G-Star RAW has collaborated with Yext to update the information across more than 150 online channels, including Google, Amazon Alexa and Facebook. By enhancing its online discoverability, the Dutch denim brand has driven over 1.5 million clicks to its listings, while experiencing a year-over-year growth rate in clicks of 16 per cent since launch in December 2016.
Beales, one of the UK High Street’s oldest department store chains has collapsed into administration, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. According to Sky News, the struggling retailer appointed KPMG to supervise the administration process after a formal sales process, which ended today, failed to find a buyer.
Fears over cyber security and the digital skills shift have topped the list of technology concerns for UK retail small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a new report. A survey of technology decision-makers in SMEs with 50 to 500 employees by OGL Computer across a range of industries found that the top worries centred around cyber security attacks (65 per cent), keeping pace with competitors (59 per cent) and a lack of technology-savvy workers (41 per cent).
Intu is aiming to raise £1 billion worth of new equity next month in order to fix its balance sheet. The Sunday Times reported that the shopping centre operator, which owns Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Lakeside in Essex among many others, was planning the fundraising to accompany its full-year results at the end of February.
Molton Brown has seen a threefold uplift in conversions after introducing onsite social commerce technology. The bath and body fragrance brand also saw the average order value of customers who engaged with the site’s social commerce elements increase by 38 per cent.
Retail sales were down one per cent in the crucial Christmas trading period compared to the previous quarter- marking the steepest decline since March 2017, according to the latest data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). All sectors except household goods stores and fuel saw a decline in the quantity bought between the third and fourth quarters of 2019, driven mainly by a one per cent drop in sales at non-food stores.
Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group is preparing to close at least a dozen stores in the latest round of cost-cutting for the retail empire that owns Topshop, Topman and Dorothy Perkins. According to the Guardian, disappointing trade for the Christmas period has led the company to forge ahead with closing twelve sites including its store in Westfield Stratford shopping centre.
HMV has struck deals with landlords on five stores which had previously been under threat of closure, while the future of three further stores could face the axe by the end of January. The embattled music retailer announced that branches in Glasgow Braehead, Edinburgh Ocean Terminal, Reading, Sheffield Meadowhall and Grimsby will remain open after deals were struck with landlords.
The amount spent by UK households fell 1.2 per cent on an annual basis in December despite Cyber Monday and festive trade driving up e-commerce sales, according to data from Visa. According to Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index, compiled by IHS Markit, there was a softer fall in household expenditure in December ( down 1.2 per cent) than the 2 per cent drop seen in November.
Revenues at fashion retailer Quiz fell 9.3 per cent over the festive trading period despite strong Black Friday sales, driven by a 14.8 per cent slump in online sales.The fast fashion retailer, popular with Gen Z shoppers, said the “disappointing” results for the seven weeks to 4 January reflected falling sales across in-store and online channels.
Adobe has launched cloud service Adobe Experience Manager to help retailers improve digital customer experience management. The software giant said the new cloud-native solution combines content customisation options with software-as-a service style agility, with onboarding and access to the application in minutes.
Boohoo has boosted its full year guidance after it posted record trading figures for the final quarter of 2019.The e-commerce fashion platform reported group revenue across its brands including PrettyLittleThing and NastyGal of £473.7 million for the four months to 31 December, up 44 per cent, as online spending accelerated ahead of the festive period.
More than two thirds of consumers think mobile technology now delivers a better shopping experience, according to new research.
A global survey of 4,000 consumers by Arlington Research for enterprise mobility and IoT solutions provider SOTI Inc found that shoppers are increasingly open to using new and emerging technologies, with one on three (31 per cent) saying they would be happy to receive their goods via delivery drones.
65 per cent of Generation Z shoppers say contactless payment is a “must have” at the checkout, as a third of consumers under 35 predict that merchants will become 100 per cent cashless in the next five years. A survey of 350 retailers and 1,350 consumers by Hanover Research for Ingenico and FreedomPay found that more than half of shoppers have experienced a technical issue at checkout at some point, demonstrating a disconnect between merchants’ efforts and the shopper’s actual experience.
The owner of Beales department stores has warned that the chain could collapse into administration, putting 1,000 jobs at risk. According to the BBC, Beales, which has been trading since 1881, has said that the future of 22 stores would hang in the balance should the company fail to find a buyer within the coming days.
Microsoft has formed a global strategic partnership with customer data science firm dunnhumby, in an attempt to transform the $5.9 trillion retail sector.As part of the partnership, dunnhumby will move its customer insights products to Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure, giving retailers and suppliers instant and secure access to its customer data science tools.
Revenues at Superdry dropped by 15.8 per cent over the Christmas trading period, with the struggling fashion retailer blaming shortages of better selling products. A trading update for the 19 week period from 27 October 2019 to 4 January 2020 showed that store revenue e-commerce also fell by 9.3 per cent, while wholesale revenue was down 16.9 per cent.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has imposed a £500,000 fine on DSG Retail, after till systems at Currys PC World and Dixons Travel were hacked, leaving the data of 14 million customers exposed to attack. A hacker installed malware affecting the point of sale computer systems of 5,390 tills stores in an attack lasting from July 2017 to April 2018.
IKEA has bought Hammersmith’s Kings Mall in west London for £170 million as part of a strategy to move closer to city centres. The shopping centre opened in 1980 and has 40 stores, including H&M, Primark, Sainsbury’s and Wilko. The move marks the Swedish furniture chain’s first shopping centre purchase, following the October statement that it had strengthened its property team in the UK to capitalise on the decreased valuations of shopping centres due to retail store closures.
GAME has today confirmed that it intends to close 40 stores throughout the UK. To date, 13 sites have had notice served, including existing stores in Mansfield, Canterbury, Watford, Glasgow Fort and Leicester.
Consumer spending grew by one per cent in December compared to the same month last year, according to Barclaycard. Using its access to nearly half of credit and debit card transactions made in the UK, the company said a rise in consumer confidence in the last month of 2019 had failed to boost festive spending on the High Street.
John Lewis Partnership’s managing director of 25 years, Paula Nickolds, is set to step down as the department store reported like-for-like sales down 2.3 per cent to £1.13 billion during the seven weeks to 4 January. She is due to leave in February as part of the retailer’s ongoing management reshuffle.
Alibaba has cut European sellers’ fees by nearly half as part of a move to overcome Amazon’s dominance in the West. The Chinese e-commerce giant, which has around 1 billion users in Asia, is making concerted efforts to attract new merchants to its international platform AliExpress.
Total sales for 2019 decreased by 0.1 per cent, compared with 1.2 per cent growth in 2018; making last year the worst on record. This is according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s latest market analysis, which revealed that during the five weeks from 24 November to 28 December, sales increased by 1.9 per cent on a total basis, against a flat December 2018.
Shoezone has reported a fall in underlying profit before tax from £9.6 million to £1.7 million for the 12 months to 5 October, although the online side of the business fared well during the year. Preliminary annual results showed group revenue up by 0.9 per cent to £162 million, while digital revenue rose by 13 per cent in the second half 0f 2019, on top of 5.2 per cent growth in the first half; or 9.2 per cent for the full year.
The UK’s big four grocers have suffered a slump in sales over the festive period, as discount retailers Lidl and Aldi drove up competition in the sector. Like-for-like sales at Sainsbury’s dropped 0.7 per cent in the 15 weeks to 4 January, driven by a slowdown in sales of gaming and toys in the division including Argos, which was bought by Sainsbury’s in 2018. Grocery sales were up by 0.4 per cent.
Asda has begun the new year with several new appointments to its executive board, including a new chief operating officer and chief customer officer. In a message to staff, chief executive Roger Burnley announced that Anna-Maree Shaw will become chief customer officer at the end of January, replacing Andy Murray, who is repatriating to the US after four years with the supermarket chain.
M&S has deployed an artificial intelligence-based platform to unify employee communication channels and simplify in-store operations for 80,000 colleagues working across 700 stores.The High Street retailer’s collaboration with supply chain management platform JDA has deployed Microsoft Team technology to help stores co-ordinate staff and ensure they are working the right shift at the right time.
M&G Investments has sold the Ravenside retail park in Edmonton, North London to industrial property developer Prologis for £51.4 million, in a move indicative of the shift towards e-commerce. The deal, finalised shortly before Christmas, will turn the shopping centre into a logistics and warehousing park, as Prologis head of UK capital deployment Robin Woodbridge explained.
L’Oreal has launched a new system which analyses the user’s skin and environment to create personalised skincare products. Revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week, Perso has been developed by L’Oreal’s technology incubator, using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse the results of a face scan made using the app.
HMV has confirmed plans to close three stores by the end of January in the latest sign of turbulence on the High Street. The music retailer said that stores in Bury St Edmunds, Nuneaton and the Fopp in Glasgow Byres Road would be closing at the end of January as new tenants move into the properties.
The UK has reached mass adoption level of smart speaker devices, according to new research showing that 22 per cent of homes now have a voice activated device, up from nine per cent in 2017. Consumer consultancy firm Quadrangle found that adoption of devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home has been driven by the younger Millennial and Generation-Z age groups.
Home improvement retail group Kingfisher has appointed Jean-Jacques (JJ) Van Oosten as chief customer and digital officer. He joins from the LEGO Group, where he was chief digital officer, leading the toy manafacturer’s e-commerce push.
Forever 21 is relaunching its international online store to drive growth from consumers in Canada, Asia and Latin America, as part of a shift in focus away from physical retail ahead of upcoming store closures. The US fashion retailer is working with Global-e to accelerate this global online expansion, which includes an improved localised e-commerce experience for international shoppers.
Mountain Warehouse has reported record Christmas trading, with sales up 16.2 per cent to £95.8 million in the 13 weeks to 29 December. Online sales were up 21.6 per cent during the period.
Debenhams has announced that 19 stores will close in January, as the embattled department store chain forges ahead with its rescue plans. The closures, which will begin on 11 January, will be spread across the company’s UK store network, and will put up to 660 jobs at risk.
Amazon has announced plans to increase fees for its Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) service, after investing more than $15 billion into it last year. Third party sellers - which now account for more than half of all sales made on its platform - that want to use Amazon’s largely automated warehousing, shipping and delivery services will pay an average of three per cent throughout 2020.
December shop prices fell by 0.4 per cent, a slight improvement on the 0.5 per cent decrease in November. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen statistics revealed that non-food prices fell by 1.5 per cent last month, compared to a 1.6 per cent decrease in November.
The UK’s retail sector should be “cautiously optimistic” about its prospects in 2020, according to the KPMG and Ipsos Retail Think Tank. The sector is predicted to grow by at least one per cent this year, after what the report described as “three and a half years of pain”.
Store virtualisation company Zynstra has been acquired by NCR, a global enterprise technology company, for approximately £100 million. This means that venture capital firm Octopus Ventures has exited its investment in Zynstra. It first invested in 2013, participating in the company’s seed round and all subsequent funding rounds.
Boxing Day footfall decreased by 11.8 per cent compared to 2018, according to ShopperTrak. However, while footfall was down year-on-year on Boxing Day itself, 27 December was the fifth busiest in-store shopping day of the entire Christmas trading period, according to Sensormatic Solutions.
With 2019 nearly over, we crunched the numbers and can bring you a round-up of the most popular stories of the year across Retail Systems.
Super Saturday footfall declined by 10.3 per cent compared to the last shopping Saturday before Christmas in 2018, according to ShopperTrak. However, overall UK footfall for the year sits 0.2 per cent up against the same period last year, according to insights from over 1.5 million collection devices in the retail marketplace and 40 billion shopper visits captured by ShopperTrak each year.
Another year gone, another yet to come. It’s time to assess what happened in 2019 and look ahead to what might happen in 2020. As is customary, we rounded up a range of industry experts to tell us what they’re expecting to happen in the retail sector.
Amazon has confirmed its next fulfilment centre will be in Darlington, creating more than 1,000 jobs. The e-commerce giant has now started recruiting for the jobs at the 1.6 million sq ft site at Symmetry Park in Darlington, with work starting on the location back in July 2018.
November retail sales fell by 0.6 per cent when compared with the previous month, with only household goods reporting growth. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures put year-on-year growth at one per cent – the lowest growth since April 2018, owing to a decline of 1.1 per cent in non-food stores.
Schuh has expanded its partnership with Klarna, with its Pay in 3 product will now be available in over 110 UK stores before Christmas. The integration is part of the footwear retailer's omnichannel strategy, with customers able to receive a mobile notification to start the in-store application of Pay in 3, followed by three steps of personal detail entry and a real-time decision made in just seconds.
British shoppers blame business rates and rents for poor in-store experience, according to new research. RetailEXPO commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, finding that 68 per cent thought the High Street wouldn’t be the same without shops on it, but half felt that the burden of business rates and rents was negatively impacting retailers’ ability to innovate and make their stores engaging.
WHSmith investors have backed a $400 million takeover bid for Marshall Retail Group (MRG). In October, the retailer revealed plans to acquire the US firm as a “compelling opportunity to accelerate the growth of WHSmith’s international travel business in the $3.2 billion US airport travel retail market”.
Farfetch has opened applications for the fourth iteration of its Dream Assembly startup accelerator programme. The seven-week programme, starting at the end of April and running until early June, will be based in Farfetch’s Lisbon office.
McDonald’s has entered into an agreement with Adyen to roll-out its payments platform globally, beginning with the UK early next year. The move is aimed at bringing simplicity and scalability through one integration so the food and beverage brand has a consistent customer experience everywhere it operates. In addition to making it easier to add new stores, markets, or regions, Adyen offers support for preferred payment methods, as well a single data view and customer insights.
Ocado has the potential to become the FTSE’s biggest tech company if the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) chooses to de-designate it as a retailer. In a note circulated to investors, analysts at Peel Hunt reiterated the value of Ocado’s technology solutions business, which opens up the company’s warehousing, software and automated solutions to third party clients, suggesting that further growth could drive net revenues of £3.5 billion per year.
The Book People has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as it files for administration. The children's book retailer had been struggling against difficult trading conditions and working capital pressures.
Almost three quarters of UK shoppers (72 per cent) think that retailers could do more to make their e-commerce websites more engaging, according to Tribe. The web performance and testing service provider surveyed more than 2,000 UK consumers, finding that 79 per cent felt retailers could do more to make their websites easier to shop.
Despite forecasts of poor turnouts and a number of retailer boycotts, November’s annual discount days set online sales soaring last month, with a growth rate of 16.4 per cent year-on-year. The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, revealed that this was not only the highest growth of the year to date, but was also over double the growth achieved last November (up eight per cent) - and up 54 per cent on October.
Footfall across UK retail destinations fell 0.9 per cent last week and five per cent year-on-year. The latest Springboard figures showed that shoppers held off visiting stores in person from 8 to 14 December, following a Black Friday that had “confounded expectations”.
Retailers must react quickly to customers’ radically evolving expectations and demands to remain relevant and successful, according to Fujitsu. The technology firm's new whitepaper argued that implementing successful digital transformation as a solution to challenges of this magnitude will determine which retailers survive and which competitors cease to remain relevant.
ASOS has extended its partnership with Klarna to offer customers in the UK the option to pay in three monthly instalments, interest and fee-free – adding to the option of Pay later in 30 days which was first introduced in 2017. The first payment is made at the point of purchase via either a debit or credit card, with the final two payments then automatically scheduled to align with customers monthly pay cycle at 30 and 60 days respectively.
The Hut Group has raised €1 billion to help fund ambitious expansion plans. According to Sky News, the health and beauty retail group has received significant investment from US asset manager BlackRock and Belgian investor Sofina.
