Mobile point of sale (MPoS) software startup phos has closed a fundraising round worth €1.3 million, led by New Vision 3 and other angel investors. The investment sees the total amount raised increase to €2.5 million, and will be used to grow the FinTech's development team to introduce new features like PIN on Phone, its Software Development Kit (SDK) and an integrated loyalty system.
The value of retail mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fell to $2.05 billion in February, according to GlobalData. The research firm's analysis found an 8.3 per cent slump in the value of deals in February, compared with January, as the COVID-19 outbreak began to impact investment and drive down share prices around the world.
Arcadia Group is looking to borrow up to £50 million against its distribution centre to sure up its finances through the Coronavirus lockdown. Sky News reported that Philip Green's fashion retail group approached banks and hedge funds about a new round of borrowing, using its Daventry distribution centre - opened last year as part of Topshop's logistics network - as collateral. It was not yet clear whether a deal had been reached.
Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has extended the donation of its delivery fleet to help charities fighting the Coronavirus in both Italy and Hong Kong. In addition, its London commitment to seven local Age UK charities has been expanded to include a second initiative, the Emergency Designer Network (EDN), delivering essential supplies to vulnerable communities.
As Wuhan - the city at the epicentre of China’s Coronavirus outbreak - prepares to emerge from lockdown, Alipay has launched a series of digital initiatives aimed at helping small businesses get back on their feet. The digital lifestyle platform run by Ant Financial Services, the financial division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has set up a special section on the landing page of the Alipay app, to allow the platform’s 900 million users easily locate merchants and their respective products and services in Wuhan.
Tesco has revealed that Coronavirus-driven panic buying in recent weeks is behind a 30 per cent increase in sales, but added that the pandemic could also cost as much as £925 million through cost increases from payroll, distribution and store expenses. The supermarket chain's preliminary results included a COVID-19 update, which stated that a previously stretched supply chain has now stabilised and “more normal sales volumes are being experienced”.
ASOS has raised more than £200 million from shareholders to counter the impact of the Coronavirus on company finances. The online fashion retailer also said it would add £60 to £80 million to its existing £350 million revolving credit facility - which runs to 2024 - as well as negotiate changes to the covenant tests on that facility, and apply to access the Bank of England’s COVID-19 corporate finance support scheme.
Online retail saw transaction volumes soar by 74 per cent in March compared to the same month last year.
ACI Worldwide analysis of hundreds of millions of transactions carried out by global online retailers found that as millions of Britons headed online for purchases and entertainment, transaction volumes in online gaming saw a bounce of 97 per cent compared to the same time last year.
PayPoint has acquired full ownership of Yodel’s Collect+ parcel service in a deal worth £6 million. The acquisition of the 50 per cent of Collect+ shares that were owned by Yodel puts payment services company PayPoint in charge of the UK’s largest parcel network.
Nearly 90 per cent of consumers would prefer to shop in stores with 'touchless' or self-checkout options during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a survey of consumers aged 18 to 60 in the US by Shekel, a smart weighing and retail technology company, three quarters of consumers are now using self-checkout or frictionless micro-markets to pay for groceries.
Schuh has relaunched online operations in a move it stated was critical for the business to survive. The footwear retailer closed its stores and e-commerce website on 26 March in response to Coronavirus concerns around staff conditions, but will now start a staggered reopening of its online fulfilment operations after a formal risk assessment was completed.
Online retailers have been delivering parcels almost 20 per cent faster than usual amid the COVID-19 lockdown. Data from ParcelLab, a cloud solution provider for smart parcel and e-commerce deliveries, has shown that as the Coronavirus crisis continued to unfold in the last two weeks, the average speed at which parcels from online orders are being delivered has reduced from 2.1 days to 1.7 days.
Amazon could lose out on revenue of more than $100 million as it is forced to delay Prime Day by the Coronavirus crisis. The e-commerce giant’s annual summer shopping festival will now be pushed back until at least August, according to documents seen by Reuters.
Debenhams today has filed a Notice of Intent to appoint an administrator, naming Geoff Rowley and Alastair Massey of FRP Advisory. The department store chain explained that the move will protect it from the threat of legal action that could have the effect of pushing the business into liquidation while its 142 UK stores remain closed in line with the government’s current COVID-19 pandemic advice.
WHSmith has raised £165.9 million, after placing 15.8 million new shares at 1050p per share, in an attempt to stabilise its finances during the Coronavirus lockdown. Chief executive Carl Cowling was among the investors, subscribing to more than 7,000 shares, which will be admitted to the stock exchange on 9 April.
Amazon has confirmed that it will distribute temperature checks and face masks for staff at all its US and European warehouses and Whole Foods stores by early next week. The e-commerce giant, which had recently reported Coronavirus cases among warehouse staff and faced several demonstrations, told Reuters it would use no-contact forehead thermometers at site entrances and send anyone home that registered more than 38 Celsius.
Topshop owner Arcadia has furloughed 14,500 shop and head office staff to cope with “challenging times” amid the Coronavirus shutdown. The retail empire owned by Philip Green - which also includes High Street brands including Dorothy Perkins and Burton - has taken the decision to furlough 14,500 of its 16,000-strong workforce in order to benefit from the government’s salary support scheme.
Intu is preparing to take further action against tenants which have not paid their rent and service charges, despite the challenges retailers have faced during the Coronavirus pandemic. Property Week reported that the shopping centre owner sent a letter to tenants informing them it would “take robust action where rent and service charge payments, contracted under lease obligations” were not paid.
The UK packaging industry is calling for its work to be granted ‘essential’ status from the UK government.
According to analysis from GlobalData, the packaging industry is seeing soaring demand for packaged food - such as tinned food and household essentials - but the workers needed to keep up supply are not able to work on site under current rules.
The Perfume Shop has become the latest retailer to shut its online operations due to the spread of the Coronavirus. Parent company AS Watson had already shut its 231 shops on 22 March, but now as many as 1,875 staff will be affected by the closure of warehouses and e-commerce teams.
Olive oil, outdoor play equipment and painkillers have topped a list of lockdown essentials, according to online retail stats from Criteo. UK data from Criteo’s Shopper Network, which analyses over $900 billion of global spending by two billion shoppers every year, has revealed the changing trends in the online shopping habits since the Coronavirus forced the nation into lockdown.
A new national initiative is set to launch this week, turning pubs into food shops and helping locked-down locals click and collect. The project - mypubshop.com from StarStock - gives pubs the ability to take and process orders online, providing them with a valuable income stream, while offering their local community access to essential staples such as bread, eggs and milk.
Morrisons has won a Supreme Court appeal over whether it was liable for an employee with a grudge who leaked the payroll data of around 100,000 members of staff. The supermarket took the case to the Supreme Court following a ruling in 2018 which gave the go-ahead for compensation claims by employees whose personal details were leaked.
IKEA has set up a drive-through Coronavirus testing centre for frontline NHS staff in the car park of its Wembley store and has committed to opening similar sites around the country. A spokesperson for the flatpack furniture retailer said: “Today, a drive-through NHS Covid-19 test centre has opened in the car park of our Wembley store.
