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Screen on the Green presents Future of F&B

The Screen on the Green is a cinema in North London that has a majestic history, having played host to some thought-provoking bands. It is also the location for the Future of Food & Beverage’ seminar hosted by Portland. Retail Insider has long been an advocate of the theory that the leisure and retail industries […]

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Retailers must avoid alienating the ‘un-cool kids’

School can be a nightmare and one of the worst anybody can suffer is to be the last person to be picked when the selections are made for sporting teams. And let’s not even go near the potential embarrassment of being left on the sidelines of school dances/discos/proms. While being left out can be a […]

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Fashion rental firms not the threat many retailers envisaged

One of the big trends among Millennials is the embracing of a mentality of renting goods rather than purchasing them outright – hence the growth in market leaders like Rent the Runway. The obvious assumption here is that these organisations will take sales away from traditional retailers. This is not entirely correct. Hence the counter-intuitive […]

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Retail Insider Breakfast – Richard Pennycook, CEO, The Co-operative Group

Retail Insider held its latest Breakfast Event with Richard Pennycook, CEO of The Co-operative Group, who recalled his early period at the company when there was a real chance the business would not survive the crisis at its banking arm. The first six to nine months of any turnaround are focused very much on survival […]

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Entering the era of the data analyst and number cruncher

It seems that we might now be well and truly entering the era of the data and digital analyst in the retail industry. Recent research from OC&C Strategy Consultants found that 60,000 new digital and analytical roles will be urgently required by 2020 in the fashion industry alone. This is a big number and highlights […]

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Retail Insider ‘Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report launch with Simon Belsham, CEO of Notonthehighstreet.com

Retail Insider celebrated the launch of the Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100 report with an evening event involving the CEO of a leading online retailer and a tutored craft beer tasting. The event at Sourced Market Marylebone attracted senior executives from a variety of retailers including John Lewis, House of Fraser and Reiss […]

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Innovative Retailer – Pro Direct

The Name: Pro Direct The Place: Basically an online family business based in Devon with 350 staff and a big warehouse. But also boasting one stupendous shop in Carnaby Street, W1. The Story: Ah, websites and shops. How to integrate them. One of the great retail questions of the day. Is it? Yes. Often there […]

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Marks & Spencer leaps up table of best performing UK online drinks retailers in August

Marks & Spencer has the most improved drinks website in August according to its progress up the table of the Top UK drinks sites tested during the month, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse, as it climbs 13 places into eighth spot. The retailer achieved a score of 4.02 […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Matt Truman, CEO of True Capital

Matt Truman, CEO, True Capital 1.What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? There is a fundamental lack of growth in the retail industry but we are investing in disruptive businesses. There is a step-change in the value proposition for customers and the incumbents cannot compete. Take ‘Tyres On The […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A – Brian McBride, chairman of Asos and Wiggle

Brian McBride, chairman of Asos and Wiggle 1. What is the greatest opportunity for the retail businesses you are involved with? I think every e-commerce business has the same phenomenal opportunity as we can clearly see the percentage of the retail market served by online rising inexorably daily, weekly, and monthly. If we perform averagely […]

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Digital Retail Innovations Report 2016 launched

The ‘Digital Retail Innovations Report 2016’ has launched with Amazon commandeering the top end of the table with three innovations listed in the top 10 places. To access the report please click on the link below: Digital-Innovations-Report-2016 This year’s report, sponsored by Webloyalty, includes the Top 50 innovations in the UK and Ireland so it […]

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The Whisky Shop returns to top spot among major UK online drinks retailers in June

Specialist whisky retailer The Whisky Shop has delivered the most improved performance in the table of the Top UK drinks websites in June, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse, and shares the top spot with Budgens this month. It climbs four places with a score of 5.58 out of […]

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Learnings from the world’s best B&B

Who would have believed that the world’s best B&B is a modestly proportioned place in the small village of Masham in North Yorkshire. But it’s true and Millgate Bed & Breakfast sits proudly atop the pile. When reading the Times newspaper recently I came across an article about the guest house that was set up […]

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Ultimate ‘Online Mystery Shopper’ service launching September

The table of the top online drinks retailers published each month by Retail Insider is to be re-launched in September as a ranking of the results from an ‘Online Mystery Shopper’ service provided by Sitemorse that will accurately reflect the experiences faced by customers online. It will be the ultimate authoritative measure of real customer […]

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Budgens reclaims top spot in table of the major UK online drinks retailers in March

Convenience store business Budgens has reclaimed the number one spot in the table of the Top UK drinks websites in March, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse. It moves up one place to head the table after Spar (UK) has lost some momentum and slips four places. Such moves […]

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Reductions in retail employment far from a done deal

Recent figures from the BRC predicting that the number of people employed in the retail sector will reduce from a present three million to nearer two million by 2025 paints a very worrying picture. In the same way that retailers are having to completely overhaul their IT infrastructures, they are also embarking on serious reinventions […]

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The day Venda tried to sue me out of my house

Watching Powa Technologies call in the administrators Deloitte last week was very sad but not necessarily that surprising to the market. In my opinion, even though its founder Dan Wagner had been claiming it was worth almost £2 billion a few months ago, his businesses suggest this was more about over-hyping than actual reality. The […]

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CMA crack-down on unmarked sponsored content

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) publicly shamed five brands in February for suppressing negative reviews and not providing a ‘complete picture (for consumers) when making buying decisions’. The CMA renewed its commitment to ensure transparency in user generated content (UGC) in January, and is on the prowl for firms misrepresenting themselves on third-party sites […]

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Santa’s European delivery schedule is revealed

It’s that time of year again and with 45% of people stating they will do most of their Christmas shopping online, postal and carrier companies are going to have a bigger job than ever keeping up the pace to deliver gifts on time. But, across Europe, gift giving is far from identical and not just […]

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Retail Insider Breakfast + Movers & Shakers Top 100 Launch

Retail Insider held its latest breakfast event with Andy Harding, chief customer officer at House of Fraser, who helped launch the Multi-channel Movers & Shakers 2015 report. Senior executives from John Lewis, B&Q, New Look, White Company and T2 were among those who not only heard how House of Fraser is tackling the move to […]

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From auction to fixed price in only 20 years for EBay

Time flies when you’re having fun. Can it really be 20 years since Pierre Omidyar created eBay and sold the very first item on what was then a rather unusual beast – an online marketplace. Since then there have been marketplaces opened up by all and sundry but none have gained the presence that eBay […]

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Start-ups need to show a clean pair of heels

Making a return visit to the young meat retailer Muddy Boots as it begins to grow-up has thrown some interesting light on the challenges faced by a typical start-up and how important it is to constantly flex the model. Having initially been a branded supplier to Ocado and Waitrose of meat products the company 15 […]

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Disabled Access Day – boosting the ‘purple pound’

Retailers have made great strides in improving disabled access over the past few years but there is still much more that can be done. Thousands of businesses are losing out on revenue by not offering adequate disabled access. The former Minister for Disabled People claimed last year that UK high streets could be overlooking £212 […]

