year.
E-commerce sales remained 50 per cent higher than pre-lockdown levels during the week ending 11 May.
Retail spending data gathered by fraud protection company Signifyd found that sales of luxury goods rose six per cent for the week, continuing a run going back to 23 March, which has seen sales in this category up 45 per cent since 25 February.
Homebase has gone live with a new e-fulfilment order delivery service. The DIY retailer partnered with Wincanton to help create a more positive customer experience by enabling better communication about items ordered for home delivery.
Boohoo has announced a successful placing of £198 million - priced at 340 pence per share - in a deal led by investment banking boutique Zeus Capital. Following the fundraise, the online fashion retailer is expected to have circa £500 million in cash, "giving it significant firepower to rapidly execute attractive brand acquisitions as they arise around the world", according to a statement.
New research has revealed that 80 per cent of consumers think payments technology is now key to their purchasing decisions. A OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK consumers for FinTech startup Modularbank found that just 22 per cent of respondents did not require anything more in the payments process from online merchants when it came to choosing which retailers, telecoms and utilities companies to use.
Computer vision-based frictionless checkout platform Shopic has closed an $7.6 million Series A funding round. The investment was led by IBI Tech Fund, with participation of existing investor Entrée Capital and others.
With non-essential retail not expected to open until June and retailers prioritising immediate e-commerce initiatives to drive sales, the ability to keep up with retail disruptors is the greatest long-term challenge faced by retail businesses post-Coronavirus. This is according to new research from trade show RetailEXPO, which surveyed 2,227 retail professionals, finding that almost a quarter (24 per cent) saw keeping pace with disruptors as the top long-term challenge facing their business.
Following the UK’s first full month under lockdown, April’s online retail sales results have signalled a seismic shift in purchasing patterns, according to the latest IMRG and Capgemini figures. As COVID-19 shut brick and mortar stores up and down the county, online sales growth surged to a 10-year high – up 23.8 per cent year-on-year.
During May, H&M Group brands COS, Weekday, Monki, & Other Stories and ARKET will make their collections available online in nine additional markets across Europe. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Croatia will launch on 14 May, followed by Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus on 20 May.
Spending on 'isolation economy' categories of groceries, alcohol, entertainment and hobbies is running at £247 million per week during lockdown, equivalent to an annual £12.9 billion increase. However, average overall consumer spending has decreased by 31 per cent per person, equating to an annual fall of £215 billion, according to a new report from Legal & General and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The Coronavirus crisis has helped reduce the value of Land Securities Group's (Landsec) property portfolio by nine per cent, or £1.18 billion, to £12.8 billion during the year to 31 March. The shopping centre owner, which manages Bluewater in Kent and Trinity Leeds, reported losses before tax up to £837 million from £123 million in 2018/19.
On a total basis, UK retail sales decreased by 19.1 per cent in April, against an increase of 2.4 per cent in April 2019. This is the worst decline recorded since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG monitor began in January 1995, reflecting the effect of lockdown measures.
Lidl has launched a WhatsApp chatbot to help find the quietest time to shop. Customers in Ireland can now send a message to Lidl through the messaging app informing the chatbot of the day and time they intend to visit. It will then message back letting them know if that is generally a quiet, average or busy time to visit.
JoJo Maman Bébé is partnering with Monetate, a Kibo company, to deliver real-time personalised experiences for increasing customer acquisition. The children's clothing and accessory retailer is using artificial intelligence technology to deal with the challenge of rapidly changing consumer intent.
Morrisons has expanded its same-day online grocery delivery partnership with Amazon. The service will now cover 90 per cent of London and 10 of the largest cities across the UK.
Young Brits have shifted their spending from clothing and shoes to home and gardens during the Coronavirus lockdown, with spending in this category up 262 per cent according to new data from Klarna.
The payments firm analysed spending through its 5,000 retail partners in the UK to identify the product categories most often shopped for using flexible payments options.