Shop prices fell by 0.8 per cent in March, compared to a 0.6 per cent decrease in February, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food prices fell at a steady pace of 1.9 per cent in March – which remains the highest rate of decline in non-food prices since May 2018.
The Coronavirus outbreak has seen a dramatic re-shaping of shopping habits, according to a new report, with e-commerce sales in the health and beauty industry outstripping other categories. According to an analysis of data from Forter’s global merchant network - which covers more than 100 global business and $150 billion in global commerce transactions - customers with more time to fill at home bought up to 50 to 100 per cent more in purchase volume on beauty and skincare in the week beginning 22 March.
BrightHouse has formally entered administration, putting 2,400 jobs across 240 stores at risk of redundancy. Sky News reported that the UK’s biggest rent-to-own retailer was in court to make its insolvency proceedings official after appointing accountancy firm Grant Thornton.
More than three quarters (76 per cent) of online shoppers have said that the account creation process can ‘make or break’ their future relationship with a brand. A survey of 1,014 online shoppers in the UK carried out by Trulioo, an online verification company, also found that 77 per cent of respondents were increasingly intolerant of poor online account opening experiences.
Ted Baker has promoted its chief financial officer Rachel Osborne to chief executive. She joined the fashion retailer in November - moving from the chief financial officer role at Debenhams - before being appointed as acting chief executive the following month.
NatWest is waiving monthly hire fees for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals from its payments product Tyl until the end of 2020, to support merchants during the Coronavirus crisis. The bank also provides next day settlement to users of Tyl, helping with cash flow during this difficult period for small businesses.
As the government’s home isolation rules kicked in last week, the immediate impact of the Coronavirus on online consumer shopping habits was laid bare, with online retail sales growth down 2.2 per cent year-on-year. This was according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.
Next, TK Maxx and River Island have all closed their e-commerce operations due to concerns around the health of warehouse staff amid the Coronavirus crisis. Pressure from politicians and trade unions forced the fashion retailers to u-turn on previous commitments to keep online sales going after the closure of stores earlier this week.
Fast, which claims to be the world's fastest online login and checkout experience, has made $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Stripe, along with existing investors Index Ventures and Susa Ventures. The US-based startup will use the investment to accelerate the global rollout of Fast Checkout - its universal one-click purchase product for e-commerce - and to further grow its product and engineering teams.
Following criticism of its ability to crackdown on price gouging amid the Coronavirus crisis, eBay has launched a series of measures designed to protect consumers and businesses, including a 30-day payment holiday for all 300,000 businesses registered on the site. The package also includes a fee waiver for listing or selling items for new businesses registering until 31 May and a pledge to crack down on sellers listing items at unreasonably inflated prices.
February retail sales were flat year-on-year, according to the Office for National Statistics, marking the lowest growth rate since March 2013. The data collection for the period was completed by 29 February, so largely unaffected by recent developments with the Coronavirus. However, a small number of retailers suggested that online orders shipped from China were reduced because of COVID-19.
The UK clothing and footwear sector will bear the brunt of the COVID-19 impact on retail, with 2020 sales down £11.1 billion on 2019, according to preliminary forecasts by GlobalData. Fashion retailers made up the majority of the High Street stores that closed down ahead of government restrictions earlier this week, with several admitting that buying new clothes and footwear was far from a top priority for consumers, wiping out sales of spring and summer collections.
Grocery sales in the UK for the week to 14 March increased by 22 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, as consumers stockpiled items during the Coronavirus self isolation measures. The figures are from Nielsen data, which showed household and pet care items saw the biggest year-on-year sales increase (65 per cent), followed by ambient groceries (62 per cent), while health, beauty, toiletries and babycare sales rose by 46 per cent, and frozen food was up by a third year-on-year.
The Retail Systems Awards 2020 have moved date to 19 October, due to event restrictions surrounding the Coronavirus. The ceremony will still be held at the Waldorf Hilton hotel in London, bringing together the most innovative retailers and technology providers in the industry.
Sainsbury’s has set out a plan to help smaller suppliers deal with financial challenges brought on by the Coronavirus outbreak. The supermarket chain has pledged to help suppliers facing cash flow issues, starting with immediate payment of its invoices immediately to 1,500 smaller suppliers which have less than £100,000 annual turnover.
Amazon Marketplace and eBay are failing to crack down on a spate of Coronavirus profiteering by sellers, according to a Which? investigation which uncovered a wide range of products for sale with inflated prices. At the start of this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) warned that traders should not be exploiting the outbreak to take advantage of people through price gouging, and threatened to take strong action if the problem persisted.
UK retail footfall has dropped to all-time lows as the COVID-19 pandemic kept customers indoors and shops began to close. Springboard data showed that shopper numbers fell last week by 21.7 per cent from the previous week and by 28 per cent year-on-year.
Sports Direct has u-turned on its intention to keep its shops open in spite of the coronavirus lockdown.
The sports clothing retailer, owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, had initially announced that stores would remain open, as it regarded sales of sports equipment as an essential service during the government’s stringent Coronavirus restrictions, as they could help keep customers “as fit and healthy as possible”.
The impact of Coronavirus will wipe £12.6 billion from retail sales this year, according to preliminary forecasts by GlobalData. The revised forecasts are predicated on the pandemic peaking in April with most stores either closed or severely affected until late May, with non-food spend starting to recover in June, but with more normal spending patterns not arriving until October.
The contactless limit for in-store card transactions will increase from £30 to £45, introduced as a measure in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, to reduce the need for physical contact with PIN-Entry Devices (PEDs) at points of sale. The new contactless limit will be operational at some stores across the UK from 1 April, but may take some time before it can be applied everywhere. For example, it may take longer to rollout at retailers who are currently operating at peak capacity.
Morrisons has turned off its mobile app and imposed a three-item limit on all online orders to help its website “work more efficiently”. The supermarket chain pledged to expand its online delivery capacity amid the “unprecedented challenges” posed by the Coronavirus outbreak, adding that it planned to take measures to cut in-store ranges by up to a third so that shelves could be replenished more quickly.
As government advice on limiting the spread of Coronavirus becomes more stringent, several High Street retailers have announced temporary closures of their stores. The growing list now includes Debenhams, John Lewis, Selfridges, H&M Group, the Inditex Group, the Arcadia Group, the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, IKEA, New Look, River Island, Gap, Reiss, The Body Shop, HMV, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Michael Kors, Oasis, Lego, Abercrombie & Fitch, Monsoon, Liberty London, Primark, Clarks, TK Maxx, Apple, Calvin Klein, Sweaty Betty and Boden.
Cath Kidston is looking for a buyer to save the business and around 800 jobs. The fashion and homeware retailer has appointed a restructuring firm to conduct a strategic review.