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Michael Durbridge, director of omni-channel, B&Q

Michael Durbridge, director of omni-channel, B&Q 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? We’ve the right mix of a large number of stores and ambitions for digital growth. We kicked off our five-year digital plan two years ago and believe the home improvement market is big and made for digital. People research, they […]

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Doddle ranked top digital retail innovation 2015

Doddle has been ranked the leading innovation in the second annual ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations’ report 2015 ahead of Starbucks pay ahead app and Waitrose Hiku home scanning solution. The high placing of Doddle reflects the prominence of logistics solutions in this year’s report and highlights how retailers are still grappling with fulfilment and […]

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Retail’s disastrous use of social media

Arguably the most important customers to retailers are those whose spending power will increase over time and who therefore represent the future revenue streams of merchants.   These are the younger generation and it is they who are, not surprisingly most courted by retailers, advertisers, and brand owners. Everybody wants their custom. What connects these […]

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GS1 developing digital solutions for multichannel

Consumers’ appetite for multichannel retail is posing many challenges to merchants and brand owners, but one thing they are all certain of is the increased power of digital channels. Over time they have also become aware of the need to not only improve how their product data is structured online – but also to better […]

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Black day Black Friday

In almost 20 years of commenting on the retail sector the past week has been one of the least enjoyable. The reason for this is the dark cloud that Black Friday has cast over the industry. Firstly, it has been the level of bandwagon jumping by retailers, service providers, research houses, commentators, and media channels, […]

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Innovative Retailer – Sourced Market

The Name: Sourced Market The Place: For now only in the capital with the flagship in St Pancras station but there are several others in the pipeline including a site near Victoria station for 2016 and leases on the table for two others. All other sites are under wraps. If I told you I’d have […]

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‘Movers & Shakers in Multi-channel / E-commerce 2014 Top 100’ launched

Paul Coby and Mark Lewis of John Lewis top the fifth annual ‘Retail Insider Top 100 Movers & Shakers in Multi-channel/e-commerce’ report that celebrates the achievements of the people operating in this most dynamic part of the retail industry. They are followed by John Walden and Bertrand Bodson of Home Retail Group and just behind […]

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Retail Insider Wine Event – John Bovill, IT and e-commerce director at Monsoon Accessorize

Retail Insider held its latest Event this week – with a combined English Wine Tasting and talk by John Bovill, IT and e-commerce director at Monsoon Accessorize – that highlighted the challenges of both increasing the acceptance/awareness of English wines and taking retailers on the multi-channel journey. Senior executives from Tesco, Waitrose, HMV, and Dobbies […]

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Innovative Retailer – Makers Cafe

The Name: Makers Café The Place: Shoreditch (for now). The Story: We’re hot off the mark on this one. This place has only been around for a fortnight or so but such has been the interest…   Go right ahead. OK, I give you ‘the myth of manufacturing’ – making things is hard, dirty work. […]

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Viewpoint – stores downsizing and clothes upsizing

Retail Insider and K3 bring you a monthly column taking a look at some of the most pertinent and interesting topics of the day in the big wide world of retail. Downsizing on the up Downsizing is definitely the name of the game today as the move towards multi-channel continues to force retailers to re-assess […]

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Insiders’ view of the world of headhunting

‘Excerpts from the life of a head-hunter’ working in the leisure/hospitality/retail sectors. [Unfortunately such is the sensitivity of the head-hunting profession that it is rarely possible that the names of the Insiders’ clients can be divulged] 12:30pm Tuesday Feb 4 – Private equity for lunch? As described in my previous column, the owner of the innovative […]

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Facing up to wardrobing and returns headache

The term ‘wardrobing’ is a little like friendly fire – a lot more dangerous than it sounds. Neither is harmless and cuddly. We’ve written about this issue on Retail Insider before (link to article from Nov) and it is a problem that hits all retailers, but especially those selling via catalogue or online, as they […]

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Morrisons Cellar performs poorly among drinks retail sites

Having launched with a great fanfare, the innovative website Morrisons Cellar has performed disappointingly during December, in the ranked table of the UK’s leading drinks retailing websites, which follows declines in previous months. When the dedicated Morrisons site for wine launched in June it placed in 15th spot in the table but it has since […]

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Amazon best-selling books + Missed hit toys

Welcome to a new monthly column the ‘Data Insider Insight’ double-bill that gives the Top 10 best selling books on the Amazon Market Place in the UK as well as a changing table of 10 ‘under-the-radar’ products – beginning with toys this month. Data supplied by Research Farm reveals that the top 10 books for […]

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Innovative Retailer – Timpson

The Name: Timpson The Place: Little tiny outlets all over the UK, providing those useful old-fashioned services like key cutting, cobbling, dry cleaning, house sign engraving. Around 1,020 in all but doing so well it should/could be 1,500 before you know it. The Story: Quick question – if you wanted your precious house door keys […]

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Online bottled beer market wide open

Premium bottled beers continue to see rising sales and within this category the beers from smaller craft breweries are enjoying spectacular growth. The market for these beers continues to grow alongside increased brewery numbers and the universe of pubs that stock such beers maintains its upward trajectory. The younger male drinker is at the forefront […]

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New Retail Insider

Eagle-eyed readers of Retail Insider might well have noticed that the site has undergone something of a change this week. Moving to a new platform will provide much greater flexibility in the way information is conveyed to the readership and will also offer the opportunity for greater interaction. It might also have been noticed that […]

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Smaller brewers open up attack on new font

Cask ales from smaller producers are enjoying an ongoing strong period of growth, which has led to a dramatic increase in the number of brewers. More brewers and more beers The Good Beer Guide for 2013 showed the number of brewers in the UK had surpassed 1,000 representing a significant increase on the lows the […]

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Still in love with the free market

The bankers have rather sullied the notion of the free market but there are still many examples where a light touch or zero intervention has its merits. This week I came across an example on Amazon where you have to love the market giant’s liberal stance. But also the ballsy approach taken by the publishers […]

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Is the internet really that convenient?