Sports Direct has reported sales growth of 14 per cent to £2 billion over the six months to 27 October, while pre-tax profits rose 160 per cent to £193.4 million. The Mike Ashley-run retailer also gave updates on its ownership of House of Fraser and a tax enquiry launched by the Belgian authorities.
Klarna’s chief executive has not ruled out taking the company public, while also indicating more private investment is possible to fund US expansion plans. In August a $460 million funding round valued the payments company at $5.5 billion - making it the most highly valued privately held FinTech in Europe.
As buy now, pay later payment options continue to increase in popularity, new research has revealed that the majority of customers (83 per cent) would use point of sale (PoS) finance when purchasing from smaller retailers. Duologi surveyed 500 small and medium-sized enterpristes (SMEs) across a range of retail sectors, finding that 28 per cent are now asking buy now, pay later options when shopping with such retailers.
New Look has promoted Nigel Oddy to chief executive, effective from 1 January. He joined the fashion retailer in April as its chief operating officer, after previously being the chief executive of House of Fraser and The Range.
Ocado and Marks & Spencer’s joint venture has reported 10.8 per cent growth in retail revenue to £429 million for the 13 weeks to 1 December, broadly in line with previous guidance. There was also growth in average orders per week of 10.4 per cent to 350,000, with overall average order size staying stable during the period at just over £100. Sales did slow from 11.4 per cent growth in its first reported results in September.
Dixons Carphone has reported a 60 per cent fall in first half profits to £24 million, compared with £60 million during the same period last year. Over the 26 weeks to 26 October, like-for-like revenue in UK and Ireland fell by one per cent, although wider group revenue was up by three per cent by the same measure.
Zara owner Inditex has reported a 12 per cent rise in net profits, driven by greater emphasis on its online platforms.The Spanish retail giant - which also owns the Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear and Bershka brands - reported a rise in net profit to €2.7 billion over the nine months to October, as the group continued to roll out its integrated store and online model.
Brex has announced a $200 million debt capital raise to help continue the expansion of its e-commerce product. The capital comes in the form of a warehouse line of credit from Credit Suisse, backed by Brex’s corporate charge card receivables. This is the FinTech’s second warehouse line of credit – its first was a $100 million debt facility announced with Barclays Investment Bank in April.
The Co-op has announced it will be opening 30 new stores in the run-up to Christmas. The investment of more than £25 million will see stores open at transport hubs, key city locations and within residential apartments – creating up to 500 jobs.
Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo has raised “serious competition concerns” for UK customers that may require an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Earlier this year, Amazon announced a substantial investment in Deliveroo, which would give it a minority shareholding along with certain other rights, allowing it to participate in the management of the company.
For the third year in a row, Homebase came bottom in the Which? list of 100 online retailers, with shoppers bemoaning its poor customer service and stock availability. The consumer champion’s survey of over 7,604 customers found that at the other end of the scale, beauty retailer Liz Earle and tech businesses Richer Sounds and WexPhotoVideo were voted joint-best online retailers.
Majestic Wine has been sold to Fortress Investment Group. The retailer confirmed that it would keep all of its 190 stores open following the acquisition. Under the company’s previous ownership there were plans to cut the store estate by almost two thirds, closing as many as 140 stores and move mostly online.
Paul Price has resigned as chief executive of Topshop and Topman. A spokesman from parent company Arcadia Group confirmed: “After two years as Topshop Topman CEO, Paul Price has made the decision to re-locate back to the USA and will be leaving the business at the end of December 2019.”
Interflora has launched an Amazon Alexa skill allowing customers to order and pay for flowers using only their voice. In what it claims to be a first for the UK’s retail sector, customers can now ask Alexa to ‘open Interflora’, place an order, check out with Amazon Pay and send the flowers; all through one voice interaction.
Ted Baker has issued another profit warning and revealed the immediate departure of its chief executive and chairman. The fashion retailer said chief executive Lindsay Page – who took over from founder Ray Kelvin after a scandal saw him quit in March – has been replaced on an interim basis by recently-appointed chief financial officer Rachel Osborne.
Retail is the sector where UK businesses are most likely to feel exposed to a series of threats to business growth in 2020, according to new research. ThoughtWorks commissioned Maru Blue to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,026 adults in September, finding that 87 per cent of retail business leaders are not prepared for the perceived threats to business continuity that may arise as a result of Brexit.
Nets has launched a pilot programme testing facial recognition as a payment method. Around 1,000 people - all working at Vibenshuset, an office community of 25 companies in Copenhagen - can now sign up to participate in the pilot. By linking their face with their employee ID card, they can now pay for their lunch using their face at the cafeteria.
Jessops has called in the administrators, putting 500 roles at risk of redundancy. Dragons’ Den panellist Peter Jones bought Jessops out of administration in 2013, with rumours of a second administration starting in October.
November’s footfall figures fell 3.4 per cent, down from last year’s 3.2 per cent decline, exacerbated by not including the results from Black Friday, which fell outside of the monthly trading period. Springboard’s monthly results found that heavy rain impacted footfall in the second half of the month.
A major shift is underway in terms of what influences where people choose to shop, with two seemingly conflicting trends of value shopping and ethical consumerism both gaining popularity. This is according to the latest OC&C UK Retail Proposition Index, where 50,000 consumers globally are asked to rate the retailers they have shopped with.
Sweaty Betty has warned customers that their personal data - including credit card details - may have been compromised after it fell victim to a cyber attack. The womens sportswear retailer emailed its customers yesterday informing them that a third party had gained unauthorised access to its platform.
JD Sports’ proposed £90 million acquisition of Footasylum has been halted by an ongoing investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). It issued an interim order against JD Sports proceeding any further with the takeover, with the latest ruling explaining that no action should be taken which might prejudice or impede the taking of any further action.
M&G Investments has temporarily suspended dealing in the shares of its £2.54 billion Property Portfolio and its feeder fund with immediate effect. The investment manager owns shopping centres such as Fremlin Walk in Maidstone, Kent, the Gracechurch Centre in Sutton Coldfield and the Bridgend Designer Outlet in Wales.
M&Co has increased overall online conversion rates by 1.5 per cent and has seen a 27 per cent increase in average order value (AOV) since implementing personalisation platform True Fit. The independent fashion retailer sought to engage with new consumer demographics, reduce high return rates and size sampling behaviour, and increase online conversion rates.
Clintons has been bought out of administration, saving 2,500 jobs and keeping 334 UK stores open. Will Wright and Steve Absolom from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed as joint administrators to the business on 4 December, before the greetings card retailer was immediately sold to Esquire Retail, a new firm set up by Clintons’ current owners, the Weiss family.
Harvey Nichols has appointed Marcel Borlin as its group IT director. He joins from being chief technology officer at Carpetright for the last three years, and prior to that group head of IT at the floorings retailer, spending almost five years at the business during a period of digital transition.
Boris Johnson has pledged to implement an 'Amazon tax' in the UK, forcing US tech giants to pay more tax on their digital sales, despite opposition from Donald Trump. The British prime minister announced yesterday that he would push ahead with a digital sales tax ahead of today’s Nato summit.
More than a third (39 per cent) of British Generation Z consumers shopping with legacy brands would opt to go into a store to speak to staff, versus using digital communication channels. The research, commissioned by Zendesk and carried out by YouGov among 2,061 consumers across the UK, showed that while the stereotype may be that over 55 year-olds would prefer to go into a store, the majority of those respondents chose email as their preferred form of communication with legacy brands (57 per cent).
Quiz has reported a £6.8 million loss and group revenue falling five per cent during the six months ended 30 September, as "continued challenging market conditions" hit the company. The interim results also revealed that revenue from UK stores and concessions decreased 11 per cent to £31.3 million, from £35.1 million during the first half of the year.
Finnish headless commerce company Digital Goodie has acquired Maginus, a UK-based company developing e-commerce software for mid-market retailers and distributors. Digital Goodie, founded in 2009, has a focus on the grocery industry with customers like Cooperative UK and S Group, one of the largest retail chains in the Nordic countries.
On a total basis, UK retail sales decreased by 4.4 per cent in November, against an increase of 0.5 per cent last year, although this was distorted by the later timing of Black Friday this year. When adjusted for Black Friday, the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures showed sales up by 0.9 per cent on a total basis from November 2018.
Klarna has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud provider. The payments FinTech stated that it chose AWS’s scalability and security to provide its teams with the ability to innovate at a faster pace, while maintaining regulatory compliance and protecting customer data.
Ocado is launching a £500 million bond issue to help fund the expansion of its robotic automated warehouses in other countries. The online grocer told potential investors that its unsecured convertible bonds, which are due in 2025, will pay out a coupon rate of between 0.75 per cent and 1.25 per cent every year.
Boots deployed 135 robots in its Burton warehouse over the course of cyber weekend. The 'cobots' – or collaborative robots – are still in action today, as the Black Friday deals continue into the first week of December.
Ted Baker has overestimated the value of its stock and appointed a law firm to carry out a comprehensive review. The fashion retailer, which has recently appointed a new finance director, estimated that the value of the inventory held on its balance sheet was overstated by £20 million to £25 million, based on preliminary analysis.
Black Friday has beaten last year’s records, and the weekend of pre-Christmas sales appears to be on course to break all previous records. Barclaycard reported that between 1pm and 2pm on Friday, it recorded 1,184 transactions per second; a Black Friday record.
Mobile point of sale (MPoS) transaction values will exceed $1.9 trillion by 2024, up from $850 billion in 2019, according to Juniper Research. Its analysis suggested that this growth will be driven by service adoption from new business users, including pop-up stores and street vendors, for whom the acceptance of card payments was previously inaccessible.
Intu Properties has brought in PwC to help advise on the restructuring of its balance sheet. Sky News reports that the shopping centre group has called for external expertise to help its in-house team in restructuring its balance sheet ahead of future fundraising.
Notonthehighstreet has launched a new iOS app feature which uses machine learning and image recognition to let customers shop directly from its Christmas catalogue. Rather than scanning in barcodes, QR codes or having to search for product numbers, users can hold their phone over an image in the catalogue, which then instantly finds the product and makes it available for purchase through the app.
Poundstretcher will migrate its 460-store supply chain to the cloud after signing a five-year software-as-a-service (SaaS) contract with Symphony RetailAI. The discount retailer has been running its warehouse operations for more than a decade using Symphony’s warehouse management and voice solutions, but with needed an upgrade to drive “aggressive growth plans”.
Despite the boom in online retail over the past years, shopping in physical stores is still key for consumers worldwide – but only if the purchasing experience integrates all sales channels, innovative technology and data-driven incentives. This is according to a Wirecard-commissioned global study of 4,500 consumers in eight countries, which found that while 70 per cent of UK shoppers preferred to purchase in-store over the past 12 months - compared to buying online and picking up in store (BOPIS) (42 per cent), on desktop sites (37 per cent) and mobile apps and sites (27 per cent); consistent cross-channel experiences are vital.
Peacocks has been selected by administrators as the preferred bidder for Bonmarché. A total of 30 underperforming and unsustainable stores could be earmarked for closure by 11 December, resulting in a multiple redundancies.
Data from FIS has shown that Black Friday sales in the UK are set to grow again this year, but retail returns following the big day could cost unprepared retailers millions. Analysis of Worldpay data showed that transactions online and in-store in the UK were up five and 12 per cent respectively year on year – a trend set to continue in 2019.
Oasis has partnered with video email marketing specialist Playable and artificial intelligence-based marketing platform Emarsys to drive innovation in its email channel. By using responsive video, overall revenue and engagement rates have risen dramatically for the High Street fashion retailer. In one campaign, emails that featured responsive video drove a 175 per cent increase in revenue over those in which video didn’t feature.
E-commerce attacks targeted directly at shoppers have increased by 15 per cent compared to last year, according to Kaspersky. This comes as Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit this weekend, with millions more shoppers making online transactions during the promotional period.
IKEA has reported a 10 per cent fall in full-year profits, despite online sales increasing 50 per cent, as it announced new investment plans. Holding company Ingka Group stated that operating profit fell to £1.7 billion in the year ending 31 August. Sales increased 5.3 per cent to £33.5 billion, while pre-tax profits increased by 19 per cent to £2.49 billion due to the rise in income from financial investments.
Shop prices fell by 0.5 per cent in November, compared to a 0.4 per cent decrease in October – marking the sixth consecutive month of falls. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures showed that non-food prices fell by 1.6 per cent in November, compared to October’s decrease of 1.5 per cent, while food inflation eased to 1.4 per cent in November from 1.6 per cent in October.
Hackett has achieved 97 per cent growth in international online revenue three months after partnering with Global-e. The British clothing brand implemented the cross-border e-commerce firm's solution to offer its international online consumers a localised experience.
Over a quarter of Brits would rather queue in store than make a purchase on their mobile during the imminent Black Friday sales, as it’s ‘too stressful’. This is according to a survey of 2,011 UK consumers carried out earlier this month by Censuswide on behalf of Judopay, which showed that 26 per cent find the in-store Black Friday experience more relaxing than buying the same thing on their mobile phone.
Sports Direct International is set to change its name to Frasers Group to reflect a “changing profile and consumer proposition” which is part of its “elevation” strategy. The rebranding is expected to take place after a shareholder meeting on 16 December.
Retailers that breach consumer laws on refunds and returns are paying Google to secure the most prominent slots in its shopping listings, according to a Which? investigation. Among the most serious breaches were firms charging 'restocking fees' of up to £300 for customers who wanted to return a purchase, demanding goods are returned in 'brand new' condition and insisting on customers bearing the cost of posting faulty items back to Hong Kong.
Dixons Carphone has launched a transactional mobile app for Currys PC World. With a "comprehensive set of additional features" promised over the course of the next year, the more basic platform comes in time for the crucial Black Friday and Christmas trading period.
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) has acquired Tiffany for €14.7 billion. The French luxury conglomerate will pay $135 per share, valuing the US jewellery retailer at 13 per cent above an initial $120 per share bid.
Clarks has appointed McKinsey & Co to conduct a review of its business. The British-based shoe retailer reported a loss after tax of £82.9 million in the full year to 2 February 2019, more than double the £31.3 million loss reported the previous year.
Global spending on digital commerce will reach $18.7 trillion by 2024, up from $11.2 trillion in 2019 - an increase of 66 per cent over the five-year period. The report from Juniper Research found the largest single digital commerce sector is the remote purchase of physical goods, which will have driven just under 27 per cent of all digital commerce spend by the end of 2019.
The Labour Party has proposed a review into business rates which would levy an extra tax on property landlords to help back the UK's ailing High Streets. In its pre-election manifesto, the opposition stated that the existing system was “causing real issues for high street retailers”, suggesting instead a “land value tax” on commercial landlords, alongside a new “retail sector industrial strategy”.
The Entertainer has launched a new and improved website for The Early Learning Centre, developed by LiveArea. The Early Learning Centre was acquired by the toy retailer in February this year, with work initiated to streamline customer experience.
Holland & Barrett has adopted Paragon’s routing and scheduling software as part of its ongoing transformation. The software solution will let the health and wellness retailer restructure its store replenishment operation which supplies over 900 locations across the UK from its warehousing and international distribution centre in Burton-on-Trent.
Naked Wines chief executive Rowan Gormley is poised to step down from the business he founded, with current chief operating officer Nick Devlin taking up the post in the new year. Gormley founded Naked Wines in 2008 and continued to lead the retailer when it merged with Majestic Wine in 2015.
