Retail Insider, the influential retail blog edited by award-winning journalist Glynn Davis, is calling for entries to its awards dedicated to digital and technological innovation. The Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail’ Awards 2020, now in its fourth year, has under the current circumstances been pared down in terms of the number of categories and the kind of…

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This is the third and final part of our series talking to a group of young teenagers about their views and habits around shopping, leisure and technology. The theme this week is sustainability and corporate and consumer responsibility as we tried to find out how it affects their brand and company perception, and what practical…

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You can call it ‘click & collect by car’ or contactless collection if you wish but it’s pretty much the same thing as what the Americans call curb-side collection and it is gaining some traction in the UK as a measure against Covid-19. Whereas the traditional click & collect, involving pick-up in stores, was developed…

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Ivan Mazour, CEO and Founder, Ometria 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? In our modern world, we struggle for time, and are overloaded in every direction with information. The opportunity we have is to change the way retail marketers practice, and enable them to give back their customers time, rather than take…

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Name: Beaverbrooks The Place: UK-based with a multitude of stores around the country. The Story: It’s been selling bling for 100 years but the story of family-run jewellers Beaverbooks is very much one for the here and now. How so? Beaverbrooks could have written the mantra we all live by now. Stay Home Save Lives?…

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Retail Insider is pleased to announce it is hosting its first Zoom-fuelled Cocktail Hour with special guest Retail Futurist Howard Saunders on Thursday May 21 at 5pm. Nobody really wants to be where we are right now so we are very pleased to call on the insights and humour (a fine cocktail) of Mr S…

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Supply chains are the hidden part of retail that shoppers have historically had no interest in whatsoever but this has changed during the Corona virus as shortages of items on supermarket shelves have put the supply chain on the front page. Large numbers of people buying an increased number of specific items has had a…

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Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. Today we discuss the different sustainable edits available in the market place and their chances of success brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box The number of fashion…

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When one of the UK’s most proficient and respected retailers decided to shut down its online operation it was a bit of a shock because the channel was expected to offset some of the sales it was losing through the enforced closure of its stores as a result of the Coronavirus. Fashion bellwether Next came…

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During this lockdown period I was very pleased to order my first home delivery from my favourite fish and chip shop, which had suddenly partnered with Just Eat, thereby providing further evidence of how even the humblest of businesses are adapting amid the Coronavirus pandemic. A similar adaptive mindset has been taken up by B&Q…

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Retail Insider is pleased to bring you a Q&A with Tony Buffin, CEO, Holland & Barrett, that was conducted before Coronavirus. 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business? Digital growth and digital interaction with our customers is really important and this extends through product differentiation, range extension, and product customisation. We also want…

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At Retail Insider’s recently convened Teen Panel a handful of tech-savvy 13-year olds told us about their consumption habits, their views on sustainability and how they live with the technology that they have all grown up with. In the second part of our series on the results we look at the devices and platforms they…

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A reversal of tactics is typically known as a U-turn and in politics it is regarded as a very bad move as it signifies flawed initial thinking. It is not generally regarded as quite as bad in the world of business because a change of direction can obviously be a sensible thing financially if it…

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It’s difficult to imagine that there has ever been a time when the retail industry has faced as many twists and turns as it has over the last two weeks. A mere fortnight ago things were relatively normal in retail-land as its inhabitants cast glances at a virus propagating overseas. But since then the world…

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Drive-thrus haven’t played a particularly big part in my life – perhaps because I’ve never owned a car even though I passed my driving test decades ago – but it’s clear they have become increasingly popular in the UK since they crossed the pond. Drive-thrus are a mainstay of automobile-loving, fast food-guzzling American society. Their…

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Name: Nike aka The Swoosh The Place: Headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, but surely one of the most globally recognisable brands anywhere on the face of the earth. The Story: This is the story of obsessive design. Focused on one product. And how constant and unrelenting iteration of that same product can eventually lead to a…

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When Amazon launched its Prime subscription service in 2005, many thought founder Jeff Bezos had lost the plot because of a potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars through offering unlimited shipping for a modest $79 (£63) a year. The move delivered a welcome recurring revenue stream but the big question among many –…

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Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry.   Today part two of the interview with First Mile founder Bruce Bratley – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box Right now First Mile founder Bruce Bratley…