Buying goods on the internet was once purely about paying a lesser price than when purchasing the same items from a shop on the high street. Buying online = time for other things Plenty of research has since shown that this is no longer the case and the primary reason that consumers buy online is […]

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Innovative Retailer – Paper & Cup

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: Paper & Cup The Place: Shoreditch, London E2 (and soon also in Mile End, London E3) The Story: Mixing hospitality and charity is not easy. Well-meaning it may be but stylish it usually ain’t. Until now. Step forward Paper & Cup, recently opened by Diane Abbott […]

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Lovehoney Week – Top 10 best sellers

Lovehoney Week continues with the big announcement that the online adult products company has launched a range of branded ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ products. The success of the book has led to a collaboration between Lovehoney and the book’s author E L James to develop a range of merchandise that featured in the publication. The […]

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It’s Lovehoney Week on Retailinsider.com…

Ann Summers has been the acceptable face of the adult market for some time and has largely had the category all to itself. But not any more. Fuelled by being featured on a Channel 4 documentary this year and the publication of the ’50 Shades of  Grey’ book, the online business Lovehoney has leapt to […]

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Retail Species – the pioneer

The Person: Julia Stafford The Company: The Wine Pantry The Job Title: Director The Story: There she was just minding her own business, working in the City on the legal shipping side of the oil and gas industry, dealing with liability and pollution claims. And just when it all seems settled your honour she winds […]

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Guest Slot – Analysis Insider – Sarah Wilson

  It’s not too big a secret that for many retailers their best performing stores are based in travel locations – namely airports and train stations. It is no wonder therefore that spaces like the high-gothic St Pancras station and the glass palace that is Heathrow’s Terminal 5 are locations that retailers are taking more […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Jo Molineux of Republic

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Jo Molineux, head of multi-channel at Republic 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Republic is a brand about fashion and music and therefore strategically we aim to be the most relevant and interesting youth brand to 15-25 year olds. The biggest opportunity is to understand […]

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Innovative Retailers – Notonthehighstreet.com

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: Notonthehighstreet.com (NOTHS) The Place: Headquartered in Richmond The Story: Venture capital firms line up to throw money at this business because buying hand made artisan crafts and gifts is so now. And that is exactly what Notonthehighstreet.com does. The stuff is unique, British,  often ethically produced, […]

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Retail Species – the operational turnaround man

The Person:Chris Yates The Company: Jessops The Job Title: Retail Director The Story: Chris Yates describes himself as ambitious with a small ‘a’. New jobs seek him out rather than the usual way round but he’s been head-hunted from pillar to post in the last few years and now finds himself on the board of […]

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Shops and pubs are about community

It is not exactly difficult to work out why shopping centre landlords have sought to bump-up the number of restaurants and cafes in their properties. It is the same reason why the number of coffee shops and eateries has continued to increase in many town centres.   Social action in the shopping centre food court. People […]

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Aldi Tops Drinks Retail Websites Table

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and Cookie Reports  Discount retailer Aldi is the new name at the head of the table of the Top 25 UK’s leading drinks retailing websites for July, which was a month of great change including a serious climb up the table by Naked Wines. Aldi pushed aside last month’s leader […]

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Innovative Retailers – Hubbub

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: Hubbub The Place: Islington but if they have their way all over the place in five year’s time The Story: Marisa Leaf  was all set  to save the world, working long and hard as a human rights lawyer. Trouble was the hours were so long and […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Rowan Gormley of Naked Wines

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Rowan Gormley, founder of Naked Wines 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Our aim is to get the best winemakers in the world making wine exclusively for Naked Wines’ customers. We can do this by offering them what they want more than anything else…the ability […]

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Retail Species – The networked internet pro – David Smith

The Person: David Smith The Company: GLD Group The Job Title: Head of e-commerce The Story: Cast your minds back. To a distant and forgotten time in space when an organisation as big as the Football Association did not need to have a website and JJB Sports, the official retailer of England kit, did not […]

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Packaging makes all the difference

For followers of fashion Biba is still held in great esteem as a pioneer of stylish clothing and its name is well known by most people over a certain age. But what is little known about the business is that it also had a (ultimately fateful) foray into retailing everything from baked beans to dog […]

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Bed sales are not a dream

One of the UK’s most unusual luxury hotels recently opened its doors for the first time to welcome adventurous sea-loving guests.  Concrete fortress turns hotel. The hotel has been carved out of Spitbank Fort – one of three concrete fortress structures built in the late 1800s a good 15 minutes out to sea off the […]

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Short & Sweet Movers & Shakers Q&A with Alan White of N.Brown

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Alan White, CEO of N. Brown Group 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? There is still a great opportunity to improve our online conversion by trading the web more effectively. 2. What is the biggest challenge to your business? Undoubtedly it is the lack […]

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True collaborative approach from pub chain

Who knows of any retail collaborations between store managers and manufacturers? There might be many reasons to argue that the leisure sector is behind that of retail (this recent guest column highlights some of them) but a recent collaboration run by pub chain Nicholson’s was truly innovative and I’m not sure if this sort of […]

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Guest Post – Tesco’s move into the Marketplace: Star move or problem child?

Tesco’s highly anticipated launch of its marketplace last month may have been a quiet internal affair but it’s likely to set off a number of waves across the online retail market. The store’s decision to compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay may have come as a surprise to some but at eSellerPro, we […]

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Innovative Retailers – All About Food

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: All About Food The Place: On the shelves of all the leading food retailers and one restaurant in Dartington, Devon.   The Story: OK, so it’s not strictly a retailer, or a manufacturer, or a distributor. It’s more of a licensee. But it’s a cracking idea […]

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Top 25 Drinks Retail websites for May

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and Cookie Reports The upper echelon of the UK’s drinks retail websites are performing more strongly in May than last month, according to the monthly Top 25 UK websites for drinks retailers, produced exclusively by website testing specialist Sitemorse. All the top five this month scored more highly than the […]

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Retail Species – The serial entrepreneur – Luke Johnson

The Person: Luke Johnson The Company:  Too many to mention but Pizza Express if you insist we name one of his ventures The Job Title: Serial retail entrepreneur So there’s  young Luke Johnson all set up to be a doctor, studying medicine at Oxford, a steady profession  if ever there was one and he gives […]

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Spitalfields – from strip-joints to hip joints

As recent as the 1990s walking around the area near Spitalfields Market and Shoreditch after work involved being propositioned by prostitutes and the pubs in the area invariably supplied a basic cocktail of lager, peanuts and strippers. Spitalfields as it was. As for shops. There weren’t any. Fast forward to today and its blindingly obvious […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Jonathan Wall of Shop Direct Group

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Jonathan Wall, Group e-commerce Director at Shop Direct Group 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?We definitely see mobile as our greatest opportunity and, more specifically, using it to gain market share from other retailers by being connected 24/7 with our customers – especially while […]

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DFS and Morrison’s crank-up vertical integration

My grandparents lived in a village on the outskirts of Doncaster called Carcroft, which is where the 40-plus year-old DFS was founded and is still based. Made in Doncaster. I can recall a school trip to the factory where its founder Lord Kirkham (it was just Graham in those days) proudly explained how the sofas […]

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Innovative Retailers – Boxpark

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: Boxpark The Place:Bethnal Green Road, London E1 The Story: Take the man behind the fashion brand Boxfresh and let him loose with 60 empty shipping containers. Offer brand owners short-term leases instead of the usual mammoth tie-ins and watch as they trip over themselves to use […]

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Guest Slot – Analysis Insider – Sarah Wilson

Fast-forward five years from now and the question being asked about pure play retailers will be how exactly do they survive without taking advantage of trading across multiple channels including physical stores? Having no stores will be seen as a mistake. Shoppers will find it rather strange that they can only buy from them online […]

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Retail Species – The founder – Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt

The Person: Nick Wheeler The Company: Charles Tyrwhitt The Job Title: Founder and Owner Some people start making money seriously early don’t they?Certainly do. The young Wheeler was a mere student in arms when he set up shirt maker and clothing retailer Charles Tyrwhitt in 1986. In fact he had no choice but to found […]