UK manufacturers stand to gain £13 billion over the next five years by using new technologies to sell direct to consumers (DTC), according to a report from Barclays. An Opinium survey of 500 managers at UK manufacturers found that 72 per cent believe retailing goods DTC and cutting out the middlemen is good for both consumers and manufacturers.
Alibaba has revealed plan to raise up to HK$100 billion (around £10 billion) through a stock exchange listing in Hong Kong. China’s biggest publicly listed company is selling 500 million shares, with an extra 75 million available if there is substantial demand. This means the e-commerce group should raise between HK£88 billion and HK$101 billion, before underwriting fees and other expenses.
The number of UK businesses selling via social media sites and apps is predicted to double in the next six months, according to PayPal. Its latest annual Commerce Index suggested that British shoppers will be able to shop on the social media channels of a further 600,000 UK businesses, as the popularity of mobile shopping expands to new sites and apps – in addition to the 24 per cent of British businesses already selling via these platforms and 22 per cent which plan to sell via social in future.
Generation Z consumers, who are leading the rise in online shopping, are the most likely to be concerned about payments fraud and want to see action from banks to tackle it, according to new research. A survey of 1,096 consumers from Gen Z (those aged 4 to 24) by IDEX Biometrics ASA and Arlington Research, found that 79 per cent thought banks should do more to protect their customers from fraud, while more than half (52 per cent) were worried about someone stealing their identity.
New research has revealed that 85 per cent of grocery retailers globally lack the capabilities, technology, people and processes to use insights to monetise their data and drive customer experience. This is according to a dunnhumby study conducted by Forrester Consulting, comprising a survey of 613 global respondents and 13 interviews with decision-makers involved in the strategy and management of data analytics and/or customer strategies at grocery firms globally.
Online sales grew by 6.2 per cent year-on-year in October, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, although it was the lowest growth for online sales ever recorded for the month. Though still behind the five-year average of 10 per cent, October’s results beat the three, six and 12-month rolling averages – respectively five per cent, 4.5 per cent and 5.1 per cent. Growth for the overall year is currently tracking at less than half that of the previous 12 months – five per cent versus 12 per cent.
Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of shoppers will avoid hitting the High Street in their search for Black Friday bargains this year, according to new research. A study of 4,005 adult consumers by Vitreous World for Genesys, an omnichannel retail solutions provider, found that the annual day of discounting and pre-Christmas sales - which this year falls on 29 November - is set to be quiet for struggling shops, as shoppers dodge the crowds and cold to make their purchases.
Europe’s payments industry saw a rise of 32.3 per cent in overall deal activity during the third quarter, when compared to the four-quarter average, according GlobalData. The market analysis firm’s database showed a total of 41 deals worth $5.93 billion were announced for the region during the third quarter this year, against the last four-quarter average of 31 deals.
Space NK London Apothecary has partnered with payments platform Adyen to help enhance its e-commerce offering as it expands internationally. The British beauty retailer made a strategic decision to change its payment provider to enhance customer experience and launch faster into new regions. Using Adyen’s singular platform, Space NK will have visibility of transactions across regions to better understand trends and optimise the approach in each market.
Retailers with 10 or more stores have already closed 5,834 shops this year, up 77 per cent on the whole of last year, according to the Centre for Retail Research. Between 1 January and 30 September, 708 shops have been closed by large retailers falling into administration, while a further 333 shops were closed through Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs) and 4,793 shops were shut by large retailers as part of cost-cutting programmes.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are forecast to add £62.5 billion to the UK economy - a 2.4 per cent boost to GDP - by 2030, according to PwC. The use of VR and AR in the retail and consumer sector will provide a £183.9 billion boost to global GDP by 2030.
The Conservative Party will overhaul the business rates system and provide tax relief for half a million businesses if they win next month’s election. In a speech at today's Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to say that his government would cut business rates by launching a review in its first budget.
John Lewis and Waitrose are launching a customer-centric concept store in Southampton, as part of a trial that could be rolled out nationally. Located within the John Lewis Partnership’s existing Southampton store, the trial will put 'experience playgrounds' on every floor - including 'stay and play' gadget areas, a new farm shop and roof garden from the partnership’s Leckford Estate, a Waitrose Cookery School, beauty and fashion gift experiences, and specialist gardening talks.
A British startup which has developed technology designed to transport online customer orders through a network of pipes, has opened a new phase of funding, aiming to raise over £750,000 via Crowdcube. Magway claims that its underground pipe network will significantly reduce air pollution, accidents and congestion caused by the millions of vans and articulated lorries on the roads annually, as they deliver billions of parcels of goods to consumers purchased online.
Shoppers are becoming increasingly comfortable using self-checkout technology, with 40 per cent having used it in the last six months and 60 per cent saying it improved their customer experience. An annual report on consumer shopping behaviour by retail technology firm Zebra found that 86 per cent of shoppers stated ‘comfort’ with self-checkouts.
Facebook is set to launch a new payments feature this week, allowing users to send and receive payments on its social media platforms, including Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. The announcement follows months of speculation over the progress of Facebook’s closely guarded plans for an in-app payments feature, as well as the controversial announcement of plans to launch the Libra digital currency and the Calibra digital currency wallet, which are separate to Facebook Pay and are currently scheduled for launch in 2020.
The Black Friday period will see sales growth of two to three per cent, according to IMRG, although there is “a very real possibility” that it could be flat. Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, explained that at the start of the year, the industry group predicted that the online retail market would grow by nine per cent in 2019.
Alipay has announced a new target to support 10 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe over the next five years, through technology that will empower these merchants to better serve and sell to over two billion potential consumers travelling to the region from around the world. Unveiled during the Alipay Partners Global Summit in London, the plans include an expanded collaboration with European acquirer Worldline, as well as a new initiative to serve airport shops around the world through in-app mini programs.
Online sales accounted for 19.2 per cent of all retailing in October, with consumers now spending more online than ever before, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).The data showed that online shopping as a proportion of all retail sales was up 0.2 per cent compared to September, with the proportion of online spending increasing threefold between 2008 (4.9 per cent) and 2018 (17.9 per cent).
Research conducted by Mood Media and INTERSPORT has suggested that sensory experiences increase in-store sales by 10 per cent. The sports retailer conducted a controlled experiment in its Amsterdam store, splitting it into two phases – one was an ‘all senses’ area including music, the scent of fresh-cut grass and animated digital signage, while the other lacked all sensory elements.
SWIFT and Token.io both celebrated double wins at last night’s Payments Awards. Now in its seventh year, the payment sector’s biggest event of the year was celebrated with a glitzy gala dinner at the Marriott in London’s Grosvenor Square.
Payment security compliance has declined for the second year in a row, with organisations based in the Americas particularly lagging behind worldwide counterparts, according to Verizon. Its 2019 Payment Security Report noted that when Visa initially launched the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) in 2004, many assumed that companies would achieve effective and sustainable compliance within five years.
Since it started using social proof messaging from Taggstar on its UK website in July, Oasis has seen a conversion rate uplift of 4.57 per cent. The real-time messages use data from the behaviour of previous shoppers to show customers if a product is trending or is selling fast. By giving shoppers extra information to evaluate and shortlist their fashion choices, they are helped to make the right product choice.
Quiz has partnered with fashion personalisation platform True Fit to upgrade its e-commerce website. True Fit’s True Confidence solution will use data collected from the British fast fashion retailer and millions of anonymous shoppers to provide personalised fit ratings and size recommendations based on each consumer’s unique body shape and preferences. This helps customers to choose products they love in the right size for them; reducing the friction and returns.
Molton Brown is bringing social commerce onto its website after striking a deal with Curalate to drive discovery-led shopping experiences. The luxury cosmetics brand has appointed the marketing technology specialist to integrate customer images from Instagram and make them ‘shoppable’. Molton Brown will tag featured products within each picture, enabling customers to directly purchase the items.
Thousands of British companies are missing out on Single's Day, the shopping event that took place yesterday in China and saw gross merchandise volume (GMV) of $38.4 billion generated by Alibaba alone - an increase of 26 per cent compared to 2018. New research from JGOO revealed that of those Chinese citizens currently buying British goods online, 85 per cent intended to purchase more, with 15 per cent intending to increase their expenditure by over 10 per cent.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched its manifesto for the coming election, calling on the next government to support the industry as it navigates a transformation driven by new technology and changing consumer behaviour.
In the first minute and eight seconds of this year’s Single’s Day shopping promotion, gross merchandise volume (GMV) settled through Alipay reached $1 billion – then in the first hour it hit $12 billion. The 11.11 shopping festival - also known as Single’s Day - has become the biggest shopping event in the world, having started in 2009 with participation from 27 Alibaba merchants, to raise awareness of online shopping.
One in eight UK shoppers are doing their grocery shop online at least once a week, according to the latest food and drink report from Waitrose. The report is based on consumer research with 2,000 people of all ages, including non-Waitrose shoppers, and supported by focus groups. The findings were then combined with Waitrose sales data from the last 12 months.
Mamas & Papas has filed for administration, with six stores set to close and 73 staff being made redundant. Unprofitable sites in Aberdeen, Fareham, Leamington, Lincoln, Milton Keynes and Preston are the first to go, while the mother and baby retailer’s online business and remaining stores will continue to trade as normal.
UK retail footfall declined 3.2 per cent year-on-year in October – steeper than September and both the three-month and 12-month averages. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures revealed that on the High Street, footfall saw a far steeper rate of decline than September, at 4.9 per cent.
Facebook has launched a catalogue feature for WhatsApp, as it looks to establish the messaging app’s e-commerce tools. In March, the social media giant added a shopping feature to its Instagram platform that allowed users to click a checkout option on items tagged for sale, enabling them to pay for it within the app.
Superdry has reported an 11.3 per cent decline revenue for the first half of 2019, as the fashion chain continues the turnaround plan launched by founder and chief executive Julian Dunkerton.The embattled retailer reported revenues of £367.8 million in the six months to 26 October, with e-commerce sales of £57.9 million down 10.5 per cent, from £64.7 million in the same period last year.
Over half (51 per cent) of UK retail chief information (CIO) and chief technology officers (CTOs) are investing in up-to-date pricing and quicker payment options in-store, in a bid to improve their physical infrastructures to match the online shopping experience. This is according to a survey by REPL Group of 50 c-suite executives, which revealed that retailers are also prioritising a frictionless High Street shopping experience by providing real-time stock availability (49 per cent) and offering delivery from store (46 per cent) as they look to maximise the benefits offered by bricks and mortar stores.
Sainsbury’s said that a £229 million bill for one-off store closures has all but wiped out profits for the first half of this year, as the grocer drives ahead with its transformation plans. The supermarket group reported that pre-tax profits for the 28 weeks to 21 September 2019 had dropped to £9 million from £107 million in the same period last year.
Shop Direct has struck an employability partnership with the University of Liverpool.The partnership will see the Liverpool-based retailer and financial services provider develop a joint programme of activity with the university across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other business-related subjects, such as marketing and finance.
Brits are keen to use biometric verification for things like online shopping and app-based banking, according to new research from Equifax. Almost three quarters (71 per cent) would be happy to completely replace traditional security methods to access their mobile phones in favour of fingerprint ID, facial recognition or eye retina patterns.
The retail and wholesale industry now prioritises cyber security over all other technology investments, according to Softcat. The business technology solutions provider surveyed over 1,600 of its customers across 18 different industries to reveal the biggest technology priorities for 2020.
Arcadia has expanded its digital team with three senior appointments, as part of its digital growth strategy. Rafaele Petruzzo has been hired in the newly created role of group chief digital officer. Previously he was chief transformation officer at Nets Group, chief digital and technology officer at Homeserve and group payments strategy director at Tesco and chief digital officer at Barclays.
Pre-tax profits at Marks & Spencer have plunged 17.1 per cent in the first half of the year, as the High Street stalwart continues to battle declining sales in its clothing and home divisions. The retailer reported that a ‘challenging’ first half had seen clothing and home revenue down 7.8 per cent, with like-for-like revenue down 5.5 per cent, beside a 17.1 per cent - or £176.5 million - overall drop in profit before tax on sales of £4.9 billion.
Slow loading webpages lose shoppers in just 10 seconds, with nearly half (47 per cent) not being prepared to wait for more than that amount of time before giving up on a purchase, according to a new report. Web testing service Tribe surveyed 2,000 UK consumers, finding that 73 per cent would abandon a purchase if they couldn’t quickly find what they were looking for online, while just under a third (31 per cent) would not tolerate a wait of more than five seconds for a webpage to load.
Payments and fraud-prevention provider Riskified has made $165 million in a Series E funding round led by General Atlantic, at a valuation of more than $1 billion. The proceeds will be primarily used to more rapidly scale its business domestically and internationally, and to expand its product footprint.
The numbers of customers buying items on Amazon six times or more per month has halved from 80 per cent in 2017 to 40 per cent this year, according to First Insight. The retail analytics firm suggested that people in the US are increasingly shifting to Amazon’s biggest rival, with 55 per cent of respondents to its survey stating they preferred Walmart, up from 47 per cent last year – while the percentage of people who prefer Amazon to Walmart dropped from 53 per cent to 45 per cent.
Ralph Lauren has partnered with Evrythng and Avery Dennison to integrate digital labels throughout its supply chain in order to tackle widespread counterfeiting of its brand. Digital product IDs will be installed in the labels of tens of millions of Ralph Lauren products, starting with its flagship Polo brand.
Total retail sales increased by 0.6 per cent in October, against an increase of 1.3 per cent in October 2018 – the best performance since April this year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. However, over the three months to October, in-store sales of non-food items declined 3.6 per cent on a total and 3.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis. This is worse than the 12-month total average decline of three per cent, although the October decline was the shallowest since July.
Lush has debuted its a new ‘digital packaging’ feature on the LushLabs App, as well as its Fairer Tablet payment prototype, at this year's Web Summit event. A statement from the beauty brand explained that technology has become an essential part of its daily practices. “However, technology and electronics in particular, are huge contributors to some of the world’s most serious environmental and human rights problems; from electronic waste and massive CO2 emissions to harsh working conditions and devastating sourcing practices.”
Nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of shoppers would be happy for their local store to be fully automated, as consumer attitudes to new technologies shift. A convenience trends survey of 2,000 18 to 45 year-olds across the UK, commissioned by customer experience agency I-AM, also found that environmentally conscious consumers are increasingly approving of green delivery methods such as bicycles or electric cars, with 74 per cent saying they would be happy to wait longer for goods if the delivery method was more sustainable.
Mothercare has announced that it intends to appoint administrators today, less than 18 months after it launched a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA). The notice submitted to court is for Mothercare’s businesses services subsidiary and its UK retail business, which has 79 stores. The two affected subsidiaries will trade as per usual, but the plan still places hundreds of jobs at risk.
River Island has become the latest fashion retailer to offer online customers a pay by instalments option, after it announced a partnership with Klarna. The High Street brand said the deal, enabled by technology from Adyen, will offer shoppers the option to cover the cost of purchases over three equal monthly instalments interest, and fee free, as part of Klarna’s Pay in 3.
Homebase has partnered with software provider Neptune DX to develop a range of digital apps for employees and customers.The agile development approach, drive by Neptune’s low-code platform, will enable the home and garden retailer to boost digital engagement and replace legacy software as part of its turnaround strategy.
Businesses in the UK are struggling to prepare their e-commerce platforms for Britain’s departure from the European Union, according to a new study. Greenlight Commerce surveyed 200 UK based e-commerce decision-makers from business-to-business (B2B) and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, finding that 78 per cent don’t believe their organisation’s e-commerce platform is fully prepared for Brexit.