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A trip into almost any UK supermarket these days will alert the observant shopper to the proliferation in meal kits and two- and three-step cooking packets. It seems as if just about everyone is getting in on the kit act which handily combines the illusion of cooking from scratch with the personalisation element that so…

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A great deal has been written about Millennials and latterly Gen Z with regard to the way they interact with their social media and devices and how they shop. But due to their age little regard is paid to the consumers of tomorrow until they reach 18 and suddenly have the capacity to pay with…

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Welcome to this monthly column within our broader sustainability section which focuses on what retail is doing to address the issues in its industry. This month a two-part interview with the founder of First Mile Bruce Bratley – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box Recycling is an unglamorous but necessary element…

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Upmarket leather goods-maker Goyard has a compact store in Mayfair’s Mount Street that always has a queue outside snaking down the road. This isn’t simply down to the store’s popularity with global fashionistas, it’s also due to Goyard’s policy that only allows the same number of people into its store as there are employees on…

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Welcome to our section of the site which focuses on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one-use plastic, excess packaging to food waste…

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Khaki specialist Dockers led the revolution in dress-down Fridays in the late 1980’s and is now positioning itself as the daily workwear brand of choice among thirtysomethings who no longer wear a suit any day of the week. After distributing its casual wear manual to HR departments after the financial crisis of 1987 Levi’s-owned Dockers…

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Here at Retail Insider we are always interested in the ways retailers get the most out of our seasonal celebrations – and none is more interesting than Valentine’s Day which has been twisted round more tenuous tie-ins than most other annual festivities. If you had told us yesterday that cook in the pot noodles could…

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Shortly after Starbucks entered the UK market through the acquisition of Seattle Coffee Company back in 1998 it rapidly opened a raft of stores in London before it realised it might have been rather gung-ho with its property selection criteria and it retreated from some of those initial unsuitable and probably over-priced units. From that…

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Welcome to our section of the site which focuses on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical. From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one-use plastic, excess packaging to food waste…

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  Name: Stitch Fix The Place: Well it was in the US but hurrah – it’s recently launched in the UK.   The Story: This company is not unique, it has competitors in the US (Trunk Club for example) and the UK (Thread for example) and yet this is still the one to beat. It’s…

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Retail Insider is pleased to launch a new publication the Retail Insider Digital Champions Report 2019(sponsored by Software AG) that highlights some of the retailers, and individuals within them, that have taken the decision to be proactive in this new digitally-led world of retail. A batch of retailers have been selected who we believe are…

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Welcome to our series of articles on retailers that are operating in ways that provide some interesting and valuable lessons to the wider industry. Name: Trending Store from Nextatlas Location: Westfield Shopping Centre, London W12 In a nutshell: This concept pop-up, which has just finished its run in Westfield, aimed to only sell the top…

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of travelling around the UK for me is visiting villages, towns and cities and popping into independent bakers to sample their specialities. Most communities still proudly produce local delicacies to a loyal clientele but one store I don’t hunt for when I travel is Greggs. Greggs’ chief executive Roger…

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One of the retail industry’s long-established maxims is that the customer is always right. But maybe this is no longer the case. In a relatively simple world it was something that retailers could largely comply with but now that things have become a whole lot more complicated it might be the case that they are…

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Welcome to a monthly column within our broader sustainability section which is going to focus on what fashion is doing to address the issues in its industry. Boutique by Shelter – brought to you by Retail Insider with Clipper and Give Back Box We all think we know the deal with charity shops. Lots of them on…

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When I took a job with a US financial institution it involved making regular phone calls to its European offices during what was often a very long day with little time for lunch breaks, as the Americans wanted their pound of flesh. One day I called the Geneva office at 1pm to be answered by…

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Name: Bottletop The Place: Regent Street, London The Story: Ring pulls from cans turned into luxury bags. What’s not to like? Sorry, did you say ring pulls? I did. Did you say luxury bags? I did. In the same sentence? I did. OK, just checking: The germ of an idea, which began in 2002 as…

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Welcome to our brand new series of articles on retailers that are operating in ways that provide some interesting and valuable lessons to the wider industry. Name: Natoora Location: Four units across London in Chiswick, Fulham Road, Sloane Square and Bermondsey. In a nutshell: In 2004 Franco Fubini founded Natoora in the UK – at…