UK supermarkets have begun to roll-out opening hours for vulnerable customers and are set to focus staff on ensuring the supply of food and essentials in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. Marks & Spencer has introduced dedicated shopping hours for older and vulnerable customers during the first hour of trading every Monday and Thursday in all of its stores and will introduce contact-free delivery for clothing, home, flowers, hampers and wine.
Following a very slow start to the year, the UK’s string of winter storms failed to stimulate online demand in February, as e-commerce sales for the month only grew by 0.4 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.
Starbucks is testing the use of cryptocurrency Bakkt Cash as a payment method. Adam White, president of the Bitcoin futures exchange overseen by Intercontinental Exchange, tweeted about the partnership yesterday. The global coffee chain is also a launch partner for Bakkt's dollar-denominated digital wallet.
Next is preparing for a “significant” downturn in trading due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with sales falling by 30 per cent this week. The fashion and home furnishings retailer’s results for the year to January included stress testing results in response to the pandemic, suggesting that it could “comfortably sustain” more than £1 billion (25 per cent) loss of annual sales over the full year.
The Hut Group (THG) has announced a new payments partnership with Laybuy. The online retail and technology company - which owns beauty and wellness brand including Glossybox, Illamasqua and Myprotein - will now offer customers a flexible payment platform to spread the cost of purchases over six weekly payments.
Inditex, the parent company of Zara, has announced the closure of 3,785 stores around the world in response to the “uncertain situation” caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Spanish-headquartered fashion group - which also owns retail brands including Bershka, Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti - announced that the stores in 39 markets would be closed with immediate effect following a slump in group sales of 24 per cent in the first two weeks of March.
Ocado has been forced to close its mobile app and turn away new orders, in response to unprecedented delivery demand during the Coronavirus pandemic. The online grocer took its app offline yesterday citing performance issues “driven by continued high demand”, while a reported 1,000 per cent jump in website traffic forced it to inform customers not to wait, as it had “no new delivery slots for the next few days”.
The chancellor has extended the government’s one-year business rates holiday to all retailers as part of a package of economic support for UK businesses in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Rishi Sunak first announced the tax pause for commercial premises with a rateable value under £51,000 last week, causing some consternation that it did not apply to retailers of all sizes. Now, the change will apply across the board, starting in the next government financial year.
Laura Ashley has filed for administration, putting up to 2,700 jobs at risk. The fashion and lifestyle retailer had reportedly been in talks with Homebase parent company Hillco Capital to secure a £15 million emergency loan, along with an unspecified third-party to fund its immediate working capital requirements.
More than eight million people in the UK could suffer in a cashless society due to dwindling supply during the Coronavirus outbreak, according to new research. Analysis compiled by Blueclaw for A2Z Casinos found that it will become essential to curb the use of physical money in order to limit the number of infections, as pathogens and viruses can live on most surfaces for around 48 hours, and paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days.
Dixons Carphone will close all 531 Carphone Warehouse stores, resulting in around 2,900 job losses. The closures will be effective from 3 April, as Dixons Carphone focuses on selling mobile phones within its 305 larger Currys PC World stores and online.
Retailers expect to waste £146,000 due to poor e-commerce planning and £158,000 on e-commerce execution next year, according to new research. Digital commerce firm Greenlight Commerce and software-as-a-service platform BigCommerce questioned 100 UK-based e-commerce decision-makers within the direct-to-consumer (D2C) sector, finding that they expect to allocate £1.19 million on e-commerce projects in 2020, but almost a third (31 per cent) think they will miss at least some key objectives.
Starship Technologies has announced the rollout of its robot delivery service in central Milton Keynes (MK). The expansion was prompted by demand for the company’s service in other areas across MK - including Monkston, Emerson Valley and Bletchley - and is the first time that robot delivery has been made available in the centre of a UK town.
H&M sales have hit £5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, as the company moves to protect its profits from the Coronavirus outbreak. The Swedish clothing giant announced that sales were up by eight per cent in in the three months from December to February, while net sales in local currencies were up by five per cent.
Online growth has driven a 7.6 per cent like-for-like increase in sales for the Kingfisher Group during the year to 14 March. The home improvement business, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, stated that it experienced “no impact on demand from COVID-19”, with growth across all core markets.
Total UK retail footfall decreased by two per cent in February year-on-year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and ShopperTrak figures. Footfall on British High Streets declined by 2.5 per cent year-on-year, which was below both the three-month and 12-month average growths of 1.1 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
Carrefour has partnered with Cash Converters to launch a 'shop-in-shop' concept. The French supermarket giant is testing the idea at a 100 square metre site in Les Ulis, with customers able to buy and sell secondhand items such as smartphones, video games, jewellery, computer items, books, CDs and DVDs.
Morrisons has partnered with Atheon Analytics to build a new data platform aimed at improving collaboration with suppliers. The SKUtrak platform will give easier access to more operational data from across the supply chain, to help improve product availability and reduce waste.
Amazon is set to open its first UK supermarket in the west London area of Notting Hill. The Times reported that the e-commerce giant is close to exchanging contracts on a 20,000 sq ft site at 66-74 Notting Hill Gate.
Mastercard has unveiled a pilot project with phos, introducing an innovative mobile solution that lets merchants accept contactless payments on Android mobile devices without the need for any additional hardware. The solution will enable millions of often cash-only micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to accept cashless payments and grow their businesses.
Intu Properties has warned it risks going into administration if it is unable to raise further funds. The shopping centre owner reported a loss of £2 billion for 2019, up from £1.17 billion the year before.
More than half (54 per cent) of Brits are interested in trying out new retail technology while out on the High Street, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 UK shoppers for Outform, a retail innovation agency, found that there are gender differences in interest in retail technologies, with men most interested in tablets and touchscreens (30 per cent) which allow them to find out more about product functionality. Meanwhile half of women said they would be keen to improve their shopping experience with the latest tech.
Debenhams chief executive Stefaan Vansteenkiste is to resign after less than a year in charge. Sky News reported that he will step down within months, with a search for his successor already started.
Wirecard and Klarna have launched a new enhanced joint payment solution. All three Klarna shopping methods - Pay Now, Pay Later and Klarna Financing - can now be embedded into merchants’ checkout via a single integration through the Wirecard digital financial commerce platform to boost average order value and conversions.
The government has confirmed that from 1 April it will introduce a new two per cent tax on the revenues of search engines, social media platforms and online marketplaces which derive value from UK users. The announcement of the Digital Services Tax in the 2018 Budget was followed by a consultation which closed in February 2019. Following today’s Budget, legislation will now be introduced in the Finance Bill 2019-20 to establish a Digital Services Tax.
Retail, leisure and hospitality firms will not pay any business rates in the coming year, the chancellor has announced in the Budget. Rishi Sunak stated that shops, cinemas, restaurants and hotels with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will be eligible for the ‘tax holiday’.
Debenhams has announced its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) plans have been upheld and legal challenges have been concluded. The department store chain groups faced legal challenges to its plans to renegotiate rates, close stores and restructure debt when it announced it was launching a CVA after falling into the hands of consortium of investors Celine Jersey Topco in April last year.