The John Lewis Partnership is trialling new commercial opportunities and the acquisition of new customers by providing access to its Click and Collect distribution network to third party retailers. This will start with a trial in collaboration with Boden, with the potential to expand to more brands.
The Treasury Committee has published a unanimously-agreed report on the impact of Business Rates, demanding that the government must examine alternatives to the existing system. It pointed out that since Business Rates were introduced in their current form in 1990, the revenue they have generated has outpaced inflation, with MPs hearing consistently that rates do not fall upon all business equally, often placing a far greater cost on physical businesses, as opposed to those that rely more upon an online presence.
In contrast to the many multichannel retailers that are struggling, online marketplaces continue to thrive, with spend set to rise by £13 billion over the next five years, according to GlobalData. The analytics company’s latest report revealed that this substantial rise in online marketplace spend will increase the threat to retailers that are not currently selling on marketplaces. The range of products sold on these sites extends this risk to most retailers, and those that are better protected will be ones with their own marketplaces, such as ASOS and Next.
Full price sales at Next were up two per cent in the third quarter, with online growth of 9.7 per cent buffering the fashion retailer from challenging conditions on the High Street.The retailer’s continued focus on growing its online business - including its marketplace model featuring clothing from other brands - offset a 6.3 per cent fall in full price retail sales in the third quarter, pushing product full price sales up 1.6 per cent overall for the third quarter to 26 October.
Just one-in-five UK retailers have said that their primary goal is to provide brilliant service to customers, instead prioritising revenue generation (41 per cent) as High Street sales and footfall continue to decline. This is according to Fujitsu, which surveyed 2,000 UK consumers and 600 leaders of private and public sector organisations in the financial services, central government, manufacturing, retail, transport and utilities sectors.
Shop price deflation decelerated to 0.4 per cent in October from 0.6 per cent in September, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food deflation decelerated to 1.5 per cent in October from 1.7 per cent in September, while food inflation accelerated to 1.6 per cent in October from 1.1 per cent in September.
Marks & Spencer is launching its first pay by instalments option with Clearpay, as part of its £25 million technology transformation programme.The High Street stalwart announced that the partnership with Clearpay, part of the Afterpay Touch Group, will enable UK customers on M&S.com to spread the cost of purchases over £30 interest-free for six weeks. The option is set to go live in mid-November.
The Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), which owns Boots, has reported a 55 per cent plunge in net earnings for the fourth quarter, partly driven by cost-cutting and poor performance in UK stores. Fourth quarter net earnings fell to $677 million compared to the same period a year ago, with net earnings per share for the company falling 51.4 per cent to $0.75.
UK retailers have seen their stock levels rise to their highest on record in October, as businesses prepared for a 31 October Brexit, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Data from the CBI’s distributive trends survey said the pre-Brexit stockpiling, combined with the run up to Christmas and a backdrop of continuously declining sales had created the highest stock to expected sales ratio - known as stock adequacy - on record.
The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for UK e-commerce retailers has risen significantly in the last year, according to an analysis of deals by law firm RPC. The study identified 12 major deals involving e-retailers and online platforms in the past year, up from eight last year, as shareholders upped the pressure on board to drive growth from online sales.
Sosandar expects its half-year revenue to total £2.82 million, driven by investment in product and marketing. This figure, covering the six months to 30 September, is up 53 per cent on the same period last year, while October is tracking at an over 100 per cent increase on the same month in 2018.
Shop Direct could be up for sale, as losses widened and the retail group’s credit rating was placed under review. According to The Times, owners the Barclay family are analysing their business portfolio, with financial advisers set to be appointed to investigate selling parts of it.
Debenhams has announced that Mark Gifford, a former chief financial officer (CFO) at House of Fraser and current chairman at Radley Group, has been appointed director and chairman of its parent group Celine Jersey Topco. Gifford steps into the chairman position at a crucial time for the struggling department store chain as it forges ahead with a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) aimed at safeguarding the company’s financial future.
Amazon has seen its earnings plunge for the first time in more than two years, as investment in its one-day delivery service began to take its toll on results.The e-commerce giant yesterday reported an unexpected 25 per cent drop in net income for third quarter trading to $2.13 billion, down from $2.88 billion in the same period last year.
Fashion retailer Next and telecoms giant O2 are teaming up to launch an experimental store format in the coming months. The ‘Shop-in-Shop’ concept involves O2 pop-up stores springing up in four Next superstores across the country, with plans to extend to other stores in the coming months.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help the UK’s eight largest grocery retailers prevent £144 million of food waste a year. This is according to data scientists from Blue Yonder, a JDA company., who suggested that more intelligent decision-making could help the UK’s ‘Big Eight’ supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, the Co-Operative, Waitrose and Lidl - each reduce food wastage by on average seven tonnes per year.
Adidas this morning opened the doors of its new Oxford Street flagship store, which is aimed at combining digital innovation with unique shopper experiences and a focus on in-store experts. Over 100 digital touchpoints - all powered by green energy - feature throughout the store, each with a focus on improving consumer experience or inspiring creativity from visitors.
The UK’s retail sector is set to shed more than 500,000 roles in the next five years as boards turn to automation and new technologies to make efficiencies. The annual Harvey Nash and KPMG survey of 3,645 chief information officers (CIOs) found that one in five jobs are likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) and automation by 2024.
Retailers are spending an estimated £98,329 more than necessary to IT resellers due to inflated margins, according to Probrand analysis. The technology services provider looked into more than £12 million worth of tech spending across 20 sectors over a two-year period, highlighting the mark-ups organisations are paying to suppliers.
Store-based profit margins at UK retailers have plunged by more than half in eight years, pushing swathes of the UK retail sector to ‘breaking point’, according to a new report. The study by professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) and Retail Economics found that profit margins on in-store activities for 150 of the UK’s biggest High Street retailers have dropped from 8.8 per cent in 2009/10 to 4.1 per cent in 2017/18.
Nike’s long-time chief executive Mark Parker is stepping down early next year, as the sportswear giant shifts strategy to digital and direct-to-consumer. On 13 January, he will be replaced by board member John Donahoe, who is also a former PayPal executive and a former chief executive of eBay.
Following a summer of slow growth, the new school year and change of season has failed to inject the boost that retailers needed in September, with online sales rising just 0.6 per cent year-on-year. This is according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers. In fact, despite the extended period of challenging results, September’s figures - excluding travel, removed from the benchmark temporarily due to the Thomas Cook collapse - failed to match the already low six and 12-month rolling averages (respectively up 2.3 per cent and 5.3 per cent) and fell well below the five-year average (up 10 per cent).
Lakeland has deployed Zebra Technologies’ Android touch computers in its 67 stores to help increase productivity and customer service. The home cooking and cleaning retailer decided to continue with its Android strategy, which meant replacing legacy tablets used in-store for inventory and product information.
Commercetools has announced a €130 million investment from Insight Partners to support the company’s plans for further growth in the US, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Since the launch of its Application Programming Interface (API) commerce platform in 2013, the German startup has aimed to disrupt the commerce software market. Its cloud-based platform helps brands break away from legacy e-commerce software.
Womenswear fashion chain Bonmarché has fallen into administration, with the future of nearly 2,900 jobs hanging in the balance. The High Street clothing store, which targets the over 50s market, announced on Friday that it would continue to trade normally while administrators seek a buyer.
Fraud is evolving rapidly beyond the point of the transaction to accounts such as loyalty programs and abuse of return policies, according to new research. Forter, an e-commerce fraud prevention specialist, has released the findings of its seventh Fraud Attack Index, finding that loyalty fraud increased by 89 per cent year-on-year, while the total dollar amount in online fraud increased by 12 per cent from last year.
Customers are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by their inboxes - something they attribute directly to retailers sending too many marketing messages. This is according to Ometria's third annual ‘consumer census’ which surveyed 4,003 consumers across the UK and US.
Mastercard has entered into an agreement with WHSmith, Funky Pigeon, Cult Pens and The Card Gallery to offer its Pay by Bank app to online shoppers. The app is an easy and secure way for customers to pay from their current bank account, using their trusted mobile banking app.
In the three months to September, moderate retail sales growth continued at 0.6 per cent, when compared with the previous three months, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) release. The quantity bought was flat in September when compared with the previous month, following a fall of 0.3 per cent in August, while the year-on-year growth rate showed growth of 3.1 per cent – with growth across all sectors except department stores and household goods.
A new European-wide study has revealed the extent of disparity between retailers’ and online shoppers’ awareness of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). Riskified surveyed 2,000 consumers and 200 retailers - with respondents evenly split across the UK, Germany, France and Spain - finding that 88 per cent of retailers believed that consumers were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very aware’ of PSD2. However, 76 per cent of consumers reported that they haven’t even heard of it.
A 1.7 per cent rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will mean a £137 million for retailers who are already battling tough trading conditions on the UK High Street. Figures released yesterday showed that the inflation measure stood at 1.7 per cent - the weakest CPI figures since 2016 - as the UK economy absorbs Brexit-related uncertainty.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published an opinion on the deadline for the migration to Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), setting a deadline to 31 December 2020 and prescribing the expected actions to be taken during the migration period. This applies under the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) for e-commerce card-based payment transactions, recommending that national competent authorities (NCAs) take a consistent approach toward the SCA migration period across the EU, requiring their respective payment service providers (PSPs) to carry out the actions set out in the regulations.
The Department for Education and Nesta are set to launch a £5.75 million initiative aimed at developing tech innovations to help adults in England gain the skills they need for the automated and digitised workplaces of the future. The CareerTech Challenge is aimed at helping to fund and scale entrepreneurs and technologists to come up with solutions to the digital skills gap in industries such as retail and manufacturing, which are expected to experience automation in the coming years.
ASOS profits have nosedived by 68 per cent to £33.1 million from £102 million a year before, driven by “disruptive” issues with its global warehousing network in Germany and the US.The e-commerce giant’s annual report revealed that pre-tax profits had slipped, despite a 13 per cent increase in overall retail sales to £2.73 billion .
New research from Barclaycard has revealed that since offering Click and Collect, a third of retailers have seen in-store sales increase. With the UK Click and Collect market set to grow 45 per cent to be worth almost £10 billion by 2023, retailers are planning to capitalise on this demand, with 90 per cent intending to invest in the service over the next five years.
Poorly optimised websites and inferior online experience could cost UK retailers over £10 billion in lost revenues this year, according to new research. Tribe - formerly SciVisum - surveyed 2,000 UK consumers in September, finding that on average, UK shoppers abandon 10 per cent of their total online shopping spend due to poor website performance.
Retailers are not meeting customer expectations, and in many cases are missing the fundamentals, according to Oracle Retail. For instance, the two sides dramatically disagree on how easy it is to return purchases – while 57 per cent of retailers noted that returning products was ‘very easy’, the same share of consumers disagreed and rated the return process as a ‘complete hassle’.
The third edition of Salesforce’s Connected Shoppers Report has revealed that British and Irish shoppers are moving targets, jumping across physical and digital destinations as they browse, purchase and request service and support. The report is based on a new survey of over 10,000 global consumers, with insights from consumers across more than 20 countries, including 501 from the United Kingdom and Ireland, across four generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z.
There were 1.6 billion debit and credit card transactions made in the UK in July 2019 - 5.7 per cent more than a year ago. This reflected a total spend of £60.1 billion - 0.7 per cent less than in the same period in 2018.Data from UK Finance revealed that 35 per cent of credit card transactions and a landmark 50 per cent of debit card transactions in the UK were made using contactless cards during the month.
UK businesses are wasting £2.1 billion annually by failing to move to new generation models of customer contact management. Consultancy firm NeosWave analysed over 100 organisations with contact centre operations, looking into levels of cost wastage arising from outdated call centre structures and insufficient integration of automated capabilities with live enquiry handling – estimating that the retail sector specifically is wasting £329 million annually.
Retail footfall declined by 1.7 per cent in September, while numbers of visitors were down by over 10 per cent in the last seven years alone, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard. High Street footfall declined by 1.8 per cent, following from the decrease of 2.2 per cent in September last year. Retail park footfall increased by 0.1 per cent, the same as in September 2018, while shopping centre footfall fell 3.2 per cent, compared to a 2.5 per cent drop during the same month last year.
Global retailers are increasingly being targeted by cyber criminals, with new data revealing 4.8 billion malware incidents in the first half of 2019, with average breach going undetected for 228 days. Data collected from one million sensors in 215 countries and territories by cloud security platform SonicWall identified a 15 per cent increase in the number of ransomware attacks for the first six months of 2019, totalling 110.9 million incidents.
Notonthehighstreet has seen a drop in sales over the year to 31 March, but operating profits almost doubled, from £1.7 million to £3.1 million year-on-year. The curated online gift marketplace blamed the fall in sales on the business focusing on customers with greater long-term value, which resulted in revenue growth during the second half of the period.
Debenhams has secured a further £50 million from creditors to see it through the crucial Christmas trading period.The department store chain, which is currently forging ahead with a major restructuring as part of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) after collapsing into administration in April, said that the cash injection had been granted by existing lenders.
Esprit has selected Salesforce to enhance its digital strategy for retailers and consumers. The international fashion brand is bringing its e-commerce and marketing on a single platform to transform shopping journeys and deliver personalised experiences.
N Brown Group’s digital transformation strategy appears to have started to pay off, with statutory profits of £18.8 million for the six months to 31 August, compared to losses of £27.1 million for the same time a year ago. The fashion retail group - parent to Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams - saw pre-tax profits increase 3.9 per cent year-on-year to £31.8 million.
New data from Alipay has shown that the average Chinese tourist spent 15 per cent more during Golden Week 2019 - October 1 to 7 - than in 2018. Chinese shoppers each spent an average of £485 with Alipay alone when travelling in the UK during the Chinese national holiday.
M&Co has appointed Astound Commerce to grow its e-commerce business as part of a wider digital strategy. Since opening the first store 50 years ago, the family-owned Scottish retailer has 269 stores worldwide, with almost 3,900 employees across its UK estate, distribution centre, buying and head offices.
Payment providers and online merchants must not “kick the can down the road” in preparing for the implementation of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) head of payments and retail banking. Speaking at the PayExpo conference in London, Maha El Dimachki urged the industry not to misinterpret the decision to grant an 18 month extension to e-commerce and payments firms to comply with the SCA rules, and insisted they should be read to implement them in 523 days’ time.
Despite the hype around technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and the Internet of Things (IoT), consumers place greater value on retailers doing the basics well, according to a report from MuleSoft. The application network platform surveyed more than 9,000 consumers, finding that retailers still have difficulty delivering the connected shopping experiences that shoppers expect.
The British Standards Institution (BSI) has published a publicly available code of practice for digital identification and Strong Customer Authentication. The new specification - PAS 499:2019 - is for organisations with regulatory requirements under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and related regulations.
Whistles has increased its online sales by 10 per cent after introducing ship from store technology. The fashion brand partnered with OneStock to optimise its omnichannel order management system, with initiatives that let more orders be fulfilled regardless of the channel and delivery point.
MADE has hired Nicola Thompson as its chief operating officer (COO), effective as of 30 September. She joins after more than five years with online fashion retailer ASOS, where she most recently served as global customer development director, responsible for driving the development and execution of the online fashion brand’s commercial strategy globally.
Missguided has appointed a new digital public relations and search engine optimisation (SEO) agency, as part of an online growth push on either side of the Atlantic. It has appointed Rise at Seven, which will work with existing in-house digital, creative, social media and SEO teams to optimise the Missguided website in the UK and US.