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Name: ReTuna Aterbruksgalleria The Place:  Somewhere unpronounceable in Sweden. Just try for me: Eskilstuna The Story: Have you ever been to a tip? Yes, most recently: your house: No, I mean a rubbish tip. Oh. Yes I have: So you are familiar with the scene: large boxes full of both recyclable and non-recyclable waste. You…

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Six months ago, we surveyed two different  high streets: Crouch End Broadway and Wood Green High Road both in the borough of Haringey, North London, to see in what ways they differ and what the emergence of the Wood Green Business Improvement District (BID) might mean for the fortunes of struggling Wood Green.  Now we…

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Welcome to our brand new section of the site which is going to focus on the sustainable side of retail. It’s exciting times for anyone involved in this area as technology and retailers try to keep up with customers’ demand for all things ethical.  From palm oil to fur farms, fast fashion to one use…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Markus Stripf co-founder of Spoon Guru, which features in this year’s report for its work with Tesco. 1.…

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Important life choices such as leaving the parental home, first house purchases, and marriage are being made are now being made significantly later in life, which is impacting spending patterns and retailers’ fortunes. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) is not usually known for its exciting press releases but there was a lot of pick…

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There are some very unique jobs and people employed in retail. In this new series of posts Retail Insider will profile some of the more unusual jobs or innovative employment practices across the sector. We continue the series by talking to Max Dubiel, founder of Redemption Roasters, about training and employing young offenders as bean…

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It sometimes seems as if every single month brings with it more predictions of doom and gloom in the UK retail sector. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) seems to record declining levels of retail employment each quarter without fail – in the last three months of 2018 it reported 70,000 less jobs than at the…

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Retail’s Big Show, also known as NRF, rolled into New York for what is the big annual retail technology jamboree, which this year brought together 37,000 people – including 16,000 retailers from 3,500 different companies. There is no disputing the fact that it is an extremely big show and that as such it arguably has…

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Name: K11 Art Mall The Place: In the far flung mysterious centre of the East, part of the oriental landscape of the land of the rising sun. Or is it setting? Is it China again? Yes. The Story: Prepare yourself for a high-falutin’ tone to this latest Innovative Retailer. Oh really: We are leaving the…

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Retail Insider has been waiting patiently all year to eat the overpriced meat feasts in red packaging otherwise known as the ‘festive’ sandwich. But, as all right-thinking people know, Christmas definitely would not be Christmas without the chance to blow your entire day’s calorie count every lunchtime in December and more and more retailers are…

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Zoe Colegrave, head of online and marketing, Fortnum & Mason  1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
 While there are many, growth in Asia is a current focus. We’ve successfully launched three shop-in-shops in Shinsegae’s department stores in Seoul and our relationship with Lane Crawford goes from strength to strength. This year we’ve re-evaluated…

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      Name: VivoBarefoot The Place: Online all over the place. And a physical store in London’s Covent Garden. Also via wholesalers. The Story: If you’ve ever fancied plogging… Fancied what? Or tried a swimrun… Tried a what? Or hankered after minimalist shoes… Hankered after what? I’m sorry, is there a problem with my…

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Retail Insider has been waiting patiently all year to eat the overpriced meat feasts in red packaging otherwise known as the ‘festive’ sandwich. But, as all right-thinking people know, Christmas definitely would not be Christmas without the chance to blow your entire day’s calorie count every lunchtime in December and more and more retailers are…

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Airbnb is a phenomenal company that continues to disrupt the hotel industry. It’s a beast of a competitor with about five million listings on its website while 3.5 million people stayed at an Airbnb property on its best night in August this year. This has helped it gain a valuation of more than $30bn but…

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Welcome to our brand new series of articles on those retailers who choose to concentrate only on one very specific product or expertise. In a world where so many are jacks of all trades – we meet the masters of one. Name: Bridgewood & Neitzert Location: Stoke Newington Church Street, Hackney. Specialism: The making and…

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Following the launch of our 2018 ‘Digital Leisure and Hospitality Innovations top 20’ report, here is a Q&A with Elsa Bernadotte, co-founder of Karma, which features in this year’s report for its app focused on food waste reduction. 1. How did the original idea come about? A staggering ? of all food produced is thrown…

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Whenever I make the journey to Barcelona, which seems to be quite frequent as the city plays host to numerous technology conferences, then a visit to the famous La Boqueria food market is an absolute must. It is held up as the benchmark for what a market should be and which all too often far…

