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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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