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Pubs should run rings around Olympics

To any overseas visitors coming to these shores for the Olympic Games the organisers of the event would have you believe that the main beers produced in the UK are Heineken and its sister brands John Smith’s and Strongbow. London + Olympics = Heineken! They’d also have you believe that we don’t have anything more […]

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Retailinsider.com Top 25 Drinks Retail Websites

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and Cookie Reports Welcome to the inaugural Retailinsider.com monthly ‘Drinks Retail Website Index’ that ranks the Top 25 UK websites for drinks retailers, which has been produced exclusively by website testing specialist Sitemorse. The objective is to give a cross-section of the category with the constituents comprising large grocers, pure-play […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Simon Russell of John Lewis

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Simon Russell, director of retail operations development at John Lewis 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? We have a great opportunity to further integrate a very successful department store business and a rapidly growing online business to produce a really compelling omni-channel business. Naturally our […]

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Retail Species – The unlikely entreprenuer – Claire Robertson of Wellchester

The Person: Claire Robertson The Company: WellchesterThe Job Title: Manager This is going to be a feel-good column isn’t it? It certainly is a good British story involving pluck, underdogs and pick and mix. Claire Robertson started at high street stalwarts Woolworths as a Saturday girl way back in the day. And eventually rose up […]

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Why have we got it in for canned beer?

Bottled premium ales are a growing category for the supermarkets and selling through such outlets enables brewers to expose their goods to customers around the country – so long as they swallow the bitter pill of being paid a very ‘competitive’ price. Supermarkets are finding such products very attractive. This is something that Yorkshire-based Black Sheep accepts and now sells […]

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Innovative Retailers – IKEA

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: IKEAThe Place: Too many countries to mention – but about 325 stores in around 35 countries.The Story: It starts with another youngster in a shed – Ingvar Kamprad, stuck in the depths of southern Sweden with a helpful aunt. In 1930-something she helps him buy 100 […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Mark Lewis of CollectPlus

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Mark Lewis, chief executive of CollectPlus 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? The rapid rise of Click and Collect services presents the biggest opportunity for our business. With over half of online consumers already using the service, this take-up indicates that customers are rejecting […]

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Tesco fighting for price consistency

The recent revelation that Tesco has been selling goods on Amazon’s site under the name Oakwood Distribution at prices that undercut its Tesco.com website is hardly surprising [This is Money article] AKA Tesco. The brouhaha seems to surround it doing so in a name other than Tesco. Anti-Tesco campaigners cite this as an example of […]

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Innovative Retailers – The Sampler

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: The Sampler The Place: Kensington, London and Islington, London. The Story: In a normal wine retailer you go in, you look up and down shelves in a pseudo knowledgeable way and you eventually pick one based on a)cost 2)type or c) because you like the label. […]

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Retail Species – The establishment – Michael Wainwright of Boodles

The Person: Michael Wainwright The Company: Boodles The Job Title: Joint managing director So, I’m guessing that running a family jewellery business means a lot of tantrums and tiaras? Boodles is certainly overrun with Wainwrights. Michael Wainwright’s brother Nicholas is the other managing director, his nephew Jody Wainwright is the diamond expert and another nephew […]

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Guinness’ past does not indicate its future

Who would have thought that after many years of very successful trading we would no longer have Woolworths on UK high streets and that the once-mighty HMV would be a shadow of its former self. And in the US the leader of the photography pack Kodak would now be effectively dead. Kodak: shuttered There is […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Joe Murray of Worldstores.com

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Joe Murray, co-founder of Worldstores.com 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Our intention is to become the definitive online destination for furniture and homewares – our mission is to sell “everything for the home”. Currently we are very strong in some categories such as […]

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Guest Slot – Analysis Insider – Sue Grist

‘New Look may close 100 stores’ ran the headline in the Financial Times recently, highlighting an increasingly common story of major retail chains off-loading stores as the internet continues to impact on revenues from their physical units. Just one of numerous store closure headlines. But it would be far too simplistic to think that rationalising […]

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Innovative Retailers – The People’s Supermarket

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: The People’s Supermarket The Place: Lamb’s Conduit Street, London The Story: A supermarket which is a co-operative, membership-directed, ethically run, anti- food waste haven founded by  Kate Bull, an ex-M&S executive and Arthur Potts Dawson, Mick Jagger’s nephew. Beloved of David Cameron and his big society. […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Tom Allason of Shutl

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Tom Allason, founder of Shutl 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Becoming the delivery standard. I would like to see Shutl influencing consumer buying behavior globally with shoppers gravitating towards retailers that offer ‘shutl’ and away from those that don’t. 2. What is the […]

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Meal Deal – Hotel Cipriani in Venice

Here’s the latest instalment of a new series where leading retail executives recall memorable occasions spent celebrating a new job, cutting a big deal, winning a large order, or just enjoying life in a specific pub, bar or restaurant. Richard Pennycook, group finance director at Morrisons recalls a trip on the Orient Express and a meal […]

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Aurora Fashions – the most multi-channel retail business?

Fashion chain Aurora operates the Oasis, Warehouse and Coast brands and just might be the most multi-channel thinking retail business in the UK. Aurora: a bright light in multi-channel  Many businesses suffer from internal battles being fought between their various channels as they argue over the internet cannibalising store sales, which ultimately kills off innovation and progress. […]

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Asos revisits store openings

Fashion retailer Asos is working with consultants Javelin Group to asses the potential of opening stores on the high street. Let’s change that to: ‘Multi-channel Fashion Store’ The online-only business has for years been considering opening up stores to compliment its online business. There were also rumours that it would enter a partnership with a […]

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What to do with a problem like the high street

As Mary Portas seeks to address the ills of the UK high street, a visit by Retailinsider.com to the opening of the new-look Musicroom store on London’s Denmark Street highlighted just what shopping streets can be. Things have always looked up on Denmark Street This new outlet sells all things musical. Along with pretty much every other shop […]

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Beer Writing Award

Although this website is predominantly retail-focused, regular readers and subscribers will have no doubt noticed that the odd piece about beer and pubs manages to squeeze its way onto the site. Every effort is made to ensure this pub-related content is as relevant to the readership as the pure retail pieces and various columns that appear […]

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Innovative Retailers – Perfume doesn’t always smell of roses

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: I Hate Perfume The Place: Brooklyn, New York The Story: American Anglophile Christopher Brosius is a perfumer despite the name of his establishment whose mission “has long been to capture and bottle every possible pleasant smell”. His products are stocked in select locations all over the […]

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Guest Slot – Payments Insider-Beware the great card switch

He knows the banking industry but they don’t want to know him. Earlier this year Tesco Bank had grand plans to move its Visa Cards to MasterCard-branded credit cards under the World MasterCard banner and enjoy the extra transaction charges that these cards would bring to its coffers. But this went off the rails when […]

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Guest Slot – City Insider-Dan Coen