Retail sales fell by 1.3 per cent on a total basis in September, against an increase of 0.7 per cent the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s latest figures. This was below the three-month average decline of 0.4 per cent and the 12-month average growth of 0.2 per cent – making it a new record low and the worst September since records began in 1995.
Sainsbury’s is teaming up with Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP) and Accenture to develop machine learning tools providing new insights into customer behaviours and the trends driving their eating habits.Google said it was helping the retailer’s commercial and technology teams to analyse data from multiple structured and unstructured sources.
Sports Direct is planning to shut down almost all House of Fraser stores once the Christmas trading period comes to an end. This is according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph, which suggested that Mike Ashley’s company is either not paying rent, or preparing to end the leases, on most of the remaining department stores it owns in the UK.
Shares in Ted Baker fell 35 per cent in trading yesterday (Thursday) after the fashion brand announced a £23 million pre-tax loss in its half year trading results.The drop in profits was attributed to poor weather and challenging trading conditions, compared to profits of £24.5 million last year.
Marks & Spencer has appointed its first ever head of data science, as part of digital transformation plans. Mehdi Hosseini has previously worked at Microsoft Research, Cambridge University and Sky in roles related to data science. He will report to M&S chief digital and data officer Jeremy Pee and head up a team of 20 data scientists who will be recruited in the near future.
John Lewis Partnership is seeking discounts from its landlords, with 20 per cent of this quarter's service charge being withheld in some cases. The BBC reported landlords stating the cost-cutting move has been made without any prior consultation, and could result in legal action by property owners to recover any unpaid money.
H&M has reported a 25 per cent jump in profits in the third quarter, as investment in its online operations began to bear fruit. The Swedish fashion brand reported pre-tax profits of £411 million in the three months to August, marking its first quarterly rise in pre-tax profit in two years.
E-commerce retailers are failing to track customer churn on their websites, despite the fact that an average of a third of customers are dropping off sites.A study of 500 retailers in the UK and US for digital experience firm Eggplant found that consumers are driving a rapid shift to a range of online shopping options, with digital product and app releases up by 20 per cent per year.
Amazon is planning to bring its Go store cashierless technology to the likes of airport and cinema retail. This is according to CNBC, which reported that the sensor, camera and checkout components would be shared in the US with OTG’s CIBO Express stores at airports, Cineworld’s Regal theatres, and even concession stands in baseball stadiums.
ASOS has announced it is refreshing its leadership board with the appointment of four independent non-executive directors, including Luke Jensen, the chief executive of Ocado’s technology division.The online fashion giant announced that Karen Geary, Mai Fyfield and Eugenia Ulasewicz would also be joining its board of directors, as it looks to beef up its leadership team and reassure investors following a series of surprise profit warnings.
In the rush to attract the right tech talent to help drive digital transformation plans, retailers must think about things other than just salary and benefits packages, according to a panel of experts. Speaking at the Tech. conference yesterday afternoon, Andy Wolfe, group digital director at Kingfisher, said that the current IT skills shortage in the UK was a hot topic with the best people “at a premium”.
Marks & Spencer is set to introduce 'buy now, pay later' to its online shopping as part of digital transformation plans to cope with a challenging climate for its clothing division. In an investor meeting on Tuesday, chief executive Steve Rowe set out a plan for “far-reaching change” as the High Street stalwart looks to turn around its fortunes with an upgraded range and online shopping options after half a decade of falling sales.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen September shop price index fell by 0.6 per cent, compared to a 0.4 per cent decrease in August – the highest rate of decline since May 2018. Non-food prices fell by 1.7 per cent in September, compared to August’s decrease of 1.5 per cent – also the highest rate of decline since May 2018. Food inflation eased to 1.1 per cent in September, from 1.6 per cent in August – the lowest inflation rate since April 2018.
Heads are rolling at the top of the UK’s supermarket chains, with Tesco’s chief executive announcing his resignation, following top bosses at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s Argos out the door. Tesco’s latest financial results revealed that Dave Lewis is to leave the business after five years, to be succeeded by Walgreens Boots Alliance chief commercial officer Ken Murphy.
JD Sports has insisted that its £90 million takeover of shoe retailer Footasylum would not negatively affect competition after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced its decision to launch a full review into the deal.The CMA announced on 19 September that an initial enquiry that the merger may be expected to “result in a substantial lessening of competition”.
The outlook for Europe's retail sector for the coming 12 to 18 months is negative, according to Moody's Investors Service. The credit ratings agency’s annual outlook report on the industry explained that the key drivers of the negative outlook are a combination of the rise of online and discount shopping, compounded by weaker economic growth throughout the region.
UK retailers risk falling behind global competitors, unless they act now to accelerate their use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, according to Microsoft UK. The study, conducted by YouGov, focused on more than 1,000 business leaders and 4,000 employees - 678 retail employees and 120 retail leaders - including interviews with industry experts from organisations including M&S.
Cyber security risk and artificial intelligence (AI) are amongst the top business concerns of compliance and procurement professionals, according to new research.A ComRes poll of 630 compliance and procurement professionals for data insights firm Dun & Bradstreet found that respondents were increasingly less confident of their ability to manage third party relationships.
Just under a third (32 per cent) of UK retailers are not prepared for the website traffic as online shopping surges during the peak October-December ‘golden’ quarter, according to new research. A survey of 1,325 UK marketing professionals carried out by Marketingsignals revealed that almost one in five (18 per cent) said that their plans for the period including peak online shopping events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and the Boxing Day sales, have still not been finalised.
Marks & Spencer has partnered with Ingenico Group to implement a new payment service across UK in-store and online. Ingenico’s payment platform will allow M&S customer to pay wherever and whenever they want using their preferred method and sales channel. It will also enable the retailer to better understand its customers and ultimately increase sales through this insight.
Miss Selfridge, the woman’s fashion chain owned by Philip Green, has posted a £17.5 million loss after sales growth was hit by turbulent conditions on the High Street. Accounts showed that sales were down by more than 15 per cent in the year to 1 September 2018 at £102.8 million.
Forever 21 will close up to 350 stores globally after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US. The fashion retailer, which has only a few stores in the UK, noted that it will continue to operate in Mexico and Latin America.
Retail landlord British Land has reportedly dropped its legal challenge to Monsoon’s Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). According to Sky News, the property company which owns five of Monsoon Accessorize’s shops, has agreed to withdraw its challenge to Monsoon’s restructuring plan.
IKEA has launched a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature on its visualisation app which offers customers personalised home furnishing recommendations.The upgrade to the Place app, which initially launched in 2017, allows customers to virtually place true-to-scale models of IKEA furniture in their own homes using augmented reality (AR) alongside recommendations for completing the room's design based on curation, context and behaviour.
Business confidence in retail and wholesale is the lowest of any sector in the UK, according to a new survey from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).The quarterly survey of businesses sentiment found that confidence amongst retailers and wholesale has fallen to 14.9, the lowest of any sector in the three months to September as store closures and falling sales continued to dominate the High Street.
ASOS has confirmed a new five year, multi-million pound delivery deal with DPD. The two companies have worked together for over a decade, with many of the delivery firm's services - such as Follow My Parcel, Precise and real-time delivery options - trialled first with the online fashion retailer.
The Co-op has launched an app which uses customer data to enable members to access a range of digital offers and services. The groceries retailer said the new Co-op App would give its 4.6 million members in its loyalty scheme the ability to download weekly personalised offers and track their member reward balance.
Sainsbury's is set to close down over 100 stores, while opening even more and relocating others as part of a new five-year plan. The supermarket chain's quarterly update also issued a warning that its underlying half-year profits will endure a £50 million hit, blamed on the impact of cost cutting, weather and higher marketing costs.
Online marketplaces could be worth as much as $7 trillion in sales by 2024, should organisations capitalise on the full potential of the marketplace trend. This is according to analysis from financial services advisory firm iBe, which noted that marketplaces currently contribute $1.7 trillion to the economy each year, with e-commerce accounting for as much as half of sales annually.
Audi has chosen the commercetools software platform to enable new digital in-car services, so drivers can buy and activate new functions via their myAudi app. The on-demand capabilities will be launched in Germany before being rolled out to other European markets over the coming months.
Revenue at Moss Bros has risen 1.4 per cent this year to £65.4 million, driven by a 20 per cent growth in online sales.The latest half year results for the menswear retailer revealed flat underlying profits, with a decline in the hire business weighing heavily.
The use of smartphones to buy online has risen by 141 per cent in the last year, as consumers continue the switch to digital channels. An analysis of the shopping habits of 2,000 UK consumers by online review platform Feefo found that more than half (53 per cent) of shoppers now prefer to use smartphones to browse and place orders over other digital channels such as laptops, desktops and tablets – up from 22 per cent who said they prefer mobile last year.
Retail customer marketing platform Ometria has raised $21 million in Series B funding. Octopus Ventures led the round, with existing investors Sonae IM, Summit Action, Samos and Adjuvo, as well as 10 early angel investors making further investments. Marieke Christmann from Octopus and Eduardo Piedade from Sonae will both join Ometria’s board.
After online sales slumped to their lowest ever July growth last month, retailers saw little reprieve in August with growth of just three per cent year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers. Though typical for sales to slow at the end of summer, August's result falls well below the five-year average of 9.6 per cent, as well as the three, six and 12-month rolling averages – respectively 5.3 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 5.7 per cent.
American Express has announced plans for an Open Banking service enabling UK customers to pay for online purchases directly from their bank account.Due to launch later this year, the Pay with Bank transfer service will partner with a number of merchants to launch the bank transfer service on their e-commerce sites.
The John Lewis Partnership is considering a restructuring of head office roles to cut costs and bring its two retail chains closer together. According to The Sunday Times, outgoing chairman Charlie Mayfield has drawn up plans to reduce duplication between John Lewis and Waitrose. The two retailers currently have separate finance, marketing, HR and procurement departments.
Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence side of Alibaba Group, and El Corte Inglés, the biggest department store group in Europe, are working together on artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud-driven retail solutions. Alibaba Cloud’s Image Search and Recommendation Engine will be piloted by El Corte Inglés to personalise the customer experience online. Customers will be able to search more accurately for items using an image, rather than by typing in a keyword into the search box.
Generation Z (16 to 24 year-olds) consumers in the UK are causing a generation divide when it comes to online payment preferences, according to Paysafe. The payments provider surveyed 6,197 consumers across six different age groups and a variety of professions from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria.
The High Court has rejected Debenhams’ legal challenge over its recent Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA). The department store was taken to court by Combined Property Control Group (CPC) - the landlord of six Debenhams stores in England - which argued that the CVA was “designed to create a situation in which the company’s general body of unsecured creditors is paid in full at the expense of certain landlords and local authorities”.
New research has suggested that 30.8 per cent of retail website and mobile app traffic actually comes from automated bots. Cyber security firm Imperva analysed 16.4 billion requests from 231 domains internationally, finding that some e-commerce sites see over 90 per cent of their traffic coming from bots.
In the three months to August, moderate retail sales growth continued at 0.6 per cent when compared with the previous quarter, with non-store retailing being the main contributor to the increase. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that year-on-year sales increased by 2.7 per cent last month, while internet sales increased by 11.6 per cent year-on-year.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns that the loss of competition brought about by the merger of JD Sports and Footasylum could result in a worse deal for customers, both in-store and online, through higher prices, worse choice in stores or reductions in service quality. JD Sports must now address the concerns identified or face a more in-depth Phase 2 investigation.
Threekit has launched into Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) with the opening of new offices in Paris and London. The visual customer experience company's EMEA push will be led by director Franck Devaux, who joins after having contributed to establishing Salesforce France.
The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest Payment Survey has revealed that credit card spending overtook cash spending in 2018, with debit cards remaining the most popular method of payment, accounting for almost three-in-five transactions. The use of cash payments has been falling steadily. Over the past five years cash use has dropped from over half of all transactions in 2013 to under 40 per cent in 2018. The value of those cash transactions fell from 28 per cent to 20 per cent during the same period.
Full price sales at Next were up 4.3 per cent in its half year results, driven by 12.6 per cent growth in online sales, to more than £1 billion. The High Street stalwart reported brand total sales up 3.8 per cent in the six months to 31 July, compared to the same period last year, with declining footfall making for a drop in store sales of 5.5 per cent to £874.3 million.
Spar is in the midst of a global technology push, testing and implementing everything from checkout-free stores to digital signage, employee gamification and sensors in refrigerators. Tom Rose, head of international operations for Spar International, laid out the strategy at yesterday’s Xcelerate Symphony Retail Forum in Paris, noting that last year there were a total of 13,112 stores across 48 countries.
Nearly a third of the UK’s senior retail IT decision-makers think they will be unable to invest in new technologies in the coming years due to budget restrictions and legacy IT systems. A Censuswide survey of 50 retail chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers (CTOs) for supply chain technology firm REPL found that 92 per cent had seen a marked increase in tech investment over the past five years.
Brexit is a “massive deal” for Irish supermarket chain Musgrave Group, with extra warehousing and stockpiling of goods just some of the many headaches being dealt with. Speaking at the Xcelerate Symphony Retail Forum today, the retailer’s head of commercial IT Ger O'Flynn described the UK’s impending exit from the EU as “this comedy soap opera we tune into every night”.
Despite fears of widespread disruption to online retail, the recent deadline for the rollout of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) has had no initial impact on sales, according to new data from Barclaycard. The card and payments provider’s analysis of transaction data for 14 September - the implementation date for SCA rules - and the following day showed that merchants and shoppers had not seen an increase in abandoned transactions or declined payments.
US payments provider Square has launched Square Terminal, an all-in-one device that makes credit and debit card processing accessible to more businesses across the UK. The device lets sellers manage their point of sale (PoS), accept every form of payment and print receipts directly. It also updates automatically so features can be added as seller needs evolve.
French retail giant Carrefour had laid out its vision to create a “unique omnichannel universe” using technology to be “more selective, more simple and more competitive” by 2022. This is according to the company’s director of replenishment transformation Franck Noel-Fontana, who explained the strategy at the Xcelerate Symphony Retail Forum in Paris.
The value of physical and digital goods sold by online retailers is set to exceed $6 trillion globally by 2024, according to new research. Data gathered by Juniper Research shows that by 2024, the total transaction value of remote payments for physical and digital goods will have risen 53 per cent by 2024, compared to figures for 2019.
More than half (55 per cent) of children aged six to 16 want to buy a product if their favourite YouTube or Instagram star is using or wearing it, according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce. The company's Generation Alpha report, based on a study of over 4,000 6-16-year olds in the UK and US, highlighted the growing importance of influencers in the lives of the next generation of shoppers, with a further 14 per cent saying they'd like for influencers to operate their own retail outlets in the future.
Aldi has signed a three year deal with AO World to get its Specialbuys range delivered by the online electricals retailer. Though much of the range is already available to purchase online - alongside a range of wines and spirits - the new partnership will allow Aldi to offer delivery for larger products across the UK, with extended delivery options during the weekend.
The government has announced the list of towns set to benefit from a £95 million boost aimed at preserving the heritage of UK High Streets. Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, named the 69 towns in England that will receive part of the cash injection as part of the biggest ever single investment by government in the UK’s built heritage.
Councils around the UK are set to spend £1 billion on buying shopping centres in an attempt to redevelop town centres hit by recent store closures. Research from shopping centre trade association Revo and property advisory firm Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) found that local authorities have spent a record £775 million buying shopping centres over the past three years, with a further £230 million planned for next year.