Holland & Barrett has opened a new distribution centre to meet a 400 per cent spike demand for online orders during lockdown. The health supplement retailer has reduced its product lines by 2,500 for two weeks in order to clear its backlog - although orders still have a week-long lead time instead of the pre-Coronavirus next-day service. These delays have caused many customer complaints in recent weeks.
As the prime minister alluded to some non-essential shops being able to reopen from 1 June, industry stakeholders have warned that staff safety is what counts. In a speech yesterday evening, Boris Johnson said that as part of phase two of the government’s plan, “we believe we may be in a position to begin the phased reopening of shops and to get primary pupils back into schools”, adding that more detailed guidance would be given this week.
The UK’s retail sector has seen its largest ever decline in footfall last month, down 80.1 per cent according to Springboard's latest figures. This was almost double the already signifiant March drop of 41.3 per cent - with both clearly due to the Coronavirus crisis and implementation of a social distancing lockdown.
Website revenues - which fell by 37 per cent on 23 March, the day the UK went into lockdown - have risen by 57 per cent since the social distancing measures were first introduced. This is according to the latest data from BounceX (soon to be Wunderkind), which also revealed that week-on-week revenue performance was up 20 per cent for the period between 27 April and 4 May.
Asda has added nearly 50 electric delivery vehicles to its fleet as a response to demand for online delivery slots during the Coronavirus lockdown. The supermarket chain announced it will designate the electric vehicles to 48 stores across the UK to transport orders from stores to Click and Collect points, effectively expanding the number of potential slots from 7,000 to 34,000 per week.
Debenhams will close a further five department stores, putting around 1,000 jobs at risk. The shops are all situated in Hammerson shopping centres the Bullring and Grand Central in Birmingham, The Oracle in Reading, Highcross in Leicester, Silverburn in Glasgow and Centrale in Croydon.
Next year's proposed business rates revaluation will now be postponed. Communities secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed that the tax changes will no longer take place in 2021 to help reduce uncertainty for businesses affected by the Coronavirus crisis. Legislation had been introduced to bring the next revaluation forward by one year from 2022.
Ocado's retail revenues rose 40.4 per cent in the second quarter, as the Coronavirus crisis saw it deliver “significantly more groceries to households than ever before”. The online grocer has seen “unprecedented demand” for its deliveries during the last three months, causing revenue to nearly quadruple from first quarter trading.
Brompton Bicycle has partnered with Go Instore to launch the Live In-Store Expert feature, matching Brompton Junction product experts with online customers using an immersive live video platform. Staff can now work safely from the store during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting online customers and giving product demonstrations.
Tomorrow Waitrose is opening a six-acre customer fulfilment centre in Enfield, North London, to double its online grocery orders in the capital by September. The site is creating 370 new jobs, building to 850 when at full capacity, by which time it will be adding 13,000 weekly delivery slots for London customers.
Following an in-depth Phase 2 investigation, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has blocked the merger of JD Sports and Foot Asylum, stating it would "lead to a substantial lessening of competition nationally". The regulator added that this would leave shoppers with fewer discounts, or receiving lower quality customer service.
ASOS is accelerating the roll-out of its augmented reality (AR) app See My Fit, allowing users to accurately see what items look like in different sizes and on different body types. First launched in January, the tool digitally maps its products to 16 different real-life models with different heights and body shapes, ranging from size four to 18.
Back Market has raised $120 million in a funding round led by Goldman Sachs, Aglaé Ventures and Eurazeo Growth. The French marketplace for refurbished smartphones and electronics devices previously raised $55 million from Aglaé, Eurazeo and Daphni.
Tim Bray, a vice president at Amazon Web Services, has quit the company “in dismay” over its firing of employee activists who criticised Coronavirus working conditions. In a blog post, the man perhaps most famous for markup language XML, said that firing strike organisers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa in April was “designed to create a climate of fear”.
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on retail will be the most significant event on the sector in living memory, according to EY. A new report from the consultancy has tracked changing consumer behaviours, identifying four distinct segments have emerged since the beginning of the crisis: 'cut deep', 'stay calm, carry on, 'Save and stockpile' and 'hibernate and spend'.