Structurally the retail industry is on its uppers and a fillip from Christmas is far from guaranteed because deep discounts have been widespread across the sector since early October. But I don’t want to add to the doom and gloom that already hogs the news headlines.    No more doom and gloom please. There are some […]

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How not to manage a pub or retail business

For many months The Great Northern Railway Tavern pub in north London remained closed, with the occasional bit of activity from workmen. Because it is a glorious Victorian building (including a rare set of lamps fixed to the bar and impressive glass skylight) anticipation of its opening was high in the Retailinsider.com office. Magic Victorian […]

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Meal Deal – The Admiral Codrington

Welcome to a new series where leading retail executives recall memorable occasions spent celebrating a new job, cutting a big deal, winning a large order, or just enjoying life in a specific pub, bar or restaurant. Robin Terrell, executive director of multi-channel and international at House of Fraser recalls good times in The Admiral Codrington pub in […]

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Footfaller – an irregular guest view from the street

The retail industry should be applauded. When it comes to rip-off Britain it could be argued that other sectors are far more at fault and they should be looking to multi-channel retailers for best practice in keeping consumers happy. In March of this year Which? wrote a report highlighting the worst offenders at the hidden […]

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Innovative Retailers Part 3 – Where ice cream is much more than just ice and cream

The Name: The Icecreamists The Place: Covent Garden market and Maiden Lane The Story: Matt O’Connor is the founder and he is very, very serious about ice cream and the business of sin. Starting out with just a pop-up store in Selfridges in 2009 he has already entered the PR hall of fame with the […]

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The 12 Rip-offs of Christmas – No.1

It’s that time of the year again. When the thoughts of many businesses turn to how they can serve up the same basic offering with a nominal twist, hike up the price, and sell it on as a ‘festive period’ offer.  Prices rise higher than the scones. So it is at The Dorchester hotel, famed as […]

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Observations on Prague – a city of choices

Few people enjoy having restrictions forced upon them and being dictated to about what they can and can’t buy. With the advent of the internet there has arguably never been a better time for consumer choice. Pint of Kipling or something unpronounceable sir? While  the retail industry largely delivers on the consumer choice quota there […]

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Guest Slot – City Insider – Dan Coen

Christmas is the final big hurrah of the year for consumers but for an unprecedented number of retailers the festive season this year will not be a celebration. It will be their last quarter before restructuring forces major change upon them and their survival is put in doubt. Christmas 2011: more funereal than celebratory. Having […]

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Movers & Shakers Q&A with Sarah Curran of My-wardrobe

Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail. Sarah Curran, co-founder of my-wardrobe 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?We see a huge opportunity for my-wardrobe to be a global brand. We have been working on the international expansion of the business over the last three months in two key markets, Australia and […]

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Youth market as skint as everybody else

One of the stronger arguments at the start of the recession – that seemed almost plausible at the time – was that youth-oriented retailers would escape the worst problems because their audience was insulated from the skirmish. Plenty of items here to keep one young shopper insulated. This worked out for some time but the downturn has […]

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Innovative Retailers Part 1 – Twitter to the rescue

The Shop: The Big Green Bookshop The Place: the gritty streets of Wood Green in North London The Owners: Tim West and Simon Key The Story: Opened in March 2008. Having taken a pay-cut to get out of the Oxford Street branch of Waterstone’s (“where  you sell units not books and manage spreadsheets”) Key came […]

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Private label is for everybody

The reason for the success of Ikea is not down to the price and size of its meatballs. It is down to its range of unique, exclusive products that have given it the ability to massively differentiate itself from the rest of the market. At the World Retail Congress in Berlin this week, Anders Dahlvig, former chief executive […]

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Plastic shouldn’t be the only way to pay online

Internet connectivity in Russia is at a lower level than many other European nations and this clearly has an adverse effect on the amount of online commerce undertaken in the country. But with only a piddling 5% of consumers purchasing goods online this is staggering low even with the unsurprisingly modest internet penetration among the Russian population. This is especially […]

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Guest Slot – Recruitment Insider-Nigel Sapsed

Many of you will no doubt have eaten in Pizza Express and been served up decent quality pizzas and maybe some dough balls to keep your kids quiet. Well the group recently served up something of world class quality – the announcement that the business had appointed the president of McDonald’s Europe to run the […]

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Footfaller: The Shopper`s View Part 1

Hands up everyone who enjoys a secret rummage through the reduced label pile in the supermarket? Almost everyone likes getting something cheaper than it otherwise would be and there are few who have not snaffled a bargain at some point. But hands up again who has bothered to check their receipt to find out if […]

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The store, just what is it good for?

We’ve banged on before on Retailinsider.com about the role that stores will play in a multi-channel future and we’ve looked into the crystal ball for clues about how bricks and mortar will stack up in a digital world. Will bricks and mortar stack-up in the future. The guessing might now be over because although the […]

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After Poundland, it’s Poundbakery

Poundland has been a phenomenally successful business, especially in recent years when it has added stores like topsy while most other retailers have been shedding outlets. Yes, Everything’s £1. Whether you believe this is down to the skill of able chief executive Jim McCarthy or the tough economy that has driven consumers to seek out […]

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Alteration to the correction to the ‘Is it the enda Venda?’ story

Following the recent publication of the story ‘Is it the enda Venda?’ on Retailinsider.com I would like it to be made clear to readers that it was misleading for this website to portray the business as one in financial difficulties. Instead, I would like it to be made clear having considered the accounts of Venda […]

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Guest Slot–Recruitment Insider – Nigel Sapsed

Ten years ago the food offer in garden centres consisted of nothing more than a bland cafe plonked in the middle of a load of plants. But today a visit to places like the Squires Garden Centre in Farnham reveals an immense open plan eating area that resembles the food courts found in the big […]

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Surveys tell us cash is king and cash is dead

Cash is still the preferred method of payment for the vast majority of people in the UK, crowed a survey from Wincor Nixdorf. But at the same time a conflicting survey from Barclays and Barclaycard found that more than half of consumers believe cash will become extinct. Cash: as popular as ever. What are we to […]

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Online retail sales heading for a fall

It has long-since been achnowledged that online sales will continue to show significant growth for some years to come – leaving store sales for dust. Online sales: not good. But signs are emerging that this saviour of the retail sector is running out of steam for some retailers. According to the recent Martec International ‘IT […]

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Punch-up on the cards between Visa and MasterCard

Visa is distancing itself from some of the practices of its great rival MasterCard as both face ongoing accusations that they are over-charging retailers on transaction charges. Gloves are off between Visa and MasterCard Over the years they have been accused of working rather monopolistically but not any more as Visa is looking to land […]

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Real group buying makes a return

Groupon, LivingSocial and a host of other such businesses have been masquerading as group-buying sites but this is wrong as they are nothing more than deliverers of Daily Deals. Group buying should be about consumers combining their purchases to cut a deal on a volume basis with manufacturers and suppliers. The more buyers there are then […]

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Guest Slot – Recruitment Insider-Nigel Sapsed

Managing relationships with customers is absolutely crucial, which is why leisure operators and retailers are increasingly turning to loyalty programmes to give them greater relevance to their customers. One area of the leisure industry that does not rely on such technology-led initiatives to help drive its business, but provides a great example of skilful managing […]

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Tesco Bank in Disarray

Tesco has great hopes for its Banking division but right now things are going badly, with the company scrapping its Tesco World MasterCard credit card to new applicants. Things are not going so well at the self-styled People’s Bank. This withdrawal of the card comes after the grocer only recently upgraded upwards of one million Tesco Visa cardholders onto the new […]

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Insight from footfall figures as opaque as ever

Fooftall data from Experian showed a year-on-year decline of 4% for the recent double Bank Holiday weekend that was much worse than the 2.1% experienced in April and the preceeding two months. Measuring their actions is easy, explaining them is hard. This heavier drop was apparently explained away by the fact that the weather was very good. To quote […]

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What can a classy cafe bring to a gritty part of town?