Waitrose has scrapped an automated customer fulfilment centre partnership with Today Development Partners (TDP) after just four months. The supermarket announced the collaboration in May with the company led by Ocado founder Jonathan Faiman. The deal was aimed at growing its online arm into a £1 billion business by upgrading its supply chain technology, three months the partnership with Ocado ended.
Results statements for three of the UK’s biggest retailers have demonstrated mixed fortunes on the High Street and concerns about the impact of Brexit on UK shoppers. Morrisons reported its first fall in quarterly underlying sales since 2016, with its interim report for the half-year period ending 4 August, down 1.9 per cent against tough comparisons of a 6.3 per cent increase for the same period last year.
Losses at Topshop and Topman deepened to £505 million in the year to September 2018 after the parent company of Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire reported a loss of £177.3 million. Topshop and Topman posted losses of more than half a billion pounds at the fashion brands compared to a loss of £3.9 million the previous year, with sales down nine per cent to £847 million.
New research has revealed that 40 per cent of luxury shoppers still prefer to start their journey in-store, but 39 per cent are now using mobile phones to shop and 29 per cent are using a retailer or brand’s app. This is according to a survey of 3,000 luxury shoppers - defined as respondents who had browsed or purchased what they perceived as a luxury item within the last three months - from the UK, France and United Arab Emirates (UAE), commissioned by e-commerce search provider Attraqt.
Mastercard has announced a new initiative to increase the nation’s access to cash, letting merchants earn a fee every time they dispense cash to a shopper paying with a Mastercard debit card from April 2020. Although cashback at shops has been a withdrawal option for bank account holders for some time, by providing retailers with this fee, Mastercard suggested that it will offer a new income stream to the High Street and provide further incentive for local shops to offer the service.
Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has appointed Pete Marsden as its new chief technology officer (CTO) to spearhead the group’s technology programme and focus on mobile, personalisation and artificial intelligence. Reporting into global chief operating officer Olivier Schaeffer, he will lead the group’s global technology team across London and Bologna.
Around 16 shops are closing every day as the UK High Street continues to battle the shift towards online shopping and the rising cost of physical store space, according to a new report from PwC. A net 1,234 shops disappeared from Britain’s top 500 High Streets in the first half of 2019, according to the professional services firm, taking the gap between store closures and openings to a record high as leading retailers resort to restructuring plans.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has announced that it is to explore opening up access to data in the UK’s new payments architecture. The UK’s economic regulator for payments has released the findings of a report on the use of data in the payments industry, finding that there are a “number of areas where the industry needs to manage key issues” in managing the large volumes of data that flow through payments systems every day.
JD Sports has reported a 47 per cent rise in half-year revenues as the retailer bucks the downward trend weighing on the UK High Street.
The sportswear retailer’s half year report for the 26 weeks to August 3 revealed a jump in revenues to £2.7 billion, up from £1.8 million last year. The rise was driven by a 10 per cent jump in like for sales in the group’s stores in the UK and Ireland.
H&M is partnering with payments giant Klarna to offer UK customers a pay later option as the clothing retailer looks to expand its range of frictionless and flexible checkout options.The Swedish FinTech has helped H&M to develop a pay later option for members of its loyalty programme.
Syte has raised $21.5 million in Series B funding led by Viola Ventures and joined by Storm Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Axess Ventures. All previous investors also participated in the round, bringing Syte’s total funding to $30 million to date. The artificial intelligence (AI) company’s technology powers visual search for some of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, including Farfetch, Marks & Spencer, Boohoo and Tommy Hilfger.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has appointed Francesco Tinto as its global chief information officer (CIO) and senior vice president. He will oversee the group’s IT operations and strategy across all of the company’s divisions, including Boots in the UK, taking responsibility for new technology and digital innovation.
Intu is reportedly exploring a buyout deal following a challenging trading period across its portfolio. According to The Sunday Times, private equity firm Orion Capital Managers is a frontrunner, with owner Aref Lahham understood to be in the early stages of seeking partners.
Footfall declined by 1.3 per cent in August, compared to a 1.6 per cent drop at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. On a three-month basis, footfall decreased by 2.1 per cent. High Street footfall declined by 1.9 per cent, following from the decrease of two per cent in August last year.
Sainsbury’s has announced that it is to reinstate manned tills and self-checkout desks after a trial of the till-free store model revealed that customers still wanted the option of paying by cash or card. The trial, the first of its kind by a major UK supermarket featuring SmartShop Scan and Pay&Go cardless technologies, was rolled out to nine convenience stores in London.
Marks & Spencer has hired the former boss of Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty scheme as part of its ‘digital-first’ strategy. Danielle Papagapiou, who spent 15 years at Tesco - leading Clubcard from February 2015 to November 2016 - left her most recent role as customer director at Vision Express in May.
ING has partnered with Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn and US FinTech startup AiFi to pilot a cashierless store concept. The trial store, in the city of Zaandam, is only 14 metres square, and uses a system similar to the Amazon Go stores in the US.
Boden’s chief executive is set to leave at the end of this year, after three years in the role. Jill Easterbrook, who previously headed Tesco’s clothing division, told the board she wanted to step down and build her portfolio of non-executive directorships at other companies.
Amazon is reportedly trialling the use of new technology which would enable shoppers to pay for goods with the swish of a hand. According to the New York Post, the e-commerce giant has been testing biometric scanners with employees at its New York office, with a view to rolling the technology out to its Whole Foods supermarkets chain.
Boohoo has raised its sales guidance for the year following strong growth in the first half of its financial year. The fast fashion retailer, which last month acquired the online operations of Karen Millen and Coast, said in a trading statement that it expects full year sales growth to come in between 33 and 38 per cent.
Younger consumers aged between 15 and 24, as well as older consumers aged 65 and over, plan to do the majority of their gift buying in shopping centres. This is according to an international study by Bazaarvoice, conducted among 2,500 respondents in the US, UK, France and Germany.
The Capgemini Research Institute has found that consumers increasingly prefer to interact with robots rather than humans, especially when it comes to researching products, learning about new services or following up on post-purchase customer service queries. It surveyed over 12,000 consumers who use voice/chat assistants and 1,000 business executives - from companies covering consumer products and retail, retail banking and insurance, and automotive - finding that nearly 70 per cent of consumers think they will progressively replace visits to a store or bank with their voice assistant within three years’ time.
Arcadia has confirmed that its interim chairman Jamie Drummond Smith resigned after creditors approved a series of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). Philip Green’s embattled retail empire passed a total of seven CVAs in June, aimed at shoring up the financial future of its stable of High Street brands, including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton.
Dunelm has reported a “strong year” of trading, with in-store sales up by 7.7 per cent year-on-year, while online sales grew by 35.1 per cent. Profit before tax was £125.9 million, up 23.4 per cent on last year’s figure, based on total sales of £1.1 billion during the year to 29 June.
Boots is piloting a scheme in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to deliver prescriptions in electric vehicles. The pharmacy group is adding five electric Renault Kangoo iVans to its fleet used to pick up prescriptions and deliver them to patients’ homes.
Spar has partnered with the Gander app and Henderson Technology to provide customers with live price updates on soon-to-be out of date items in over 270 of its convenience stores. Using Henderson’s EDGEPos system, Gander will post products nearing their sell-by-date as soon as they are stickered in store, updating the list as items are sold in real-time.
Consumer spending was up by 1.3 per cent in August compared to last year, according to the latest figures from Barclaycard. Data from the card and payments provider pointed to an uptick following a summer of muted growth. A breakdown of the figures showed that spending remained subdued across the board, with the exception of pubs and restaurants, as Brits made the most of the long summer days.
Halfords has partnered with 8x8 to upgrade its customer service technology. Until now, Halfords had multiple legacy communications and customer support systems in place across its customer support operations. These will now be replaced with a single unified communications and contact centre solution across all of the group’s customer service teams, including Boardman Bikes, Cycle Republic and Halfords Autocentres.
Boots is planning to transfer its IT help desk overseas, putting up to 60 jobs at risk in the UK. The pharmacy group explained that colleagues in the IT function have been informed of the intention to restructure parts of IT service desk.
Sales were flat in August on a total basis, against an increase of 1.3 per cent the previous year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. UK retail sales decreased by 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis from August 2018, when they had increased 0.2 per cent from the preceding year.
PUMA has opened its first-ever North American flagship store, filled with technological features. Located at 609 Fifth Avenue in New York City, it features sports engagement zones, a customisation studio and digitally-connected offerings across the 18,000 square foot, two-floor space.
Arcadia Group has denied that it is gearing up to sell off brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, as the company embarks on a plan aimed at shoring up its financial future. The Sunday Times reported that Philip Green’s retail empire had begun the process of separating functions such as IT and human resources so that they could be sold off as independent units in future.
Alibaba has partnered with Trustly to help the Chinese e-commerce site’s European customers make online banking payments via Ingenico. During its initial stage, Alibaba.com will launch Trustly’s bank payments in 16 European markets – Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.
Zalando is extending a trial of robots to process customer orders in its Lahr fulfilment center. After a successful trial of the automated TORU bots at its Erfurt logistics centre, the German e-commerce has extended the pilot with robotics company Magazino to relieve employees in the Lahr centre from particularly strenuous and un-ergonomic activities.
Payments firm Wirecard is partnering with WHSmith to expand its online digital payment acceptance capabilities and in-store point of sale (PoS) systems. The collaboration comes as WHSmith - the UK’s largest retailer of news, books, travel accessories and convenience - looks to implement a digital strategy through a growing e-commerce business, including Click and Collect and 'Buy Online Return in Store' (BORIS) options.
Alipay has partnered with Adyen to support payment methods for the AliExpress, Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com brands globally. The deal means that Adyen will support Alibaba, operator of the world’s largest retail commerce business, to facilitate payments outside of mainland China as the group looks to streamline existing payment management operations.
With one-time passwords being increasingly used to try and meet the forthcoming Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, card issuers have been clamouring for their customers to update their phone numbers. However, research from Harris Interactive found that 30 per cent of consumers do not know or do not believe that their card issuers have up-to-date phone numbers for them.
Enjoy, the e-commerce startup co-founded by former Apple VP of retail operations Ron Johnson, has raised $150 million to support its expansion in the UK.The US company, which has launched an on-demand mobile retail platform, stated the Series C round brought total investment since launch in May 2015 to more than $350 million.
A survey of UK retailers commissioned by PushON has revealed that 35 per cent have no business transformation strategy in place for the rise of digital technology and changing consumer habits. Furthermore, 20 per cent of them haven’t invested anything in developing the digital side of their business in the past year either.
UK retailers have chalked up another month of sales gains to international shoppers, with tax free spend rising by nine per cent in July, compared with the same period last year. This is according to data from international payments company Planet, which facilitates VAT refunds for non-EU visitors to the UK.
August Shop Prices fell by 0.4 per cent, compared to a 0.1 per cent decrease in July – the fastest rate of decline since last June. This is according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen, which also showed non-food prices down by 1.5 per cent in August, compared to July’s decrease of 1.2 per cent.
After a year of testing the market in collaboration with chosen retailers, ONVU Technologies has officially launched its new division, ONVU Retail. The video intelligence firm appointed Nigel Ashman as president of the new division, with responsibility for driving strategy and growth plans.
Shop Direct, the UK’s largest digital retailer, has added Topshop and Topman to its portfolio of more than 500 fashion brands. The business will also become the first UK retailer outside of the Arcadia Group to stock Topshop Beauty.
Arcadia Group has announced that two US landlords have withdrawn their challenge to a proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) aimed at shoring up the financial future of Philip Green’s retail empire. The High Street behemoth - which includes Topshop, Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins - won the greenlight for a total of seven CVAs from creditors in June, allowing the company to forge ahead with rent renegotiations with landlords and plans to close around 48 stores.
The government has announced that an additional 50 towns will benefit from a £1 billion fund aimed at reviving Britain’s High Streets. Prime minister Boris Johnson stated that the Future High Streets Fund will be extended to towns including Dudley, Dover, Scarborough and Stockport.
Morrisons will close down four of its stores, putting around 400 jobs at risk. The supermarket chain said the closures are part of a “constant review” of its existing portfolio, which consists of 494 stores.
Following a month of improved sales in June, retailers failed to maintain the positive momentum in July, with online sales growth slowing to just 4.4 per cent year-on-year and falling by 5.7 per cent month-on-month. The latest IMRG and Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, revealed that despite hot weather and online shopping events like Amazon Prime Day, the figures represented the lowest ever July year-on-year increase.
Karen Millen chief executive Beth Butterwick is reported to have stepped down from the role, following the takeover of the company by online fashion retailer Boohoo. Butterwick, who has led the womenswear brand since 2016, has left the business after Boohoo acquired Karen Millen and Coast in an £18.2 million pre-pack administration deal, according to Drapers.
British builders’ merchant CMO Stores has unveiled a new online portal that it believes offers the widest online range of building materials in the UK, with delivery direct to building sites across the country. In 2018, the company previously known as Construction Materials Online launched Door Superstore alongside its existing Drainage Superstore, Insulation Superstore and Roofing Superstore websites.
Automated delivery robot developer Starship Technologies has raised $40 million in its Series A funding round. The California-based tech firm has pioneered the roll out of commercial food and grocery delivery bots at university campuses across the US in addition to trialling autonomous robot delivery at Tesco and Co-Op stores in the UK.
A.S. Watson Group, the largest international health and beauty retailer responsible for The Perfume Shop and Superdrug in the UK, has published research suggesting that shoppers in the Generation Z age demographic are driving both theirs, and the industry’s, growth. Gen Z are defined as being born between 1995 and 2009, and are a cohort that is more populous and influential on consumer spending than any generation before them, according to the study.
Notonthehighstreet has appointed HelloFresh UK boss Claire Davenport as its new chief executive. Barrie Seidenberg, who has led the curated online marketplace since April 2018, was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year and will now be stepping down in order to focus on her health.
IKEA has taken the strategic decision to invest in smart home technology by establishing IKEA Home smart as a new business unit. Home smart was initiated as a project in 2012 with the ambition to incorporate digital elements and technologies into home products and solutions. Several launches have followed since then and now the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant is developing it into a fully end-to-end business unit.
Urban Outfitters has adopted Qualtrics’ technology to optimise its global customer experience programme. Qualtrics’ CustomerXM system is designed to help brands understand and optimise shopper sentiments and perceptions, combining what it calls ‘operational data’ and ‘experience data’ in one place.
House of Fraser has extended its administration period for a further 12 months, as owner Sports Direct battles “terminal” issues with the struggling retailer. Creditors for the department store chain, which was bought in a pre-pack administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90 million in August last year, have now agreed to a further 12 months of administration until August 2020.
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of retailers see Click and Collect services as a solution to drive High Street footfall, but with UK shoppers leaving £228 million worth of items uncollected each year, Barclaycard has argued more needs to be done to enhance the experience for shoppers. It commissioned surveys in July of 250 UK retailers with more than 50 employees and an online presence, as well as 2,000 UK adults, 71 per cent of shoppers now use Click and Collect - selecting the option twice a month on average - yet 15 per cent admit to not collecting their purchases in-store.
Employees and visitors to office space concept All Work and Social’s XYZ building in Manchester will be able to pay for food and drink using finger scan biometrics as part of a trial beginning this autumn. Launched in partnership with Fingopay, using its VeinID scanning technology, customers can link ‘vein signatures’ in their fingers with payment cards.