Halfords has partnered with digital commerce agency Astound Commerce to provide seamless customer experience. Founded in 1982, the motoring and cycling retailer now has 465 stores across the UK and Republic of Ireland.
Research has revealed that 54 per cent of UK consumers have used new forms of payments since the COVID-19 outbreak began, while 84 per cent globally are now thinking differently about how they make payments. This is according to a survey conducted by Paysafe among 8,000 consumers across the world.
Hotel Chocolat is accelerating investment and innovation plans for a digital and subscription model, as its store estate remains closed due to the Coronavirus crisis. In a trading update, the confectionary retailer said closing all its stores over what is typically a lucrative Easter period for the company had a “material impact on trading”, although no figures were given.
TikTok is testing a new 'shop now' button, linking users directly to advertisers’ e-commerce websites from videos. The social media platform is reportedly trialling it with a select group of advertisers and influencers.
Intu has appointed David Hargrave as chief restructuring officer and non-executive director. He has 33 years of experience in the transaction and restructuring businesses of the big four accounting firms, latterly as a partner at both EY and PwC.
Forrester has predicted that due to the Coronavirus, global retail sales in 2020 will decline by an average of 9.6 per cent globally – a loss of $2.1 trillion. The research consultancy also predicted that it will take four years for retailers to overtake pre-pandemic levels.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis, it is "giving the industry an additional six months to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for e-commerce". The new timeline of 14 September 2021 replaces the 14 March 2021 date. The regulator stressed that firms are required to take all necessary steps to comply with the revised detailed phased implementation plan and critical path to avoid the risk of enforcement action.
With most of the UK's retail estate remaining closed for the foreseeable future, new data has showed that many brands are closing the sales gap through their digital offerings – with online sales in the UK increasing 27 per cent from the same time year-on-year and up 23 per cent from last week. Proprietary data from commerce experience firm Bloomreach revealed that despite potentially having more time on their hands, Brits are not wasting it browsing online before purchasing, with search traffic up 46 per cent year-on-year and search sales up 74 per cent from the same time last year.
Sainsbury’s has reported a two per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £586 million for the year to 7 March, with a warning that Coronavirus could put a dent of more than £500 million into the current year’s profits. On a statutory basis, pre-tax profits rose to £255 million, from £202 million the previous year.
AO has partnered with location company what3words so that customers across the UK provide a specific address for their desired delivery place. The partnership will shortly be rolled out nationwide, with all drivers having access to the app and all customers able to share their what3words address.
Waitrose has appointed former Sainsbury’s executive James Bailey as its new managing director. Sky News reported that the hire was approved by Sharon White, chairwoman of John Lewis Partnership.
Shop prices fell by 1.7 per cent in April - compared to a 0.8 per cent decrease in March - marking the highest rate of decline since January 2017. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen's shop price tracker found that non-food prices fell by 3.7 per cent, compared to a decline of 1.9 per cent in March; making April's figure the highest rate of decline since the series began in December 2006.
Mintel research has forecast that the online grocery market will grow by 33 per cent in 2020 to reach an estimated value of £16.8 billion; up from £12.7 billion in 2019. This follows four consecutive years of slowing growth: in 2019 growth fell to a historic low of just 2.9 per cent.
Klarna has committed to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in its frontline response to COVID-19, by donating £1, $1 or €1 for every Klarna transaction placed at ASOS globally on 29 April. The initiative will take place in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Marks & Spencer has secured funding to strengthen its balance sheet during the Coronavirus crisis. The retailer will borrow cash through the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility, and has also reached an agreement with its banking partners to “substantially relax or remove covenant conditions” on an existing £1.1 billion credit facility.
A.F. Blakemore has partnered with online shopping app Snappy Shopper to expand its home delivery service to vulnerable customers during the Coronavirus. The app is being trialled in four Spar stores in the Wrexham area, with plans to roll out across more of the wholesale and distribution businesses' shops by the end of April - including 250 of the 280 Spar stores it owns.