Amazon’s Alexa Shopping business has named Tesco technology veteran Paul Wilkinson as its new senior product manager. After nearly 10 years at the grocery chain, he will begin at Amazon’s London offices this week.
Consumer retail spend via chatbots will reach $142 billion by 2024, rising from $2.8 billion in 2019, according to Juniper Research. The market analysis firm identified the retail sector as a key beneficiary of advances in Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technologies, forecasting that this will be essential in providing a seamless retail experience for users and to establish chatbots as a reliable retail channel – as it enables chatbots to efficiently process human inputs and produce more accurate automated responses.
IKEA has launched an e-commerce store on Tmall, Alibaba’s shopping platform, marking the first time the Swedish home furnishings giants has sold its products on a third-party marketplace. IKEA’s ‘flagship’ online store on Alibaba will enable it to sell on China’s largest e-commerce site and build a wider footprint in the world’s second largest economy.
UK retail sales decreased 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis in February, when they had increased 2.6 per cent from the preceding year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. Over the three months to February, in-store sales of non-food items declined 1.8 per cent on a total and 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis. This was better than the 12-month total average decline of 3.1 per cent, but positively distorted by the inclusion of Black Friday in December.
Even though retail businesses have spent tens of millions on compliance, 88 per cent still have fundamental IT weaknesses that leave them vulnerable and potentially non-compliant. This is according to Tanium, which commissioned Vanson Bourne to survey 750 IT decision-makers across the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan and Canada.
New Look has poached Argos’ head of e-commerce to become its new digital director. Chris Corbin has been at Argos since 2011, being promoted to head of digital trading in 2018. He will now oversee the e-commerce and digital teams at New Look in a newly created role, beginning on 23 March.
Amazon is to launch a new business selling its ‘Just Walk Out’ technology to other retailers. In an interview with Reuters, the retail giant revealed that it is due to launch a website today aimed at selling the tech behind its cashierless Amazon Go stores.
Tesco has agreed to sell its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia to CP Group, following a strategic review. The disposal represents an enterprise value of £8.2 billion on a cash and debt free basis, with net cash proceeds of £8 billion before tax and other transaction costs. Following completion, the board intends to return circa £5 billion to shareholders via a special dividend with associated share consolidation.
Despite the trend of store closures continuing this year, 38 per cent of UK retailers reckon their bricks and mortar outposts are becoming more important to their business. Law firm TLT commissioned GlobalData to interview senior management at 100 UK retailers across food and grocery, fashion and beauty, home, lifestyle and leisure. To compare the retailers’ perspective with the consumer’s, it also interviewed a representative sample of 2,004 UK consumers.
Stormy weather last month caused footfall to fall 7.8 per cent, according to the latest Springboard statistics. The firm’s figures showed that more modest declines in retail parks and shopping centres suggested that the coronavirus outbreak was not a major factor in overall footfall decline. However, Springboard warned the increased severity of the Covid-19 outbreak in recent weeks meant it is likely to bring down shopping activity in March.
Retail industry venture financing deals worth $772 million were announced globally in January, according to GlobalData’s deals database. The value marked a decrease of 24.6 per cent over the previous month and a rise of 9.7 per cent compared with the last 12-month average, which stood at $704 million.
Like-for-like retail sales fell 0.9 per cent in February, according to BDO High Street Sales Tracker. The update blamed storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, along with fears over the coronavirus outbreak.
Boots has suspended payments using loyalty points in-store and online after hackers tried to break into customers' accounts using stolen passwords. Customers will not be able to use Boots Advantage Card points to pay for products while the issue is dealt with, according to BBC News.
John Lewis Partnership is to cut its staff bonus to two per cent, the lowest award since 1953, as new chairman Sharon White revealed profits were down 23 per cent on last year. In a letter to staff, White announced that the business made profits of £123 million in 2019/2020, down from £160 million the previous year. As a result, a two per cent staff bonus, down from three per cent last year, would be a “prudent and affordable” award given the challenging conditions for UK retail.
Dobbies will digitise its entire indoor and outdoor plant range for the Spring after partnering with SmartPlant. The garden centre chain said the move is part of ongoing work to merge its online and oﬄine oﬀering and improve the shopping experience for customers.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that use of coins and banknotes could be spreading coronavirus. In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson for WHO said: “We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses – we would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face.”
Intu has given up on trying to raise up to £1.5 billion, blaming market uncertainty. A statement from the shopping centre explained that potential investors were discouraged due to “poor conditions in the equity market” and the retail property sector.
H&M is planning to shut down its Stoke-on-Trent warehouse, relocating to a new site in Milton Keynes, putting 500 jobs at risk. BBC News reported that XPO Logistics, which runs the Stoke-on-Trent warehouse, stated that the new Milton Keynes warehouse is due to open later this year – with employees given the chance to relocate.
Ant Financial, owner and operator of Chinese payments giant Alipay, has taken a minority stake in payments provider Klarna. This investment supports further development of their strategic cooperation, bringing more of Klarna’s solutions to consumers and merchants within the broader Alibaba ecosystem.
Tesco is to reissue 620,000 Clubcards after fraudulent activity left customer information exposed. The retailer emailed Clubcard members yesterday to explain that hackers were believed to have stolen username and passwords from another website and attempted to use the same details to access Tesco sites.
Business and IT decision-makers working in UK retailers are wasting over a quarter (26 per cent) of their working day on tasks that do not add critical value, with more focus needed on using digital and physical time to promote innovation.This is according to a survey of 2,500 such staff by Vanson Bourne for Dropbox, which found that retailers are engaged in monotonous administrative tasks, with nearly half (49 per cent) saying that increasing employee productivity is a main priority over the next 12 months.
Sustainable online supermarket Farmdrop has signed up to a three year software-as-a-service contract with warehouse management system provider SnapFulfil. The London-based company has moved to optimise its warehousing and distribution efficiencies, choosing cloud-based SnapFulfil for flexibility, functionality and configurability.
N Brown Group is consulting with around 120 members of staff over proposed job cuts as it pushes ahead with strategic transformation plans. Drapers reported that the fashion group, which owns Jacamo and SimplyBe, is cutting positions across the head office and other business operations, affecting around five per cent of total staff of 2,400.
Waitrose has started a national roll-out programme adding its online delivery service to 24 more shops across the country. A statement explained that these shops are strategically placed to handle increased demand for the retailer’s online shopping service in preparation for its split from Ocado.
Ocado has ordered a further 30 natural gas-powered trucks for its distribution fleet. Of that figure, 10 have already gone into service, with the remaining 20 to follow throughout the year.
Kingfisher Group has appointed a new group e-commerce director as it looks to boost online operations. Sue Harries is to take over e-commerce operations for the group, which has 1,300 stores operating under different home improvement brands in nine countries.
BrightHouse has put Grant Thornton on standby to handle a potential administration. Sky News reported that the rent-to-own retailer recorded a surge in customer compensation claims, which has put it close to insolvency – risking around 2,400 jobs across its 250 stores.