The government has been urged to ease the business rates burden on High Street retailers after challenges to bills rose by 65 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. According to new figures from law firm RPC, there were 4,000 challenges made to business rates bills in the first three months of this year, up from 2,430 in the fourth quarter of last year.
Former Majestic Wine managing director John Colley has resigned from his role as chief trading officer at Kingfisher after just 20 months in the position. The Times reported that he will return to Majestic Wine under new ownership, after its stores were bought for £95 million earlier this month by American asset manager Fortress Investment Group.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has closed eight Jack Wills stores following its acquisition of the fashion retailer earlier this month. The retail group told the Financial Times that attempts would be made to redeploy staff to other locations amid reports that further stores are being eyed for closure if Sports Direct cannot negotiate lower rents with landlords.
Total like-for-like sales increased by seven per cent this week, from a base of 1.5 per cent for the equivalent week last year, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker. Fashion stole the show this week, but total in-store like-for-likes enjoyed a strong seven days, despite lower footfall and mixed weather conditions.
Global delivery software business Sorted Group has raised £15 million in a Series B funding round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment, alongside Praetura Ventures and NVM Private Equity. The investment takes the Manchester-based firm’s total funding to more than £35 million since its launch in 2010.
Shares in Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct fell by 10 per cent this morning after Grant Thornton confirmed it would quit as auditor of the retail empire.The news that the accounting firm would not seek reappointment from 11 September, after 10 years in the role, comes as a fresh blow for the company after the chaotic publication of its annual results, which revealed that the company is facing a £605 million tax bill from Belgian authorities.
In July, online retailing accounted for 19.9 per cent of total retail sales, compared with 18.9 per cent in June, with an overall growth of 12.7 per cent versus the same month a year earlier. This is according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which showed e-commerce growth for all sectors except department stores. The decline of 1.3 per cent for department stores comes compared to strong growth of 34.4 per cent during the same month in 2018.
Wirecard has unveiled a prototype of an unmanned store utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The Grab & Go concept lets consumers pick products which are scanned automatically by a mobile app, with payment taken upon leaving the store. Launched by Wirecard’s Innovation Labs, it works through a combination of computer vision, deep learning and logic.
Almost half of small to medium-sized (SME) online retailers are exploring flexible payment options (49 per cent) and e-commerce technologies (48 per cent) in the coming year, according to new research from Klarna. A survey of 100 decision-makers at UK-based online retailers by the payments company found that SME retailers are increasingly open to investing in e-commerce technologies to meet customer expectations of instant and frictionless shopping experiences.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed a plan to grant the payments and e-commerce industry 18 months of extra time to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).It was reported last week that the financial regulator had drawn up plans to give the UK a minimum 18 month extension to the 14 September deadline for firms to comply with SCA rules required by European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PDS2).
More than half (54 per cent) of adults aged 65 and over shopped online in 2019 according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics(ONS), marking the first time a majority of this age group has purchased goods from e-commerce sites.The data showed that among all adults, 82 per cent had bought goods or services online in the last 12 months, an increase of five percentage points since 2018.
Over fifty major retailers have come together to demand the government takes action to fix the business rates system. In a letter to the new chancellor, Sajid Javid, High Street brands have called for tax reform to be at the heart of the promised new economic package.
A majority (61 per cent) of retailers are lagging behind in providing online updates of in-store stock, according to new research. A YouGov survey of 2,000 consumers and 140 high street retailers with more than 30 physical stores in the UK for retail management solutions provider Cybertill, found that stock level and availability is not currently displayed on 61 per cent of websites, despite 42 per cent of adults In the UK saying they would like to be able to see this information.
CD, DVD and computer game sales fell 19 per cent to £214 million over the 12 weeks to the end of June, at the same time as streaming revenues for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video rose. Data from Kantar showed that High Street retailers were hit hardest by the slump, with a drop in footfall further hindering physical sales.
The national town centre vacancy rate was 10.3 per cent in July, a slight increase on the previous quarter's rate of 10.2 per cent, and the highest since January 2015. This is according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard, which also revealed footfall down by 1.9 per cent in July, compared to the same point last year when it declined by 0.9 per cent – the worst decline for July since 2012.
The Central Bank of Ireland has confirmed it will put a “limited migration period” in place for regulated firms to comply with the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules. The deadline is currently 14 September under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), but in line with a European Banking Authority (EBA) opinion published in June, the Irish financial regulator has taken up the suggestion of giving merchants and payment providers “limited additional time” to ensure no disruption to payment systems.
Amazon is opening its first Scottish Clicks and Mortar concept store in Waverley Mall, Edinburgh. The tech giant will capitalise on increased festival footfall in the Scottish capital with its latest pop-up store, as part of the year-long, UK-wide pilot launched in conjunction with business support organisation Enterprise Nation.
Farfetch has acquired New Guards Group for $675 million. The Milan-based holding company was founded in 2015 and has launched luxury streetwear brands including Off-White, Palm Angels and Heron Preston.
AO World has launched a new website selling mobile phones, contracts and SIM cards. The online-only electricals retailer stated that it is well-positioned to undercut rival High Street brands like Dixons Carphone, as customers “don’t have to pay for hundreds of high street stores with thousands of sales staff”.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to delay enforcement of the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) payment security rules by than 18 months, on the recommendation of UK Finance. This is according to reports in the Financial Times, which reported that as part of its consideration of an extension to the 14 September deadline for implementing the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the regulator asked the trade association to design an alternative timetable for the UK.
Boots UK is piloting a new on-demand interpretation service for non-English speaking pharmacy patients to help make healthcare more accessible. In England and Wales, there are an estimated 726,000 residents who cannot speak English easily and 138,000 unable to speak English at all.
Fluent Commerce has completed its Series B financing, raising $33 million. Led by Santa Monica-based Arrowroot Capital, the investment will allow the Australian headquartered order management software provider to continue development of its growing suite of unified omnichannel solutions.
White Stuff has appointed The Body Shop’s US managing director Toby Milton to the newly-created role of multi-channel director. He will join in October, responsible for delivering a “consistent customer experience and trading stance” across all the clothing retailer’s channels, including in-store, online, wholesale and marketplaces.
Facebook is failing to stop fake review factories that are increasingly being used to mislead consumers – despite being ordered to take urgent action by the regulator. This is according to an investigation by Which? revealing that more than a month after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns, Facebook remains flooded with fake review groups.
Klarna has raised $460 million in an equity investment round, at a valuation of $5.5 billion, to help fund its push into the US market. The round was led by Dragoneer Investment Group, alongside Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HMI Capital, Merian Chrysalis Investment Company, Första AP-Fonden (AP1), IPGL, IVP and funds managed by BlackRock.
Boohoo has acquired the brands, intellectual property and online business of Karen Millen and Coast in a pre-pack administration deal worth £18.2 million. This will result in 62 immediate job cuts, while all other staff members in Karen Millen and Coast’s 1,100-strong workforce are now at risk of redundancies.
Sports Direct has bought Jack Wills in a £12.75 million a pre-pack administration deal. Will Wright and Chris Pole from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to the clothing retailer, with its brand and UK trading assets sold, debt-free, to Mike Ashley’s group.
Halfords has appointed Holland & Barrett’s omnichannel director Emma Mead as its new digital director. She joined the car and bike parts retailer last week after almost four years at Holland & Barrett, where she began as director of e-commerce.
UK retail sales increased by 0.3 per cent in July, on a total basis, against an increase of 1.6 per cent in July 2018 – the lowest figure recorded for the month of July since records began in 1995 and after the worst June on records. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures also found that on a like-for-like basis, sales fell by 0.1 per cent year-on-year last month.
Tesco has announced changes to its stores which will result in a reduction of around 4,500 jobs. A statement from the supermarket chain explained that it has begun conversations with colleagues about operational changes, which will “simplify and reduce processes and administrative tasks” across all of its 153 Metro stores.
Harrods has appointed Caitlin Innes to the new role of digital and strategy director. She moves from the position of director of digital commerce at Burberry, and will now oversee the luxury department store’s online trading, digital marketing, customer insight and loyalty teams.
During the 2018/19 financial year, 190,000 non-domestic premises such as shops and restaurants in England were brought before the Magistrate Courts for non-payment of their business rates. Property adviser Altus Group submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to all English councils on how many businesses had been summonsed between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, with details being provided on 1,740,073 out of the 1,933,963 non-domestic properties liable for business rates.
Ocado has completed the sale of half its UK retail business to Marks & Spencer as part of a joint venture to enable the High Street retailer to offer an online grocery delivery service. However, the business will not begin selling M&S products until 1 September next year, unless Ocado’s existing arrangements with Waitrose & Partners end sooner.
A patent application has revealed that Walmart is exploring its own US dollar-backed digital currency, along the same lines of Facebook’s Libra project. The document outlines a method for “generating one digital currency unit by tying the one digital currency unit to a regular currency, storing information of the one digital currency unit into a block of a blockchain, buying or paying the one digital currency unit”.
Majestic Wine is selling its commercial and retail business to CF Bacchus Holding, part of the Fortress Investment Group, for around £95 million. One freehold property, previously owned by Majestic’s Wine Warehouses, will be sold separately to an independent third party, which is expected to raise a further £5 million, subject to approval of a planning application for redevelopment.
Westfield has become the third major shopping centre owner to complain this week of rental income hit by the recent wave of retailer administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). For the first half of the year ending 31 July, Westfield’s UK shopping centres saw like-for-like rental income down by 3.1 per cent. It attributed the decline to a vacancy rate of 8.7 per cent, caused by many businesses shuttering shops, as well as leasing delays and non-renewals brought about by uncertainty around Brexit.
The John Lewis Partnership has partnered with the Small Robot Company, design consultancy Method and various robotics companies and industry bodies in the UK, to develop a blueprint for Human Robotic Interaction (HRI) in the 21st century. Envisioned as an open framework to be evolved over time, the initiative will foster and accelerate the safe and ethical adoption of robotics across British industry. It will also help define how autonomous robotic technology should interact with people in the real world across different environments and sectors, including retail, manufacturing and farming.
Three quarters of payment issuers said they would be ready for the 14 September Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) deadline from a compliance standpoint, but that they would not be operationally ready. This is according to a report from the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) which spoke to 13 UK issuers - including three of the four largest with credit, debit and prepaid card portfolios - during the Spring.
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have only one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards. Now in their seventh year, the ceremony will take place at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London on 13 November, hosted by award-winning comedian and panel show regular Holly Walsh.
Strong online sales growth at Next drove sales up four per cent in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. Figures for the three months to 27 July showed online sales had risen 12 per cent, up 0.2 per cent on the 11.8 per cent increase in the first quarter.
Co-op is rolling out its till-less technology into more convenience stores as cash-use continues to drop. The retailer is extending its pay-in-aisle technology trial, with shoppers able to use an app to checkout in over 30 Co-op food stores across England, Scotland and Wales by late August.
Intu has reported falling net rental income in its half-year report, mainly due to retailer administrations and Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs). The shopping centre group stated that it expects like-for-like net rental income, which fell 7.7 per cent to £205.2 million in the six month period ending 30 June, to be at a similar level for the rest of the year.
July’s shop price deflation held steady at 0.1 per cent, making it the second consecutive month of deflation since October 2018. This is according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures, which showed that food inflation eased slightly to 1.7 per cent in July from 1.8 per cent in June. Fresh food inflation also slowed in July to 1.2 per cent, from 1.4 per cent in June. Meanwhile, ambient food inflation accelerated to 2.4 per cent in July, from 2.3 per cent in June.
Zalando has become one of the first retailers to implement a two-stage authentication process for online orders, ahead of the September Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) deadline. The online clothing retailer has partnered with Ayden to introduce the new payment procedure, which will require customers to offer two separate authentication methods in order to checkout.
Grant Thornton is reportedly set to quit as auditor of Sports Direct International. According to reports in the Financial Times, the auditing firm has told regulators of its plans to step aside after Sports Direct revealed a £605 million tax bill from the Belgian authorities, as it published its long-awaited full year results on Friday.
Online sales slumped to their lowest ever growth rate of just 5.4 per cent year-on-year, according to IMRG and Capgemini, which track the online sales performance of over 200 retailers with a combined annual spend of £28 billion. Comparatively, the same time period in 2018 saw results of 16.9 per cent year-on-year, with consumer spending buoyed by events like the Royal wedding, World Cup and the Spring heatwave.
Retail computer vision and analytics business Trax has acquired retail image recognition services firm Planorama. Trax’s in-store execution solutions, market measurement and analytics services are powered by proprietary image recognition and machine learning technology, turning photos of retail shelves into actionable shelf and store-level insights.
Matalan is making moves to build its internal e-commerce team and move away from using external consultants. The clothing and homeware retailer’s e-commerce director Paul Hornby said he is looking for a new e-commerce delivery lead, user experience (UX) lead, quality assurance (QA) engineer and business analyst.
Starling Bank has partnered with mobile point of sale company SumUp to provide small merchants with access to faster settlements. SumUp’s terminals can be used with an accompanying app, or without an app via the company’s standalone 3G Reader, which comes with an integrated free data card.
Hammerson has reported losses of £319.8 million for the six months to 30 June, compared with a £55.7 million profit during the same period last year. The shopping centre owner’s results revealed that on an adjusted basis, profits were down 10.5 per cent to £107.4 million. Net rental income also dropped 12.3 per cent to £156.6 million.
Sports Direct’s long-delayed full-year results have revealed regrets over the purchase of House of Fraser - which recorded losses of £54.6 million for the period - and a £605 million tax bill from the Belgian authorities. After being promised a week earlier, the report for the 52 weeks ending 28 April eventually came 10 hours after the expected time of delivery on Friday – and an hour after the stock market closed.
Several European associations representing banks and third party providers (TPPs) have released a joint statement agreeing on joint efforts regarding the transition to EU new payment rules. Responding to recent updates from EU authorities regarding the 14 September deadline for the revised payments services directive (PSD2), the European Credit Sector Associations (ECSAs) and TPP associations have pledged to improve their interactions regarding the implementation of the new standards.
Retail sales fell for the third consecutive month in the year to July, marking the longest period of decline since 2011, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Its survey of 93 firms, of which 46 were retailers, showed that sales volumes fell in the year to July, albeit to a lesser extent than in June. Orders placed on suppliers also declined for the third consecutive month, but at a slower pace than the previous month.
Half of retailers have found that deploying mobile technology in-store has driven up customer experience levels, according to new research. A survey of 700 global retail IT decision-makers across the UK, US, Japan, Germany, France and Australia by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Apple management firm Jamf revealed that retailers are increasingly looking to technology to transform the in-store experience, with nearly all (99 per cent) of those asked saying that retailers have implemented at least one mobile technology so far.
Mothercare’s store closure programme has affected total UK sales, which were down 23.2 per cent for the 15 weeks to 13 July. Like-for-like sales improved by 3.2 per cent, but online sales fell by 12.1 per cent. The baby and mother product retailer is currently in talks to sell or separate its UK store estate, months after striking a deal with creditors that secured its survival. This now comprises of 79 stores, down from 134 last year.
More than half (58 per cent) of retail businesses are losing revenue due to shortcomings with their payment gateway, according to new research. A survey of 500 online payment professionals across five countries by emerchantpay found that two thirds of respondents were coming under increasing pressure from senior leaders to improve payments performance as a matter of urgency.