Farfetch has announced the fourth cohort for its Dream Assembly startup accelerator programme. The Coronavirus crisis means that it will be held in a completely digital format for the first time, so mentorship, networking opportunities and support over the coming seven weeks will be provided virtually.
The impact of COVID-19 on e-commerce retailers of fashion, apparel and accessories globally seems to have subsided in April, with total sales revenue rebounding on average 21 per cent higher year-over-year; after a 30 per cent fall in March. Visits are now up nine per cent on average compared to a year ago, with orders 30 per cent higher and the conversion rate rising by 12 per cent, according to analysis by Nosto.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has worked with the Usdaw union to produce guidance on social distancing for non-food retail stores - drawing on lessons learned by essential retailers in recent weeks. This builds on recent BRC guidance on the safe operation of warehouses and distribution and will allow retailers, whose stores have been forced to close, to be ready to operate safely once government restrictions are relaxed.
E-commerce technology firm Venditan has launched at £1 million grant for independent retailers to boost their online operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Manchester-based firm, which specialises in online retail and electronic point of sale (EPoS) software, is offering the funding to support small and independent High Street retailers looking to launch new transactional websites.
Monthly retail sales volume fell by 5.1 per cent in March – the largest fall since the Office for National Statistics (ONS) series began, as many stores ceased trading from 23 March following government Coronavirus guidance. Clothing store sales saw a sharp fall when compared with the previous month, down 34.8 per cent, while food stores and non-store retailing were the only sectors to show growth, with food stores seeing sales rise 10.4 per cent.
The Orion European real estate fund looks set to pull out of a deal to buy Hammerson’s £400 million retail park portfolio. The shopping centre owner said it “did not intend to complete” the transaction agreed on 21 February for seven of its UK retail parks, but it “remains ready and able to comply with completion obligations” and is in ongoing discussion with Orion.
The UK clothing and footwear market is forecast to decline by £14 billion this year due to COVID-19 disruption.Analysis from GlobalData showed that spending on clothes and footwear will plummet by 26.1 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.
In response to the pressures of working through the Coronavirus crisis, Tesco has made two mental wellbeing tools - Headspace and SilverCloud - available for free to all its 300,000 UK colleagues for the next 12 months. Headspace gives easy techniques to help users focus more, sleep better and stress less, while SilverCloud is an online self-help tool that gives access to a range of wellbeing advice in association with Nuffield Health - including on sleep, anxiety, grief and dealing with uncertainty.
Laura Ashley has been rescued from administration by Gordon Brothers, which has acquired the global brand, archives and related intellectual property. The global advisory, restructuring and investment firm stated that it intends to “place a strong emphasis on building e-commerce, developing more strategic wholesale relationships, and expanding the portfolio of licensees and franchisees globally”.
The NHS, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Ministry of Defence have begun work with eBay to create a new online portal to help ease some of the personal protective equipment (PPE) supply issues currently facing the medical community. The new portal, which is currently in a pilot phase, aims to help primary and social care providers to order PPE equipment from NHS Supply Chain.
Google is getting rid of charges for retailers to place their products on its Google Shopping search pages. Until now it has levied merchant fees for showing items in its shopping tab, but in a move to rival Amazon's dominance, Google is scrapping listing fees in the US starting next week - rolling out the change worldwide by the end of the year.
Brigadier Acquisition Company, the owner of Crew Clothing, is looking to pull out of its £22.6 million deal to take Moss Bros private, just over a month after agreeing the acquisition. The menswear retailer stated that its buyer was seeking a ruling from the City Takeover Panel to invoke a condition of its offer, following the closure of stores due to the Coronavirus lockdown less than two weeks after sealing the deal.
Boohoo's annual pre-tax profit have increased 54 per cent to £92.2 million, while during the 12 months to 29 February, revenue rose 44 per cent to £1.23 billion. The online fashion retailer reported UK revenue up 39 per cent and international revenue rising by 51 per cent.