Amazon is testing customer service chatbot technology that could produce the first ‘generative chatbot’ capable of original dialogue in real time. A blog posted by Jared Kramer, an applied-science manager on Amazon’s customer service tech team, explained that the e-commerce giant is trialling end-to-end neural-network based chatbots.
AllSaints has partnered with Netacea for protection against unwanted web traffic. Its Enterprise Bot Management solution uses machine learning to analyse bot behaviour, identifying malicious attacks ahead of time in an automated way.
IKEA’s former vice president of digital transformation is to launch a venture developing augmented reality (AR) platforms for retailers. Michael Valdsgaard, who led work on IKEA’s Place app and AR platform, has founded London Dynamics to help retail businesses harness the technology to help customers visualise products in their homes via smartphones.
The UK’s e-commerce market, currently the third largest in the world, is set to be worth £319.8 billion by 2023, according to a new report from Worldpay and FIS. The data was collected using consumer surveys, business-to-business surveys and input from local research teams, with 45,000 consumers surveyed globally.
Homebase has returned to a £3.2 million profit before tax for 2019, compared to a £114.5 million loss in 2018. Like-for-like sales were up 2.6 per cent and gross margin rate was up 2.8 per cent over the year to 29 December, off the back of improvements both in-store and online.
Delivery company Yodel has appointed Helen Marshall to the position of chief information officer. She has been promoted to the position after holding the role of IT director, having previously been director the head of IT services and operations, and director of technology transformation at the business.
Klarna made a loss last year of £87 million, down from a 12.8 million profit in 2018, despite revenues increasing by 31 per cent to £570 million, with 75,000 new merchants using its ‘buy-now-pay-later’ platform. During 2019, the Swedish FinTech reported a doubling of users in the UK to more than seven million, and a sixfold increase in US users.
Tesco has opened its first cashless store, while also making changes to its in-store bakeries this week. The Tesco Express store on High Holborn in central London now has self-service tills which accept a range of electronic payment methods, including debit cards, credit cards and Apple Pay.
Shop prices fell by 0.6 per cent in February, compared to a 0.3 per cent decrease in January, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food prices fell at a higher pace, down 1.9 per cent this month - compared to a 1.5 per cent drop in January - and the highest rate since May 2018.
As part of modernising its online marketplace, eBay is expanding its management of payments to the United Kingdom. Due for roll-out this summer, the company will offer buyers flexibility and choice in payment methods, and give sellers an easier way to manage their businesses.
Amazon is launching a new larger store format, spanning nearly five times the floorspace of its current Amazon Go cashierless convenience stores. The Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill will now accommodate shopping carts and feature around 5,000 goods – compared to the 500 to 700 stocked in the original format.
Online shoppers desire for personalised digital experiences is at odds with demands for privacy, according to Episerver. The digital experience company’s fourth-annual Reimagining Commerce report was based on a survey of more than 4,000 people from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Sweden who shopped digitally in the past year.
Sainsbury’s has hired a former Amazon staffer to head up its e-commerce operations for clothing brand Tu. According to reports in Drapers, the big four retailer has hired Jessica Brown, who most recently led development of the Amazon Alexa as principal product management, after nine years at the online retail giant during which she held several roles, including head of fashion and senior program manager of fashion.
Hammerson has reported a £573.8 million pre-tax loss in the year to 31 December, compared to a £173.3 million loss over the same period in 2018. The shopping centre owner’s overall rental income fell 11.2 per cent year-on-year to £308.5 million, while on an adjusted basis, full year profits declined 10.9 per cent to £214 million.
PUMA has announced a global partnership with Emarsys to enhance its delivery of personalised customer communications across multiple channels and points of sale. Using Emarsys’ omnichannel marketing platform platform, the sports brand will be able to unify data from all consumer touchpoints throughout North America and Europe.
Asda has upgraded its ToYou e-commerce pick-up and drop-off service with new features, including a new website and automated parcel robots. Launched in 2015, the system lets online shoppers choose their local Asda store as a delivery and returns location when purchasing with 115 third-party retailers, including Missguided, ASOS, Feelunique, Gymshark and PrettyLittleThing.
The Insolvency Service paid out £346 million to former employees of businesses that became insolvent during 2019 – with the cost of payouts rising by 16 per cent to the highest level in seven years. A Freedom of Information request made by property adviser Altus Group, which detailed that the number of retail insolvencies in England and Wales rose by 3.9 per cent.
After a surprisingly strong Christmas sales period, retailer hopes of a continuation of such growth into 2020 were dashed in January, with online retail sales growth back in negative territory, down 0.4 per cent year-on-year. The latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index did reveal a few positive stories at a category level, with online beauty retail sales up 7.1 per cent – although this was relatively subdued in comparison to its average growth of 23.3 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile both home and clothing also saw increases of 6.1 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
Bonmarché has reportedly been sold to Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group’s Peacocks. Drapers reported that the Philip Day-owned retailer has acquired the majority of Bonmarché assets, including stock and around 200 of its 270 stores.
Laura Ashley has revealed a loss of £4 million in its interim results for 2019, as the retailer seeks to turn around its finances with a £20 million loan from Wells Fargo. The furnishings and fashion retailer’s interim report for the 26 weeks to 31 December showed losses were up compared to 2018, which saw a £1.5 million pre-tax shortfall, while total like-for-like retail sales were down 10.4 per cent.
Lidl has committed £1.3 billion to expanding its store footprint in the next two years, as the discount retailer opened its 800th UK store. The latest store opening follows a period of rapid growth, with 50 new stores opening in the last 12 months and 16 new stores planned for January and February.
Retail sales grew by 1.2 per cent and 0.9 per cent in January, in terms of the amount spent and the quantity bought respectively, mainly because of a recovery from a weak November and December 2019. This was according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures, which also showed that when compared with a year earlier, both measures reported growth at 2.1 per cent for the amount spent and 0.8 per cent for the quantity bought.
Forever 21 has found a buyer, with Authentic Brands Group and Simon Property Group each acquiring a 37.5 per cent stake and Brookfield Property Partners taking a quarter of the fashion retailer. Authentic Brands stated that the acquisition will boost the value of its brand portfolio to $12.5 billion worth of global annual retail sales. There was no comment from the other two US shopping centre owners.
New research has found that experientialism is crucial to changing shoppers’ behaviour, and could even see them shun online giants and mobile buying in favour of more shopping in store. Global technology firm Epson commissioned Arlington Research to survey 9,750 adults aged 16-65 across 26 countries, who had attended an event or attraction in the last 12 months, finding that 65 per cent would change their shopping behaviour if more shops had an experiential element, rising to 82 per cent of Millennials and 80 per cent of Generation Z.
Beales is set to close its final open stores, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. Sky News reported administrators KPMG as saying that discussions were ongoing with "a number of interest parties" over a sale, but there have so far not been any "deliverable offers", so the process has begun to close remaining branches.