Retailers are struggling to retain customers that increasingly have zero tolerance for a poor retail experience, with 40 per cent stating that just one bad experience would stop them returning to a brand. This is according to a survey of 2,000 consumers and 254 retail decision-makers across the UK conducted by Censuswide in May and June on behalf of Klarna.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into JD Sports’ £90 million acquisition of Footasylum. The competition watchdog said it would look into whether the acquisition, which was completed in March, had “resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market”.
As more and more retailers adopt till-free checkout technology with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), GlobalData has raised concerns about the consequences that this technology could have on data protection. The analytics firm pointed out that retailers will be able to hold an unprecedented level of in-depth data on consumers through the use of cameras and sensors, including personal details and the mapping of shopping habits from when people enter the store, to when they leave.
E-commerce personalisation platform RevLifter has raised £2.3 million of funding to fuel further growth and development of its technology. The company, founded in 2017, said the round - led by a syndicate of new and existing investors, including Coutts private banking - would enable it to address growing demand from retailers around the world, with a focus on growing its business in the US.
New research has revealed that 37 per cent of Generation Z’s (those aged 16-24) think access to online shopping has made them more impatient while shopping in-store, while 41 per cent of those aged under 40 prefer to shop online rather than in-store, due to a combination of convenience (81 per cent), cost (63 per cent), lack of queues (64 per cent) and choice (61 per cent). This is according to research from merchant services provider Paymentsense and daily consumer perception research service YouGov BrandIndex.
Retail lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has joined forces with dispute management and risk mitigation firm Chargebacks911 to help the industry cut down on invalid payment disputes. The partnership is aimed at educating retailers on steps they can take to cut down on chargebacks, which occur when a consumer disputes a card transaction and secures a refund for the purchase into their account.
Over half of consumers (57 per cent) would use voice-activated technology, such as Amazon’s Alexa, to pay for low-value goods and services. This is according to research commissioned by Paysafe among more than 6,000 consumers across countries - including the US, UK and Canada - which found that one in ten (11 per cent) have used voice to confirm their identity when purchasing goods online.
Waitrose & Partners has rolled out a new customer-facing scanning solution to all its stores, letting customers scan codes from their smartphone screen at the checkout, without handing over their phone. The solution comes from automatic data capture firm Datalogic, with its Gryphon GFS4400 scan engine helping to minimise disruption to existing point of sale infrastructure.
Revenues at fashion retailer Joules have risen 17.2 per cent over the last year, driven by a 58 per cent growth in online sales. Full year results for the retailer showed group revenue had climbed to £218 million, up from £185.9 million in 2018, with the group’s ‘total retail’ omnichannel strategy continuing to bear fruit.
Trax has closed a $100 million Series D investment led by HOPU Investments, one of Asia’s leading alternative asset managers. Headquartered in Singapore, Trax is a computer vision and analytics solutions for the retail industry, providing in-store execution, market measurement and analytics services by combining its proprietary image recognition and machine learning with a platform to turn photos of retail shelves into actionable insights.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has partially withdrawn its formal challenge to Debenhams’ plans to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), however the retail tycoon’s company remains involved in efforts to frustrate turnaround plans at the struggling retailer. He launched a last ditch challenge to a £200 million restructuring plan last month after creditors voted through plans to close up to 50 stores and renegotiate rents in an attempt to put the company on a stable financial footing.
LloydsPharmacy has rolled-out of new electronic point of sale (EPoS) systems across its UK and Ireland store estate. The project included the deployment of over 2,200 EPoS systems and P2Pe Chip and PIN devices, as well as more than 1,300 computers and other pieces of pharmacy-specific technology.
Visa has acquired German point of sale (PoS) firm Payworks in a deal that will enable Visa to offer cloud-based in-store and online payments processing. Visa said it would integrate Payworks’ PoS payment gateway software with its CyberSource digital payment management platform to create a fully integrated payment acceptance solution for merchants and acquirers.
Philip Day has made an initial bid for struggling British retailer Jack Wills. The clothing brand’s private equity owner BlueGem started a search to find a new owner in early July, with Sports Direct, Crew Clothing and Ben Sherman owner Marquee Brands also understood to be assessing offers.
Debenhams is reportedly on the verge of asking lenders for additional financial help tide it over through the Christmas trading period. The struggling High Street retailer, which launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) after collapsing into administration in April, has told its lending syndicate that it may need to access additional borrowing facilities before the winter, according to Sky News.
Retail sales increased by one per cent in June, compared with May, with non-food stores providing the largest growth contribution. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed year-on-year growth rate up by 3.8 per cent, with growth across all sectors except department stores.
Toys R Us has partnered with tech-led retailer B8ta to relaunch the chain across the US. Following the brand’s collapse last year, its former chief merchandising officer Richard Barry - whose company Tru Kids owns the rights to the brand - announced that two new stores are due to open later this year.
Waitrose & Partners has exchanged contracts for the sale of four shops to other parties, and is closing three others, with the 677 staff working there now entering a period of consultation over their jobs. The shops are located in Bromley (Burnt Ash Lane); Oadby, Leicestershire; Sandhurst, Berkshire; and Wollaton, Nottinghamshire – with Lidl named as the buyer for all but the Sandhurst shop.
Superdry is rolling out Klarna’s payments technology to let customers buy now and pay later across stores in the US, UK and online. The clothing chain announced that the partnership, enabled by Adyen’s payments platform, would offer customers the chance to use Klarna’s Pay later or Pay in 3 instalment options.
Payments FinTech SumUp has raised €330 million to grow its network of merchants across 31 markets worldwide. The funding round was led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital, Bain Capital Credit, HPS Investment Partners and TPG Sixth Street Partners.
With excellent weather and the start of the sale season signalling the arrival of summer, online retail sales rose by 8.5 per cent year-on-year in June, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. After a disappointing May, which saw online sales suffer their worst growth on record (up only 1.9 per cent), June’s results represent the strongest growth so far this year, and are well ahead of the three, six and 12-month rolling averages (respectively -0.5 per cent, 5.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent).
When it comes to in-store technologies, consumers have heard all the promises but are still waiting on retailers to deliver, according to A.T. Kearney’s latest market survey. The consultancy polled 1,000 people from various demographic and economic backgrounds about emerging tech used in physical stores, focusing on five crucial technologies.
The e-commerce market in the UK is expected to grow by nine per cent a year over the next three years – with the market projected to be worth €231.2 billion by 2021. Research compiled by J.P.Morgan noted that the UK represents more than 30 per cent of the total European e-commerce market. France (€81.7 billion) and Germany (€73 billion) are the second and third largest e-commerce markets respectively today, together representing a third of all e-commerce activity in Europe.
The EU’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Amazon’s use of merchant data, as regulators continue to put pressure on tech companies’ use of customer information. The office of Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, confirmed that the European Commission (EC) has opened a formal probe into the e-commerce giant’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace.
Morrisons has selected IRI to further develop its customer insight and personalised marketing. The supermarket chain will use IRI’s Retail Private Cloud solution, which takes customer data and uses predictive analytics to listen to customers and serve them better.
HEMA is rolling out artificial intelligence-driven technology from JDA for its supply chain. The Dutch retail chain, which sells value homewares and novelty goods in 750 stores across Europe, is aiming to further digitise its supply chain to improve customer experience and drive profits.
New figures released by local councils have revealed that 15.9 per cent of all shops in the UK now lie empty. Data obtained by Duff & Phelps via a Freedom of Information request showed that with a total of 418 councils in the UK, a mean average indicates that the total number of vacant retail units stands at 50,578 – or an average of 121 empty retail units per council.
ACI Worldwide has announced an international relationship with Worldpay, with the latter utilising the former’s e-commerce payments solution to accelerate the roll-out of alternative payment methods to its global merchant network. Worldpay accepts more than 300 payment types, and will use ACI’s UP eCommerce Payments solution to broaden the number of payment methods available in different regions across the globe, alongside speeding up time to market for merchants.
myGaru Technologies has launched an data privacy app that aims to help users take back control of the data gathered about them online. The app works by sweeping up personal data from users’ devices – from social media ‘likes’, to geolocation and online purchases that would traditionally be collected by third parties such as advertising technology, and preventing unauthorised use of the data.
Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has received applications from a US property group to challenge two Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) aimed at securing the future of the retail empire. The High Street behemoth - which includes Topshop, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins - won the greenlight for a total of seven CVAs from creditors in June, allowing the company to forge ahead with rent renegotiations with landlords and plans to close around 48 stores.
Wirecard has revealed a new smart mirror prototype, which is Germany's first mirror through which consumers can also pay. Developed by the company’s Innovation Lab, the mirror also offers alternative sizes, different colours and matching products on its interactive display.
The vast majority of e-commerce startups fail within their first 120 days of operation, new research has revealed. A survey of 1,253 owners of startups in the UK, carried out by digital agency Marketingsignals, found that 37 per cent said that their failure could be attributed to an inability to compete or deliver online marketing, with 35 per cent saying a lack of online visibility was the main factor.
Walmart has rolled out a new scheduling system to more than 1.1 million of its associates across approximately 4,600 stores. The upgrade comes from JDA Workforce Management, with the aim of improving scheduling accuracy and accounting for true demand needs at each store.
Amazon workers are staging protests against warehouse conditions to coincide with the start of the 48-hour Amazon Prime Day, which started today. The GMB union is leading the protests outside fulfilment centres across the UK, citing what it described as “dehumanising” working conditions in those facilities.
Luxury fashion brand Fendi has partnered with IT platform Dedagroup Stealth to build its omnichannel supply chain. The Rome-based fashion house, founded in 1925, is upgrading its global transactional value chain to supply online operations and 250 stores in countries worldwide – aiming for a single view of stock throughout the group’s entire product chain, from factory to point of sale.
Footfall declined by 2.9 per cent in June, compared to a 0.9 per cent fall at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard numbers. High Street footfall declined by 4.5 per cent, following from the increase of 0.1 per cent in June last year. Retail park footfall increased by 0.1 per cent, compared to a 0.4 per cent drop last June. Shopping centre footfall declined by 2.4 per cent, compared to a 3.4 fall last year.
The UK government is to forge ahead with plans to introduce a digital services tax on tech companies, despite US backlash to France’s introduction of a similar levy. The Treasury today published the draft details of its proposed two per cent tax on the revenues of social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines.
The EPSM, a trade association for European payments services providers, has called for an 18 month delay to the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules to prevent significant disruption to online and digital businesses. The EPSM has joined its voice to a growing number of industry and regulatory institutions warning that businesses will not be ready for the EU-wide 14 September deadline to implement SCA rules, which is being introduced under the revised payment service directive (PSD2).
Marks & Spencer’s clothing and home managing director Jill McDonald has stepped down after two years in the role. The High Street retailer announced that Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S would take on direct oversight of the clothing and home division, given its strategic importance to the business.
Amazon is to offer upskilling and re-training to 100,000 employees by 2025 as the e-commerce giant adapts to increased workplace automation. The company announced yesterday that it plans to invest $700 million in the next six years to provide re-training programs for a third of its US workforce.
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have just one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards. Now in their seventh year, companies are able to submit entries for this year’s awards with an expanded selection of categories to choose from.
An anticipated boost to e-commerce from 5G networks is unlikely to materialise according to a new study, which found that 65 per cent of shoppers prefer to make online purchases at home after browsing on their smartphones. A survey of 10,000 online shoppers by data analysis platfrom GlobalData found that shoppers prefer to hit the ‘buy’ button on purchases from a laptop or desktop at home, rather than buy items on the move.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of online shoppers have abandoned their cart because they did not like the shipping options and more than a third (35 per cent) have stopped shopping with a retailer altogether because of a negative shipping experience, according to a new report. A combined survey of 283 UK digital consumers and 776 merchants by e-commerce software provider BigCommerce also found that free delivery is becoming so important to customers that nine in 10 have added items to their cart to receive their purchases for free.
Luxury fashion brand ALEXACHUNG has partnered with payments technology platform Laybuy to offer customers a buy now and pay later option.The eponymous fashion brand, founded by model Alexa Chung, said the tie up will allow UK customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.
Online shopping is set to account for more than half of all retail sales within the next ten years, according to a new report. A study by Retail Economics for law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) found that the tipping point will arrive in 2028, when e-commerce sales are expected to reach 53 per cent of the total retail sales, up from the current figure of 19 per cent.
The UK’s competition watchdog has banned Sainsbury’s from acquiring a stake in Asda for a ten year period after it blocked proposals for a £12 billion mega merger between the two grocery brands. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) yesterday issued an order which prohibits Sainsbury’s from acquiring a stake in Asda or any of its subsidiaries and also blocks any action from Asda, which is owned by US grocery giant Walmart, from acquiring any stake in Sainsbury’s.
Carrefour France is extending its artificial intelligence (AI) partnership with Symphony RetailAI to streamline its warehouse, inventory and supply chain functions.Building upon the French supermarket giant’s deployment of Symphony’s AI-driven platform in Brazil, Carrefour will now deploy it across its operations in France.
Retail sales slumped 1.3 per cent in June due to a cooler start to the summer compared to last year’s heatwave, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG. The fall total in sales (-1.3 per cent) compared to an increase of 2.3 per cent in June 2018, as the World Cup and scorching temperatures drove shoppers into stores.
More than half (59 per cent) of payments leaders admit they are losing money due to issues with their payments gateways, according to new research. A global study of more than 500 online payment professionals by electronic payments provider emerchantpay also found that a lack of data and insight, analytical skills and resources for payments services had resulted in close to two thirds (65 per cent) reporting that they need to improve payments performance "as a matter of urgency."
Around 100 jobs are reported to be at risk at ASOS’s London headquarters as the e-commerce giant faces falling salesfigures. According to the Sunday Times, the online fashion retailer has launched a consultation on a round of redundancies which is thought to be focussed on the marketing department.
Almost half (45 per cent) of UK consumers said concerns over the security of payment processes would put them off using a particular online retailer, according to a new study. A YouGov study of 2,021 of adults for credit scoring firm Equifax said that payments security was the top priority across all ages groups, and was a particular concern for over 55s (75 per cent) compared to just over half of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds (52 per cent and 53 per cent respectively).
The UK’s competition watchdog has told Amazon to halt any integration with Deliveroo while it weighs up whether to launch an investigation into any potential breaches of competition rules. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued an initial enforcement order to the e-commerce giant and the app-based food delivery business after Amazon became lead investor in a £457 million funding round for Deliveroo that valued the company at more than £4 billion.
As retailers harness the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), consumers and employees are watching closely and are ready to reward or punish behavior, according to the Capgemini Research Institute. It surveyed 1,580 executives from large organisations across 10 countries, and over 4,400 consumers across six countries, finding that respondents would be more loyal to, purchase more from, or be an advocate for, organisations whose AI interactions are deemed ethical.
Total in-store like-for-like sales fell slightly by 0.8 per cent in June from an already negative base of -1.7 per cent last year, while non-store sales rose by 16.5 per cent last month. In-store sales have now gone 16 out of the last 17 months without any growth, while non-store sales were at their second lowest rate this year, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, which measures the weekly sales changes of more than 85 retailers with some 10,000 individual stores.
The government has launched its new High Streets task force initiative as part of a £675 million strategy to support retailers and revive Britain’s ailing town centres. High Streets minister Jake Berry announced that the task force - comprised of retail experts - will provide advice and guidance to retailers on how to make their businesses more “experience focussed” as they seek to attract consumers and reflect changing consumer expectations.
Sainsbury’s has balanced falling sales across the business with increased investment in technology. The supermarket chain’s latest trading update revealed that total retail sales were down 1.2 per cent, while grocery sales declined 0.5 per cent over the quarter.