Cath Kidston has filed for administration, closing all 60 of its UK stores and losing 908 jobs. Parent company Baring Private Equity Asia secured a pre-pack administration, which meant it bought back Cath Kidston’s brand and online operations from Alvarez & Marsal.
Tmall Global has announced that it will expand its help for international brands launching the Chinese market, with the aim of bringing 1,000 new retailers onto its e-commerce platform in the coming 12 months. The brand-incubation plan, announced as part of its Global Partners Summit, is part of a $200 billion, five-year-import program that the Alibaba platform unveiled at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai two years ago.
A new app has been developed to informs shoppers about the size of queues outside their local supermarkets. Supermarket Check-In is available to download on iOS and Android devices, aiming to make shopping easier during the lockdown.
The Coronavirus lockdown has transformed shopping habits among UK consumers, according to new data which showed that 61 per cent of shoppers are visiting supermarkets less frequently, in favour of corner shops. A survey of 1,646 adults, compiled by YouGov, found that consumers have been visiting different types of shops to get their essentials, as pressure on supply chains and bulk buying led to almost all shoppers (93 per cent) struggling to find the products they needed.
Sainsbury's has selected Blue Yonder to transform its supply chain management. The supermarket will deploy new technology to power its end-to-end strategy on a single artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform.
The shortlist for this year's Retail Systems Awards has been revealed, with a range of innovative retailers and technology providers among those in the running. Across a range of new and expanded categories, the best and brightest businesses in the sector are represented. The ceremony will now take place on 19 October, still at the Waldorf Hilton hotel in London's west end.
Blueprint has announced a £1 million seed investment led by MAHR Projects, alongside Founders Factory and Hambro Perks. At a time when worldwide e-commerce adoption and digital payments are accelerating, Blueprint is ramping up the development of a conversational commerce platform which allows consumers to purchase products and speak to brands through a single SMS or WhatsApp message.
Amazon is set to launch a new Ultra Fast Fresh service to bring rapid grocery deliveries to 40 per cent of UK households by 2021. The e-commerce giant is aiming to merge its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service with its speedy delivery arm Prime Now, retrofitting nine warehouses to fulfil fresh orders, according to The Grocer.
Search Fresh, a web-shop startup, is calling for local retailers - including butchers, bakers, delis and florists - to register to sell their goods online during the COVID-19 lockdown. The site is inviting small businesses that haven’t traditionally lent themselves to online sales to join Search Fresh to offer their fresh produce to customers in the local area.
DFS is in the “advanced stages” of talks to secure a debt facility worth around £60 million to £70 million. A statement from the furniture retailer - which shut all its stores last month - explained that the funding would supplement an existing £250 million bank facility.
UK footfall decreased by 44.7 per cent in March, due to the mandatory lockdown; marking a record decline for the retail industry. British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrack data showed that in the three weeks prior to the lockdown on 23 March, UK footfall saw an average decline of 17.7 per cent. Whereas during the two weeks of lockdown, footfall saw an average decline of 83.2 per cent.
Waitrose has announced that the number of delivery slots available each week through its Waitrose & Partners Rapid service will more than treble, giving over 2.5 million households the option to use the service. The supermarket has also confirmed that by the end of next week at least 40 per cent of these new slots will be reserved exclusively for the elderly and vulnerable.
Following the government's three-week extension of the Coronavirus lockdown, businesses that turnover more than £500 million can now apply for support. A statement from the Treasury explained that loans to medium and larger businesses will be included in its £330 billion package.
Scottish technology company Neatebox is offering supermarkets across the UK access to new technology which it claims can remove the challenges millions of individuals are currently facing when they visit a shop during lockdown. Social distancing rules, queues, changing opening times and protected hours for key workers are just some of the new rules being employed by supermarkets to help protect both staff and customers from COVID-19.
Aldi UK will sell ambient food parcels on its website for the first time from today, in order to help vulnerable people and those self-isolating. The parcels will be for home delivery and contain 22 products, including tinned soup, rice and pasta. Each parcel will also include antibacterial handwash and a four-pack of toilet roll.