Loop, the online service that delivers refillable versions of big brand products, is set to launch in the UK next month. The Terracycle-owned company is already running in France, in partnership with Carrefour, and the US, in partnership with Kroger and Walgreens. In the UK, Loop is set to work with Tesco when it launches in March.
NearSt has raised £2 million in seed funding to drive more footfall into bricks and mortar stores. The Google-backed UK startup was founded in 2015 by Max Krejin and Nick Brackenbury, using technology to link products on shop shelves in real-time with nearby customers searching online.
Zalando has announced three additions to the company’s senior leadership team. Anne Pascual, who joined the e-commerce platform in March 2017, has been promoted to senior vice president of product design, responsible for “translating group strategy into an inspiring, uniting and leading digital experience”.
Laura Ashley’s Malaysian owner MUI Asia has confirmed it is in talks with its bank Wells Fargo over access to emergency funding. The fashion and furniture retailer revealed that sales fell 10.8 per cent year-on-year in the second half of last year, which it blamed on “market headwinds and weaker consumer spending”. Sales were flat for the first seven weeks of trading this year.
New research has revealed that 81 per cent of retail business have plans to grow and adapt in a post Brexit landscape, with one in 10 planning to move their headquarters to an EU country. Software consultancy ThoughtWorks commissioned research company Maru/Blue to survey a nationally representative sample of 1,026 British business leaders, finding that 19 per cent plan to diversify across more business lines and channels, while 24 per cent will take more business online to reach new audiences.
Reiss has partnered with OneStock to upgrade its omnichannel order management system. The fashion retailer, which operates 230 stores in 15 countries in addition to its online store, has chosen OneStock’s order management software to let it fulfil both digital and in-store orders from any stock location.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for pragmatic solutions on future compliance and regulatory checks that will apply from January 2021, arguing that without these, consumers will face higher costs and reduced availability of goods. The trade association’s new report outlined the retail industry’s priorities for the upcoming government negotiations with the EU.
JD Sports has adopted Laybuy’s buy now, pay later service for online orders in the UK, letting shoppers spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly interest-free payments at checkout. Customers will also have the option to pay more upfront if their credit limit is lower than the total purchase order, using Laybuy Boost.
Marks & Spencer is set to shut two of its clothing distribution centres, putting 662 jobs at risk. The centres in Long Eaton in Derbyshire and Thorncliffe in Sheffield are set to close next year as part of a wider network restructuing to cut costs and improve stock availability.
N Brown Group has partnered with Oracle as it migrates systems to the cloud. The company in charge of JD Williams, Simply Be, Ambrose Wilson and Jacamo is working with Oracle Retail Consulting Services and will implement the Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service to maximize forecast accuracy for the entire product lifecycle.
Westfield’s parent company has scaled new developments pipeline and increased disposals, as net retail income fell across its UK centres last year. Unibail Rodamco Westfield reported a 4.2 per cent decline in like-for-like net rental income in the UK for the year to 31 December – making it the worst performing region for the group, as the US and continental Europe recorded growth of 2.4 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively.
Over fifty major retailers have called on the government to take the first steps towards fundamental business rates reform in the Budget. The letter, coordinated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), focuses on fixing transitional relief – a component of the business rates system.
Mountain clothing and shoes retailer La Sportiva has seen its monthly online sales go from nothing to €85,000 after re-platforming with digital commerce platform Kooomo. The Italian manufacturer employs approximately 280 staff and has four stores in Italy and Spain, with distribution to more than 70 countries worldwide.
Standard Chartered is partnering with Australian FinTech firm Assembly Payments for a new e-commerce venture. The new company, which will be headquartered in Singapore, is aiming to develop “next generation payment solutions” for the $29 million e-commerce industry.
Sainsbury’s has opened a new On The Go city centre store, with plans to roll the concept out to other locations as part of a trial. Located in Mansion House store in the City of London, it combines fresh food and drink with convenient ways to shop.
The Glen Dimplex Group is rolling out a global e-commerce platform for its brands Morphy Richards, Roberts Radio and Faber. The consumer home appliances group has chosen commercetools to provide microservices architecture, meaning it can take a step-by-step approach to e-commerce development, releasing non-transactional product catalogues first and then adding transactional capabilities later.
Ocado has revealed a £214 million pre-tax loss for the year to 1 December, due to heavy investments in robotic warehouses overseas. Despite group sales increasing 9.9 per cent to £1.76 billion, the online grocery business’ earnings before tax fell 27.2 per cent to £43.3 million.
JD Sports has slammed the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after it warned that it could block the planned takeover of sportwear retailer Footasylum.The competition regulator said its investigation into the £90 million acquisition had provisionally found that it could result in a “substantial lessening of competition in the retail supply of sports-inspired casual footwear” across both in-store and online channels in the UK.
Retail sales increased by 0.4 per cent in January on a total basis, against an increase of 2.2 per cent in January 2019, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. Sales were flat on a like-for-like basis from the same month last year, when they had increased 1.8 per cent.
New research has revealed the scale of many merchants’ problem with managing chargebacks in relation to card-not-present payments. Dispute management firm Chargebacks911 surveyed more than 200 online, multi-channel and mobile commerce merchants, finding that ‘friendly fraud’ - when customers contact their bank for a refund on a purchase they made without a legitimate reason - was the number one cause of chargebacks.
Selfridges managing director Simon Forster has left after just over a year in the role. The Sunday Telegraph reported that he left last week due to a loss of confidence in his leadership. The department store stated that he left to “pursue other interests”, while the paper quoted insiders saying it was a mutual agreement after concerns were raised over the direction of Selfridges and its culture.
Retail footfall declined by just 0.5 per cent year-on-year in January, with shopping centre footfall rising for the first time in three years. Springboard’s latest statistics showed an increase in footfall for both shopping centres and retail parks – 0.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.
Marks & Spencer has expanded its Mobile Pay Go checkout-free payment technology to 50 stores, 49 of which are in London. The roll-out follows a trial across a selection of London stores - Edgware Road, Bankside, Waterside Paddington, West Hampstead, Canary Wharf and Stratford Westfield - where there was a Mobile Pay Go transaction every three seconds during lunchtime.
John Lewis’ new chairman has warned staff that there could be jobs cuts and store closures on the horizon amid tough trading conditions. Sharon White, former chief executive of Ofcom, used her maiden speech to staff to set out the “difficult decisions” the retailer is facing, following a lacklustre Christmas trading period, which left the John Lewis staff bonus in doubt.
Almost 2,000 appeals a week are made by companies over their business tax rates, according to the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). In the fourth quarter last year, 23,660 premises liable for business rates appealed over their bills, bringing the ‘Checks and Challenges’ total by retailers, bars, restaurants and offices for 2019 to 164,050 since a revaluation of business rates came into effect on 1 April 2017.
Deliverr has secured $40 million in a Series C funding round, as it prepares to do battle with Amazon Prime in the quick delivery space. The funding round was led by Activant Capital, alongside 8VC, GLP and Flexport founder Ryan Peterson; bringing its total investment so far to over $70 million.