Sat outside in the sun this weekend nursing a cappuccino at the newly-opened Cafe Teria in my part of North London got me thinking about how the opening of a classy cafe/bar/bakery can impact on an area. Cupcakes: Bringing people to a rough area near you.  Needless to say, there are parties who have investigated this in an […]

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Guest Slot – Recruitment Insider-Nigel Sapsed

Changing prices throughout the course of the day is something retailers seem rather scared about undertaking. Their idea of dynamic pricing goes no further than brightly coloured stickers announcing price cuts on products reaching the end of their sell-by-dates. Retailers scared of what’s in the box. But in the leisure and hospitality sector this form […]

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Growth in specialist beer shops

Oddbins has just gone into administration, Thresher Group went the same way last year, and pretty much every other specialist booze seller has had a tough time over recent years. The sun is shining on Kris Wines, its owner and regular customer. But there is one exception – the specialist beer shop. This post on […]

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Retailers gouging each other over payment-card fees

For many years the retail industry has battled hard against the banks and card schemes, Visa and MasterCard, to try and reduce the level of fees they are charged on every transaction they accept by payment card. Transaction fees: Never quite this obvious. There was a lot of sympathy for their plight – big banks […]

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Food manufacturers to sell-direct-to-shoppers is pie in the sky

Apparently 27% of food and grocery manufacturers would consider building an online store to sell direct to shoppers. Manufacturers and selling online is not a grey area.  According to research from grocery experts IGD these manufacturers are recognising the need to engage directly with their shoppers online. I’m not sure whether this reflects well or badly on the […]

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Simple brands stand out

You may recall the brouhaha earlier in the year over Starbucks changing its logo to a simplified, less cluttered version. Out went its name and the word ‘coffee’ from its famous green mermaid-like logo. The evolution of a brand from cluttered to clean. Much of the fuss was over the question of whether people would still recognise […]

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Tour around the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

There have been many articles written and photos published of the almost newly-restored hotel at London’s St Pancras station in recent weeks but they do little justice to the building once you actually get inside it. It might be a big building but it’s all about the small details. Compared with all other leisure-related buildings – hotels, restaurants, shops and […]

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Marks & Spencer ups its multi-channel game

The most important aspect of the recent appointment of Laura Wade-Gery as the director for multi-channel e-commerce at Marks & Spencer is her seat on the main board. Seat at the big table for Ms Wade-Gery at M&S. This signals the retailer is serious about multi-channel and will specifically see Wade-Gery work on the development of M&S’ […]

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Best Buy – what a disaster

There was so much hype built-up around the impending appearance of US-based electricals group Best Buy in the UK that it would have been very tough for it to live up to the pre-match billing. Expansion into the UK wasn’t supposed to be like this. But oh, how much shorter could it have fallen of those […]

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Guest Slot–Recruitment Insider – Nigel Sapsed

There is a good reason why retailers have embraced the digital world like a long-lost mate – they sell lots of things online. Retailers sell lots of these things online. This has put them well ahead of the leisure and hospitality sector, which has not exactly whole-heartedly embraced the digital revolution. But there are signs […]

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Coffee shop market still wide awake and hyper-active

A few years back there were many detractors of the rapidly expanding coffee shop market who were continually forcasting the “froth to be blown off the coffee market”. Coffee shop market: comfortable with its level of froth. But it never really happened and such is the acceptance of the ongoing high growth rates of this category that today nobody […]

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Retail property market further polarises

Now we all know that Rotherham is no London. But the difference in the vacancy rates of shops at these two locations could not be more stark. Rotherham: UK towns become ghost towns. The recent National Retail Barometer from Colliers International shows vacancy rates in the centre of Rotherham are running at almost 30% whereas on London’s […]

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Customer loyalty finally arrives at restaurants

Customer loyalty solutions have been used to great effect within the retail sector for many years and even its most vocal opponents have ultimately succumbed to recognising that points and prizes means regular shoppers. Brucie would have recognised what points mean. Asda in particular has long rubbished loyalty programmes, instead preferring to focus on its Every Day […]

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Latest retail fashion accessory – the international CEO

With the world’s developed markets universally on the skids there has been much talk among retailers of expanding into new growth markets. Retail growth in the developed world. Some have done so while others have been all mouth and little action. But what is interesting is just how many large retailers now have internationally experienced executives in […]

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Many pubs show no loyalty to regulars

Eating turkey, spending time with your family, watching rubbish telly, receiving unwanted presents, and buying gifts for people you don’t like are among the myriad reasons for disliking Christmas. Turkey: enough to drive a teetotaler to the pub. But it does have its upsides. One of them being that it is a great excuse to pop down to the […]

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Sainsbury’s to split with Jamie Oliver

It’s called evolution – you hire somebody and they come in with big ideas and often a large ego and ultimately they end up running the show. I bet Sainsbury’s didn’t think this was going to happen with Jamie Oliver. The little guy who was brought in to re-connect the company with its food heritage is now […]

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Multi-channel wreaking havoc with property strategies

Strange things are happening in the world of retail property. On the one hand there is a strong argument from some retailers that large stores are best as they are more cost efficient. But on the other there is the counter view that smaller stores are more beneficial in an increasingly online-focused world. More stores up for […]

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The sad demise of the City wine bars

This is a slight diversion from the normal fayre you’ll find on Retailinsider.com but the news that the venerable Balls Brothers chain in the City of London is on the ropes highlights how successful retail/leisure organisations can suffer badly from rapidly changing tastes and cultures. How long will the doors stay open? I thought a close […]

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Fancy a pint of cask ale down the supermarket

Pubs are arguably under more under pressure than retailers but at least they have a unique product to sell in the form of cask ale that cannot easily be bought in shops or over the internet. Lots of choice but does any of it appeal? As the industry has faced myriad problems – the smoking ban, increased […]

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Customer product reviews a waste of time

Shoppers rely heavily on customer product reviews when deciding a purchase, with recent research showing over three-quarters used ratings and reviews before buying. But when so many of the entries are potentially fake and PR fluff do they bother? It might be a review, but is there any insight? The ongoing issue involving Trip Advisor is […]