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Retail Insider this week celebrated the launch of the second ‘Digital Leisure and Hospitality Innovations Top 20 Report’ at a dinner event at central London restaurant Pied A Terre. The report, sponsored by Webloyalty, showcases some of the very best leisure and hospitality digital initiatives of the year and simultaneously highlights a number of industry trends including the…

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A host of senior retail executives gathered yesterday in central London at Sourced Market to celebrate the second Retail Insider ‘Transforming Retail Awards’ aimed at highlighting some of the most exciting innovations in the retail sector over the past year. The Awards attracted many entries of a very high standard giving the judges a particularly…

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Following the launch of the Digital Retail Innovations 2018 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Ted Mann, CEO of Slyce, which features in this year’s report for its work with Tommy Hilfiger and…

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In recent years many vacant retail units have been taken by food and beverage operators but as this sector has also come under pressure the level of empty units on high streets and in shopping malls is becoming an increasing problem. This situation has arguably been more acute in the US where even New York…

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  Mattresses and razors are among the product types that have been focused on by single-line specialist online-only retailers who have each sought to grab a small part of enormous target markets. The likes of Casper with its mattresses and Dollar Shave Club with its razors have been pioneers of such strategies and have led…

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Regardless of whether it is driven by the increasingly time poor characteristic of most people or simply their growing impatience we are moving into the era of the ‘micro shopping’ trip that is defined as taking less than five minutes. The trend is being further fuelled by the emergence of in-store services linked to online…

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Following the launch of the Digital Leisure & Hospitality Innovations 2017 Report (sponsored by Webloyalty) a series of Q&A’s with the leading figures behind some of the key entries in the report are being published. Here is a Q&A with Joel Burgess, co-founder, Nutrifix. How did the original idea come about? I started Nutrifix to “scratch…

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FMCG/retail sector is in a phase of transformation, the likes of which we have not seen before. Business stakeholders drive some of the changes while others are clearly coming from the outside. Business models nimble enough to adapt will thrive, while many others will be caught flatfooted and perish. Here are five theses for the…

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Amazon continued its dominance as one of the most innovative companies in the world today by taking three of the top ten rankings in the 2018 Digital Retail Innovations Report from Retail Insider, sponsored by Webloyalty. It’s Amazon Go and Amazon Logistics made the second and fourth places while Amazon Echo topped the list in first…

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Name: Stowga The Place: Anywhere in the UK there are big, empty warehouses really. The Story: Like all good business ideas, this one comes from someone spotting a problem and thinking – I could solve that. And who might that someone be? Charlie Pool, CEO of Stowga. He comes from an asset management background (Delin…

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The most natural way of communicating is through voice so it is hardly a surprise that there is growing interest in the use of voice-enabled technology for shopping. The recent ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report listed Amazon’s voice-enabled Alexa solution as the number one retail innovation for the second year running. This…

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   Retail Insider held its latest Evening Drinks Event in London with two leading players from the technology end of fashion retailing giving their insights on the industry and how it continues to change through ongoing innovation. Andrew Robb, COO of Farfetch, and Jonathan Wall, group e-commerce director of Shop Direct, took part in a…

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The retail industry has a great capacity to devise descriptive terms that should never see the light of day. Retailtainment and omni-channel are two such terms that really should have been consigned straight to the bin. A similar thought occurred to me when I came across a new term – grocerant. I guess you’ve worked…

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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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 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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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‘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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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In the final part of Lovehoney Week on Retailinsider.com we hear from co-founder Neal Slateford, who runs through the top 10 things he has learnt from setting up the business. 1. We don’t know anything, you don’t know anything, but don’t let that stop you. Before setting up Lovehoney it was a toss-up between creating…

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  Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail Richard Longhurst, co-founder of Lovehoney 1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?  Spreading the sexual happiness message into the mainstream. The impact of Fifty Shades of Grey on our sales this year has shown that there is a genuine appetite for adult toys in…

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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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  Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and PCMS The Name: Lovehoney   The Place:Well, it’s basically an online business but there is a shop in London, WC2 under the Coco de Mer brand, which Lovehoney recently bought.   The Story: Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst (yes, the most successful online sex toy retailer in the…

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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…

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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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  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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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