Amazon has given a preview of the design for 100,000 new electric delivery vans, as the e-commerce giant focusses on building the world’s most sustainable transportation fleet. A video published to the Amazon news channel showed clay models of the custom-designed van, produced by electric vehicle (EV) startup Rivian. The blue vehicle will feature Alexa integration with voice commands to help drivers finds packages in the van and central screen with a digital instrument cluster.
Marks & Spencer has appointed Katie Bickerstaffe as its new chief strategy and transformation director. She is currently a non-executive director of the company, and will make the move on 27 April, serving on the M&S board and operating committee.
Failed e-commerce projects cost direct-to-consumer (D2C) retailers an average of £174,000 last year, according to Greenlight Commerce and BigCommerce research. The pair commissioned a survey of 100 D2C retail decision-makers in the UK, finding that 98 per cent were facing some sort of e-commerce challenge, with nearly three quarters expecting the number of projects they carry out to increase this year.
WHSmith is partnering with payments platform Laybuy to offer online customers a buy now, pay later option. This will let customers spread the cost of online purchases over six weekly instalments on an interest-free basis.
IKEA has announced plans to close its Coventry store this summer, amid declining footfall as shoppers switch to online.It marks the first time the Swedish furniture and homeware giant has closed a UK store. Built in 2007, the city location was one the earliest examples of a new store format aimed at catering to changing customer expectations.
Wilko has promoted its group transformation director and online managing director, Jerome Saint-Marc, to become chief executive. This marks the first time someone has held the role since Stuart Mitchell stepped down in 2012.
Most shoppers are now ready and waiting for retailers to implement innovative payment methods and in-store technologies to improve their shopping experience. This is according to survey of 6,000 consumers commissioned by Wirecard and carried out in the fourth quarter last year in select countries in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas.
John Lewis & Partners is testing new augmented reality functionality in its app and over 123 of the shops best selling sofas. The Virtual Sofa feature lets users place prospective chairs and couches into a 3D scan of their own rooms, playing with different positions, upholstery options and colour swatches.
Retail chief executive turnover is at its highest level in seven years, according to new research highlighting the torrid conditions on the High Street. Consultancy Korn Ferry’s data suggested that the UK’s retail industry replaced 55 CEOs in 2019, up 25 per cent on 44 in 2018. The rate of churn is the highest since 2012.
Hermes has revealed plans to build a new automated parcel distribution hub in Barnsley. Due for completion in 2022, the £60 million development will be the largest of its kind in Europe and will create around 1,300 new jobs in the area. Up to 800 people will work on site during shifts.
Barclaycard has announced a new partnership with e-commerce platform BigCommerce to introduce an integrated payments solution for online retailers across the UK and Europe. Barclaycard’s infrastructure will integrate directly into the BigCommerce platform, which will allow merchants to have their payments system set up within days rather than weeks or months, with a dedicated support team from the start.
H&M has revealed that it will move towards using its 5,000-strong store network as logistical hubs for online stock, as the company looks to boost its digital growth. According to the Financial Times, the Swedish fashion giant will reshape its physical store strategy to reflect the growing demand for online shopping.
Online construction materials supplier CMO Stores has partnered with Peak to implement artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology into its six digital superstores. The Customer AI solution will provide predictive recommendations by learning from customers' interactions with the websites.
A majority (54 per cent) of UK shoppers don’t care whether customer service is provided by a robot or a human, as long as their issue is resolved fast, according to research from Genesys. The omnichannel customer service firm commissioned Vitreous World to survey 800 consumers in the UK, finding that 28 per cent would never deal with a bot, while 48 per cent use them for solving simple and transactional queries; such as checking a bank account balance.
Formulate has closed a late-seed round worth €3.7 million, led by henQ with participation from Industrifonden and J12 Ventures. The Swedish artificial intelligence-driven retail promotion platform will use the investment for international expansion and growing its team.
Farfetch has raised $250 million by selling convertible senior notes to Tencent and Dragoneer. Chinese tech giant Tencent purchased $125 million of the notes, while San Francisco-based investment firm Dragoneer bought the remaining $125 million, with the funds being used to execute its growth plans, including moves into the Chinese market, and driving towards operational profitability.
Amazon has posted a better-than-expected 21 per cent jump in sales for the Christmas trading period, as the e-commerce giant continues to reap the benefits of its Prime delivery service. The results for the final three months of 2019 saw $87.4 billion worth of sales, compared with $72.4 billion for the same period the previous year.
Laura Ashley chief executive and executive director Kwan Cheong Ng will step down from his position on 30 April, although he will remain part of the board as a non-executive director. The women’s fashion and homeware retailer’s current chief operating officer Katharine Poulter will succeed Ng in both positions, effective from 1 May.
H&M Group chairman Stefan Persson will step down after more than 20 years in the role, to be succeeded by his son and current chief executive Karl-Johan Persson. The clothing retailer’s full-year trading update further explained that chief operating officer Helena Helmersson will be promoted to chief executive, effective today.
Two thirds (67 per cent) of e-commerce companies say they feel they need to work with Amazon as it continues to dominate the online economy. A Censuswide survey of 503 senior decision-makers in digital commerce, for retail consultancy Wunderman Thompson Commerce, found that 72 per cent said that they felt compelled to invest more in their presence on the Amazon marketplace in order to remain competitive, as the majority of product searches are on its platform.
Frasers Group has got the all clear from the Belgian authorities over an alleged failure to pay a €674 million tax bill. The company formerly known as Sports Direct International revealed in its delayed full-year report last July that the Belgian taxman was “requesting further information in relation to, amongst other things, the tax treatment of goods being moved intra-group throughout the EU via Belgium”.
December saw $2.78 billion worth of retail industry mergers and acquisitions (M&A), according to GlobalData. The data platform’s deals database registered an increase of 127.7 per cent in the last month of 2019, compared to the previous month, although this represented a fall of 41.5 per cent compared to the previous 12-month average, which stood at $4.75 billion.
The Debenhams Group has appointed Stephen Sunnucks as a non-executive director of parent company Celine Jersey Topco. He joins the retailer as it pushes ahead with its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) programme of store closures aimed at restructuring the company’s finances.
Adoption of point of sale (PoS) credit services remains low, but the speed at which consumers are signing up for them means the £10 billion market is growing at more than 15 per cent per year. This is according to research by consulting firm Kearney, which surveyed 2,239 UK consumers in the autumn, which showed that 41 per cent have never used PoS credit services, and those who so use them do so infrequently – on average only 2.4 times during the past five years.
Shop prices fell by 0.3 per cent in January, compared to a 0.4 per cent decrease in December. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures showed that non-food prices fell by 1.5 per cent in January, the same rate of decrease as in December.
New York’s city council has approved new legislation which will see any retailer which does not accept physical currency face a significant fine. After being voted in almost unanimously, the bill is now awaiting approval from New York mayor Bill De Blasio before being enforced across the city.