Iceland is increasing its online delivery operations to meet an almost 500 per cent increase in demand across some stores. Its Food Warehouse branches, which are typically two or three times larger than a standard Iceland store, stocking a wider range of goods, are now being brought online for home delivery at an accelerated rate.
Quiz and Dunelm have become the latest retailers to reopen online operations following last month’s Coronavirus closure. In a statement, Quiz said operations will be undertaken by employees who are willing and able to return to work safely, with a significantly reduced number of employees working in its distribution centre to enforce social distancing, meaning only a standard delivery service will be offered.
VibePay, a social payments app aimed at Generation Z consumers, is to launch its Open Banking services to business for payments and subscriptions. The app, which launched in Beta in October 2019, uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable payments via online checkouts and subscriptions, with the latter being popular amongst Gen Z and traditionally expensive to process.
On a total basis, UK retail sales decreased by 4.3 per cent in March, against a decrease of 1.8 per cent in March 2019 – the worst decline recorded since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG began monitoring in January 1995. Sales before and after the lockdown on 23 March contrasted sharply. In the first three weeks of March, retail sales grew 12 per cent on a total basis, but declined 27 per cent in the last two weeks of the period.
As the Coronavirus lockdown started, online clothing sales fell 23.1 per cent year-on-year in March, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index; which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers. Digging deeper into fashion sales, menswear was down 42.9 per cent and footwear was down 32.8 per cent.
Oasis and Warehouse have filed for administration, with 202 jobs immediately lost and a further 1,800 at risk. Following earlier reports that the women's fashion retailers were preparing for an insolvency process, directors appointed Rob Harding and Richard Hawes from Deloitte as joint administrators for the whole company.
Ethoca has expanded its collaboration with Microsoft in order to bring the latter's customers access to digital purchase receipts through their banks’ mobile applications, via Ethoca’s Digital Receipts service. A statement suggested that it's not uncommon for digital goods providers to experience false claim rates of 80 per cent or higher from consumers who often fail to recognise their own purchases, or those of family members who have access to payment credentials.
The latest Springboard footfall figures have revealed an “unprecedented decline” of 41.9 per cent in March. The Coronavirus lockdown's inevitable impact meant that during the final three weeks of March, footfall fell an average of 61.5 per cent.
John Lewis has launched a range of virtual services to help shoppers access online styling and design advice via Instagram and video call. The department store chain said the services - launched today to support shoppers during the COVID-19 lockdown - include expert advice on fashion, home and nursery design, while further services, inspirational talks and learning sessions are planned to launch at the end of April.
Jamie Iannone has been appointed as eBay's chief executive, effective 27 April. Most recently he was the chief operating officer of Walmart eCommerce, and has over 20 years of experience leading digital pure-play and omnichannel platforms.
Next is partly reopening its online business after implementing new COVID-19 safety measures. The move also follows consultation with staff and the USDAW shop workers union.
Matalan is seeking around £60 million of investment after closing 232 stores due to the Coronavirus lockdown. The value fashion retailer is considering options to secure short term funding, according to a statement to bondholders seen by the Mail on Sunday.
As the COVID-19 isolation period stretches on, many formerly profitable retailers fear they may never re-open their doors, so a new local business voucher scheme is aiming to solve the problem. Saving Local enables loyal customers, who are keen to support their favourite local businesses to buy vouchers for products and meals now, for later use when the lockdown finally ends.
Mobile point of sale (MPoS) software startup phos has closed a fundraising round worth €1.3 million, led by New Vision 3 and other angel investors. The investment sees the total amount raised increase to €2.5 million, and will be used to grow the FinTech's development team to introduce new features like PIN on Phone, its Software Development Kit (SDK) and an integrated loyalty system.
The value of retail mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fell to $2.05 billion in February, according to GlobalData. The research firm's analysis found an 8.3 per cent slump in the value of deals in February, compared with January, as the COVID-19 outbreak began to impact investment and drive down share prices around the world.