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Home delivery – not just about Ocado and the supermarkets

Ocado and the big grocery chains naturally grab all the media attention and appear the only options for home delivered food. This is not the case. There have been a number of organic food delivery companies that have cropped-up over recent years who supply nationwide and there is also the odd localised business. One hyper-local operation is Hubbub […]

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Older brands targeting younger market online

It might have been around since 1963, and been trading over the internet in the UK since way back in 1995, but clothing retailer Lands’ End has only this month started selling goods to the younger end of the market on its British website. It’s taken since 1963, but Canvas has landed It follows another long-established mail-order/online retailer […]

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Is quality beer still important to the supermarkets

Bottled beer was regarded as a super-premium category by the supermarkets a couple of years back and they seemed to like it. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda each held annual competitions to find the best new ales from UK brewers to help promote the category. What happened to it? As a beer drinker it is sad to […]

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Netto couldn’t handle the UK’s big boys

So now we know. Netto abandoned the UK by selling out to Asda Wal-Mart because the might of the country’s big grocers ultimately caused it too much grief. Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Berlin Claus Juel-Jensen, managing director of Netto International, admitted that the aggressive competition from the likes of Tesco, Asda, Morrisons […]

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Universal benefits of multi-channel

You’d have to be living down a very deep hole not to have recognised that multi-channel retail is the way to go for merchants that have a physical stores estate. On day one of the World Retail Congress in Berlin this week delegates were given yet more evidence of the benefits of operating across multiple channels […]

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Part two of a series on retail payments rip-offs

He knows the banking industry but they don’t want to know him Confusion reigns at the point-of-sale as retailers haven’t a clue what payment cards they are accepting from customers. It used to be oh so simple – it was either a debit or credit card. But this is no longer the case in this […]

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Consumers couldn’t care less about reducing waste

The big downside to retail is that it involves consumers. This fickle, and sometimes annoying, bunch can be a real pain in the neck. Nowhere are they more irritating than when it comes to waste, recycling and anything else to do with saving the planet. Loads of waste – lovely They send out so many conflicting messages. In only the past […]

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Is e-retail growth set to slow as much as predicted?

Online retail sales growth is set to slow dramatically over the next five years, according to Verdict, which reckons there will be little more than 12% per annum increases compared with the chunky 35% achieved over the previous 10 years. [see report by Internet Retailing]. How many fewer times will we be pressing this button? Its report ‘E-retail 2010 and […]

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Retailers could be so much more loyal to their customers

Retailers recognise that customer databases and CRM (customer relationship marketing) systems provide them with the best returns on investment among their marketing activities. But almost half then admit their systems are ineffective. It’s time to get a handle on customer data The Loyalty Report for 2010 from The Logic Group (undertaken by Ipsos MORI) found that […]

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Multi-channel/E-commerce Top 70 Survey

If you were unable to make it to the Retail Systems Multi-channel Conference on September 15 then you will have missed the launch of the Top 70 survey of the ‘Movers & Shakers in Multi-channel and E-commerce’. Fear not as the link here gives you access to the list of the 70 people that are […]

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We’ve simply got far too many shops

The recession and growth of the internet have had a big impact on shop lettings, which has resulted in 13% of units in shopping areas now vacant (voids), according to the Local Data Company (LDC). Empty shops: coming to a high street like yours, and staying. The situation could be even worse than that for landlords […]

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Retail sector heading for big downer

The arguments for a downgrade across the retail sector are growing as the last remaining positive in the industry – the clothing retailers – are starting to take a hit from weaker consumer consumption and growing pressure on margins. Plenty of these over the retail sector right now In a lengthy note from broker Singer Capital Markets the message […]

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High street retailers clueless about their customers

Did you know  that home shopping and online-only retailers spend a significantly greater amount each year on IT compared with any other types of merchants. In some cases more than three-times as much. Home shopping retailers spend more in this stuff The recent IT in Retail Research report from Martec International for sponsor BT Expedite revealed that non-store retailers have an IT spend the […]

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Shoppers desert retail parks for the high street

For many years the high street has been a victim of shoppers’ predilection for visiting retail parks and as a result has suffered a spiral of decline as sales have dwindled. The unique attractions of retail parks But for the first time in many years the footfall trends show the high street performing better than the retail […]

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Amazon over-hyping e-book sales

Amazon’s recent statement about how massively successful its e-book sales were going should be regarded with some scepticism. The online giant, which has much riding on its Kindle e-reader device, made the grand revelation that e-books were now outselling hardcover versions. But what it didn’t say was that these ‘sales’ also included the books it allows its […]

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The major players in Multi-channel/e-commerce

If you have half a brain then you know that multi-channel and e-commerce is where the real action is within the retail sector. That’s why Retailinsider.com and sponsors K3 thought it a good idea to conduct a survey across the sector to find out who the movers and shakers are in this part of the […]

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Retailers all over mobile phones like a rash

It seems retailers still can’t get enough of mobile phones. Despite many of the UK’s high streets absolutely saturated with outlets from Phones 4u, Carphone Warehouse and the networks Orange, Vodafone and O2 etcetera, non-specialists are still keen to flog the devices and their accessories. Don’t like yours on the left In only the past week we’ve seen Tesco Mobile […]

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Ocado frenzy overshadows under-valued Tesco

Much has been made of the Ocado valuation in recent weeks but in stark contrast little has been made of the valuation of the sector’s 60lb gorilla that could no doubt squash Ocado if it liked. Actually, Waitrose could probably squash Ocado if it liked. Outlandish Ocado valuation has not helped Tesco yet. What’s happened to […]

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Ocado surprises nobody with IPO price cut

The least surprising event this week was the lowering of the price range for the flotation of Ocado to 180p-200p. At Retailinsider.com we’ve long been sceptical about this whole IPO process at the initial £1 billion valuation. (See previous post in May)   The only real surprise is that the cut wasn’t greater – from its […]

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Things really are tough at Argos

Trading is much tougher at Argos than I had imagined. Spotted in the Financial Times last week is the story that Argos is looking to drill for oil in the Falklands. Things clearly are getting desperate if the company is looking for black gold to support the trading at its stores. Argos: clearly on a diversification path that takes it […]

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Part one of a new series on payments rip-offs

He knows the banking industry but they don’t want to know him Did you know that retailers are charged at least 20% more by the banks and card schemes to accept a transaction online compared with in-store? This is especially puzzling when you consider that online transactions are so much easier to process for the banks […]

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Taking an axe to the retail sector

Tax increases and spending cuts are beginning to hit the sector hard. Yes, since the downturn first hit in 2008 many retailers have taken lots of medicine and reduced their terminal stock levels, cut costs, and now have a tighter than ever control on their inventory, but the fact is they face yet more problems ahead. Just […]

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Asos close to launching Click & Collect in Boots’ stores

Customers of online fashion retailer Asos will soon be able to collect their orders from Boots stores. The pure play merchant has recognised the massive demand from consumers to buy online and then collect in-store. Soon to be a pick-up point for Asos  Boots represents a non-competing retailer with an attractive national store coverage that would be powerful to Asos. The company had […]

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Clone Towns part 2 – the least boring shopping areas outside London

Shopping malls are largely given a bad mainstream press because the perception is that they all house the same old stores and besides providing a place to shelter from the rain are believed to offer little else to the shopper. We may have to think again if the research from retail location specialists CACI is […]

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The difference between Tesco and RBS

An interesting little insight into Tesco and Sir Terry Leahy came out of this week’s Retail Bulletin Loyalty Conference. Steve Gray, former MD at dunnhumby and now chairman of Emnos, recalled the time in 2004 when dunnhumby client US-based Kroger was looking to do a banking joint-venture with RBS. Sir Terry: Top of the pile Such a […]

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Who cares what t-shirts the Scots wear.