Sainsbury’s has announced plans to invest £1 billion towards making its operations emit a ‘net zero’ of emissions by 2040. The supermarket chain stated it would take action to cut carbon emissions, food waste, plastic packaging and water use, while increasing recycling and sustainable initiatives.
Reiss has reported an 18 per cent rise in like-for-like sales over the Christmas trading period, as owner Warburg Pincus continues its search for a buyer. The upmarket fashion retailer said total group sales were up 21 per cent in the seven weeks to 18 January, defying the wider performance on the UK High Street over the festive period.
Nearly 10,000 retail jobs have been lost in the first three weeks of 2020, according to new research.Data from the Centre for Retail Research and Altus Group found that 9,949 retail roles have already been axed this year, as a swathe of brands shuttered stores to mark the start of another torrid year for the UK High Street.
Iceland has become the latest UK supermarket to start a restructuring review, although it has promised no “major reductions” across its 25,000-strong workforce. A statement from the discount chain explained the review is to ensure it is running the “business as efficiently and economically as possible”.
Tesco is using Ocado’s tech partner Swisslog to help roll-out automated robots at its logistics centres across the UK. According to The Grocer, Swisslog will provide an automated pallet retrieval and storage system, using machines riding on conveyor belts to pick up and drop off products.
Morrisons is to axe 3,000 manager roles to boost its shop-floor workforce by 7,000. The big four supermarket said the managerial staff affected will either leave the company or see their roles downgraded, as the chain looks to reorient its business model to “serve customers better”.
As automation technology matures, it is increasingly becoming a point of competitive advantage for retailers, with consumers responding positively to the improved convenience, according to the Capgemini Research Institute. During October and November, it surveyed 5,110 consumers across North America, Europe and Asia, along with 500 senior executives at director level and above, spread across the world. Retail sub-sectors included: electronics, grocery, home improvement, fashion and quick service restaurants.
As shoppers continue to shift away from visiting physical stores and towards digital channels, UK online spend is set to reach £75 billion by 2024, rising 30.4 per cent over the next five years. This is according to GlobalData, whose latest report suggested that the online channel will account for 19.8 per cent of UK retail spend by 2024, with clothing and footwear remaining the largest product sector.
Revenues at Asos reached £1 billion during the Black Friday and Christmas Trading period thanks to the return of “customer momentum”. A trading update posted by the e-commerce fashion brand disclosed a 20 per cent rise in retail sales in the four months to 31 December to £1.1 billion, with a good performance across all regions. UK retail sales came in at £408.9 million for the period.
The total global annual spend on point of sale (PoS) software by retail and restaurant businesses will grow to $1.7 billion in 2024 from $1.1 billion in 2019. According to Juniper Research, this growth will be fuelled by the increasing availability of app integrations, such as Shopify and QuickBooks, as vendors expand and seek to augment their capabilities through partnerships and consolidation.
Mothercare chief executive Mark Newton-Jones has today stepped down as part of the embattled retailer’s transformation plans. Chief financial officer Glyn Hughes has been drafted in as interim chief executive officer with immediate effect, with Newton-Jones due to remain as an executive director until July.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, the total number of retail employees fell by 1.8 per cent year-on-year, marking the 16th consecutive quarter of year-on-year decline in the retail workforce. According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), this decline in retail employees year-on-year, when applied to the Office for National Statistics fourth quarter 2018 figure of 3,183,000 employees, equates to 57,000 job losses since then.
UK online retail sales growth spiked to 9.4 per cent year-on-year in December, bringing 2019 to a close with a strong Christmas trading period. This was according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.
Marks & Spencer has expanded its retail, operations and property leadership team with the appointment of Will Smith as property director and Helen Milford as retail director. Both will report into retail, operations and property director Sacha Berendji, who commented: “Building a store estate that’s fit for the future with industry-leading store operations and empowered colleagues is a key part of our transformation programme.”
Visa is joining with its partner banks to launch an industry-wise ‘access to cash’ scheme aimed at incentivising retailers to offer cashback in areas of UK where ATMs and bank branches are limited. The new initiative will incentivise shops and businesses to offer cashback to consumers using their Visa debit cards, prioritising rural and remote communities. It is hoped to also encourage individuals to visit and shop in their local communities, driving footfall and revenue for independent retailers.
Reiss has reported a four per cent sales rise as a direct result of the increase in stock accuracy from implementing a new RFID solution. The fashion retailer completed its roll-out of a Detego solution in May last year, in partnership with technology consultants Retail247.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe is set to leave after six years in the role, along with cuts to several other head office positions. A statement explained that he would remain in post until the end of May, after which he will be replaced by current retail and operations director Simon Roberts from 1 June.
The number of profit warnings issued by UK companies hit an “exceptionally high” level in 2019, with a third of FTSE-listed retailers raising the alarm, according to EY. The quarterly profit warnings report from the professional services firm found that a total of 313 warnings were issued by FTSE-listed companies in 2019, up nine per cent on the 287 issued in 2018.
While half of the British public are comfortable using facial recognition to unlock their phones, only a third are willing to use the technology to pay for goods and services. OnBuy analysed the latest findings from Mindshare, which surveyed 5,000 Brits to discover how comfortable they are using biometric systems which capture the geometry of an individual’s face to verify and authenticate them.
Annual revenues from tokenised mobile payments - where account details are replaced with data useless to fraudsters - are set to exceed $40 billion by 2024, growing from an estimated $17 billion in 2019. Of this, over $30 billion will be through remote e-commerce, rather than contactless payments at the point of sale.
Amazon is working with Visa to develop a contactless biometric identification system to let customers to pay by waving their hands through a scanner. The Wall Street Journal reported that the e-commerce giant is working with Visa, and is in discussions with MasterCard, to test its hand scanner terminals, which will digitally map a shopper’s hand, link it to their credit card and allow them to pay with a wave.
Asda is testing 3D holograms, electronic shelf labels and other new technologies to try and make both its staff’s lives easier and customers’ shopping experience better. The grocery chain’s Stevenage store is a testbed for more than 20 different initiatives, including 3D holographic signs in the store’s bakery department which advertise products and tell customers how to use its Scan & Go technology.
Dixons Carphone has appointed Lindsay Haselhurst as its new chief supply chain officer. She was previously global supply and logistics director at Kingfisher, and will now report to chief executive Alex Baldock after taking up the role on 27 January.
A mystery shopping exercise has revealed that many of London’s prime shopping outlets are inadequately prepared for the many Chinese tourists predicted to visit the UK. Digital commerce firm JGOO visited 107 retail outlets in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and New Bond Street during December 2019, finding that only a very small minority had both staff that could speak Mandarin and accepted China’s leading mobile payment platforms WeChat Pay and Alipay.
N Brown has partnered with fashion personalisation platform True Fit to integrate data-driven personalisation across its portfolio of fashion brands. The True Confidence and True Discovery solutions are now available for customers when buying products from JD Williams, Simply Be, Jacamo, Ambrose Wilson and Fashion World.
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.