Arcadia Group is looking to borrow up to £50 million against its distribution centre to sure up its finances through the Coronavirus lockdown. Sky News reported that Philip Green's fashion retail group approached banks and hedge funds about a new round of borrowing, using its Daventry distribution centre - opened last year as part of Topshop's logistics network - as collateral. It was not yet clear whether a deal had been reached.
Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has extended the donation of its delivery fleet to help charities fighting the Coronavirus in both Italy and Hong Kong. In addition, its London commitment to seven local Age UK charities has been expanded to include a second initiative, the Emergency Designer Network (EDN), delivering essential supplies to vulnerable communities.
As Wuhan - the city at the epicentre of China’s Coronavirus outbreak - prepares to emerge from lockdown, Alipay has launched a series of digital initiatives aimed at helping small businesses get back on their feet. The digital lifestyle platform run by Ant Financial Services, the financial division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has set up a special section on the landing page of the Alipay app, to allow the platform’s 900 million users easily locate merchants and their respective products and services in Wuhan.
Tesco has revealed that Coronavirus-driven panic buying in recent weeks is behind a 30 per cent increase in sales, but added that the pandemic could also cost as much as £925 million through cost increases from payroll, distribution and store expenses. The supermarket chain's preliminary results included a COVID-19 update, which stated that a previously stretched supply chain has now stabilised and “more normal sales volumes are being experienced”.
ASOS has raised more than £200 million from shareholders to counter the impact of the Coronavirus on company finances. The online fashion retailer also said it would add £60 to £80 million to its existing £350 million revolving credit facility - which runs to 2024 - as well as negotiate changes to the covenant tests on that facility, and apply to access the Bank of England’s COVID-19 corporate finance support scheme.
Online retail saw transaction volumes soar by 74 per cent in March compared to the same month last year.
ACI Worldwide analysis of hundreds of millions of transactions carried out by global online retailers found that as millions of Britons headed online for purchases and entertainment, transaction volumes in online gaming saw a bounce of 97 per cent compared to the same time last year.
PayPoint has acquired full ownership of Yodel’s Collect+ parcel service in a deal worth £6 million. The acquisition of the 50 per cent of Collect+ shares that were owned by Yodel puts payment services company PayPoint in charge of the UK’s largest parcel network.
Nearly 90 per cent of consumers would prefer to shop in stores with 'touchless' or self-checkout options during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey of consumers aged 18 to 60 in the US by Shekel, a smart weighing and retail technology company, three quarters of consumers are now using self-checkout or frictionless micro-markets to pay for groceries.
Schuh has relaunched online operations in a move it stated was critical for the business to survive. The footwear retailer closed its stores and e-commerce website on 26 March in response to Coronavirus concerns around staff conditions, but will now start a staggered reopening of its online fulfilment operations after a formal risk assessment was completed.
Online retailers have been delivering parcels almost 20 per cent faster than usual amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Data from ParcelLab, a cloud solution provider for smart parcel and e-commerce deliveries, has shown that as the Coronavirus crisis continued to unfold in the last two weeks, the average speed at which parcels from online orders are being delivered has reduced from 2.1 days to 1.7 days.
Amazon could lose out on revenue of more than $100 million as it is forced to delay Prime Day by the Coronavirus crisis. The e-commerce giant’s annual summer shopping festival will now be pushed back until at least August, according to documents seen by Reuters.
Debenhams today has filed a Notice of Intent to appoint an administrator, naming Geoff Rowley and Alastair Massey of FRP Advisory. The department store chain explained that the move will protect it from the threat of legal action that could have the effect of pushing the business into liquidation while its 142 UK stores remain closed in line with the government’s current COVID-19 pandemic advice.
WHSmith has raised £165.9 million, after placing 15.8 million new shares at 1050p per share, in an attempt to stabilise its finances during the Coronavirus lockdown. Chief executive Carl Cowling was among the investors, subscribing to more than 7,000 shares, which will be admitted to the stock exchange on 9 April.