What to make of all this fuss around the sale of anti-English World Cup merchandise. It seems the Scots have been entertaining themselves by buying t-shirts with ‘Anyone But England’ emblazoned across them. The offending t-shirt: would look quite stylish on a Scot  Well they need something to do in addition to twiddling their thumbs because […]

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High streets are boring shoppers

To state the blindingly obvious – high streets are having a tough time. Many retailers blame landlords and they are largely right. The greedy men in suits simply charge too much rent. Where this has really been felt is with smaller independent retailers. Not only have they had difficulty coming up with the high rentals demanded – compared with the […]

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When will the City get Asos?

Continuing to misvalue online fashion retailer Asos seems to be one of the consistencies in the City, with retail analysts perenially underestimating its growth prospects. Last week’s results – for the year to March 31 – were a typical example. There was much talk ahead of the results about Asos needing to deliver strong numbers to justify its high […]

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Cause of Richard Brasher’s downfall

Tesco commercial director Richard Brasher’s failure to secure the chief executive role at Tesco has been revealed at the BRC Annual Retail Conference this week. In his earlier years at the company he was sent out to manage a store. He got it badly wrong over Christmas and was running a store with very little […]

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Netto’s owners never really understood UK market

Asda might have paid a high price for the Netto supermarket chain but the expectation is that it will squeeze significantly greater revenues and profits from the business than its Danish owners. It intends to attract more people doing their full weekly shops through increasing the SKU count and boosting the fresh food offer. It will also […]

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Where are all the women?

We all know that women holding senior positions in the retail sector are an extremely rare breed. But the reality is that the retail industry is hardly unusual in having its most powerful roles held predominantly by men. This is a universal scenario that is common to all sectors. This poor situation was brought home to me […]

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Does Ocado really need eight banks advising on its flotation?

Home delivery company Ocado is taking no chances in being short of advice for its float as five more banking names signed on the dotted line to receive fees if the company does actually float (Retail Week, June 1). It seems staggering that a business looking to raise a modest £150 million (against an admittedly […]

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Describing colours is not a black and white issue

There is no doubt that we are in politically correct times so it was all the more surprising that I came across a rather strangely named colour. It was listed on a box that had contained a headboard, which I had found lying on the dirty streets of north London. Anyone for a Gringo Brown headboard? Gringo Brown […]

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For the last time, luxury really does sell online

The debate over whether luxury goods can be sold online has raged for years and probably bored many people en route. Thankfully we are close to a conclusion on this subject because increasing amounts of hard evidence suggests consumers will buy pretty much anything online – from cheap tat to ultra-expensive baubles. Devil of a time […]

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Is Ocado’s £1bn valuation laughable?

The seemingly never-ending run up to flotation for online grocery retailer Ocado was knocked off course slightly this week with the publication of a critical report from broker Bernstein Research. At Retailinsider.com we have long reckoned the £1 billion valuation that has been mooted in the press has sounded a tad too rich. This has, admittedly, been based on […]

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Discounters proved to be great disappointment

If Tesco had known just how badly the discounters would ultimately handle their post-recession come-down I don’t think they’d have worried so much about them during the downturn and even bothered launching their Discounter Brands range. The latest evidence to emerge of their continued weak performance comes from grocery experts IGD that found the main […]

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Group buying set to excite online shoppers

Has online shopping ever been interesting, exciting and fun? Probably not that much. That’s certainly the view of a couple of online price comparison pioneers who helped develop Kelkoo and have just launched Keynoir to address this problem. Each day an offer appears on the site that requires a minimum number of people to make a purchase before it is […]

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Ocado’s flotation far from certain

The long-rumoured flotation of online food retailer Ocado continues to rumble on and advisors are supposedly due to be hired after Easter. The road to a stock market listing took an interesting turn with an article in the Sunday Telegraph that reported an unnamed analyst from an “expert retail analyst firm” had handed over a detailed […]

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Can we please clog up the roads with yet more traffic

 Flicking through the Evening Standard ES Magazine on Friday highlighted the level of brainless and selfishness that unfortunately pervades the capital. The magazine has a regular Q&A section called ‘My London’ and this week it featured WBA World Heavyweight boxing champion David Haye who reckons if he was Mayor for the day he would abandon the congestion […]

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Another nail in retail’s coffin?

The announcement this week of an investment of £2.5 million in online furniture selling business Made.com sounds like little for retailers to worry about. It’s an online start-up and it’s a trifling amount. But this might be a mistake because the investors putting in the cash are Lastminute.com co-founder and mydeco.com  founder Brent Hoberman and the less well known […]

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Sam Smiths Boots out Branded Snacks

Esoteric brewer and pub owner Sam Smiths has finally removed the last branded products from its boozers with all its bagged snacks now entirely own-label. This might not sound like earth shattering news but it makes Sam Smiths a rarity in the market as I doubt many other pub operators or retailers would have the […]

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Olympics are Massive Opportunity for Retailers

It might be more than two years away but retailers should at least be looking to get their heads around the 2012 Olympic Games because it represents a one-off opportunity to bag a chunky amount of extra sales. Attending this week’s 2012 Opportunites for Retailers conference was an interesting experience if only for the statistics it threw up. Just consider the […]

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Uncertainty at Games Workshop Group

It seemed rather strange that Games Workshop Group should have ruled itself out of the competition to win the ‘Turnaround of the Year’ category in the annual Plc awards run by the FT, having been shortlisted. The thing to conclude from this is that its management did not want to win because it did not believe the […]

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Retailers’ appetite for smaller stores grows

For many years the focus in retail has been skewed to ever larger stores located out-of-town and many operators have been unwilling to dirty their hands operating smaller units on, god forbid, the high street. Some retailers like Asda have publicly stated their aversion to opening smaller, convenience type stores, in town centres because they […]

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Who’d be a buyer of online retailer Figleaves?

For a company that has a ‘For Sale’ sign atop its virtual store, the chief executive of Figleaves wasn’t really selling the business particularly well to the audience at the Retail Week Conference. Julia Reynolds was keen to stress that anybody can sell other people’s brands, which is largely what Figleaves does, and this made […]

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