The value of physical and digital goods sold by online retailers is set to exceed $6 trillion globally by 2024, according to new research. Data gathered by Juniper Research shows that by 2024, the total transaction value of remote payments for physical and digital goods will have risen 53 per cent by 2024, compared to figures for 2019.
More than half (55 per cent) of children aged six to 16 want to buy a product if their favourite YouTube or Instagram star is using or wearing it, according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce. The company's Generation Alpha report, based on a study of over 4,000 6-16-year olds in the UK and US, highlighted the growing importance of influencers in the lives of the next generation of shoppers, with a further 14 per cent saying they'd like for influencers to operate their own retail outlets in the future.
Aldi has signed a three year deal with AO World to get its Specialbuys range delivered by the online electricals retailer. Though much of the range is already available to purchase online - alongside a range of wines and spirits - the new partnership will allow Aldi to offer delivery for larger products across the UK, with extended delivery options during the weekend.
The government has announced the list of towns set to benefit from a £95 million boost aimed at preserving the heritage of UK High Streets. Nicky Morgan, the culture secretary, named the 69 towns in England that will receive part of the cash injection as part of the biggest ever single investment by government in the UK’s built heritage.
Councils around the UK are set to spend £1 billion on buying shopping centres in an attempt to redevelop town centres hit by recent store closures. Research from shopping centre trade association Revo and property advisory firm Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) found that local authorities have spent a record £775 million buying shopping centres over the past three years, with a further £230 million planned for next year.
Waitrose has scrapped an automated customer fulfilment centre partnership with Today Development Partners (TDP) after just four months. The supermarket announced the collaboration in May with the company led by Ocado founder Jonathan Faiman. The deal was aimed at growing its online arm into a £1 billion business by upgrading its supply chain technology, three months the partnership with Ocado ended.
Results statements for three of the UK’s biggest retailers have demonstrated mixed fortunes on the High Street and concerns about the impact of Brexit on UK shoppers. Morrisons reported its first fall in quarterly underlying sales since 2016, with its interim report for the half-year period ending 4 August, down 1.9 per cent against tough comparisons of a 6.3 per cent increase for the same period last year.
Losses at Topshop and Topman deepened to £505 million in the year to September 2018 after the parent company of Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire reported a loss of £177.3 million. Topshop and Topman posted losses of more than half a billion pounds at the fashion brands compared to a loss of £3.9 million the previous year, with sales down nine per cent to £847 million.
New research has revealed that 40 per cent of luxury shoppers still prefer to start their journey in-store, but 39 per cent are now using mobile phones to shop and 29 per cent are using a retailer or brand’s app. This is according to a survey of 3,000 luxury shoppers - defined as respondents who had browsed or purchased what they perceived as a luxury item within the last three months - from the UK, France and United Arab Emirates (UAE), commissioned by e-commerce search provider Attraqt.
Mastercard has announced a new initiative to increase the nation’s access to cash, letting merchants earn a fee every time they dispense cash to a shopper paying with a Mastercard debit card from April 2020. Although cashback at shops has been a withdrawal option for bank account holders for some time, by providing retailers with this fee, Mastercard suggested that it will offer a new income stream to the High Street and provide further incentive for local shops to offer the service.
Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) has appointed Pete Marsden as its new chief technology officer (CTO) to spearhead the group’s technology programme and focus on mobile, personalisation and artificial intelligence. Reporting into global chief operating officer Olivier Schaeffer, he will lead the group’s global technology team across London and Bologna.
Around 16 shops are closing every day as the UK High Street continues to battle the shift towards online shopping and the rising cost of physical store space, according to a new report from PwC. A net 1,234 shops disappeared from Britain’s top 500 High Streets in the first half of 2019, according to the professional services firm, taking the gap between store closures and openings to a record high as leading retailers resort to restructuring plans.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has announced that it is to explore opening up access to data in the UK’s new payments architecture. The UK’s economic regulator for payments has released the findings of a report on the use of data in the payments industry, finding that there are a “number of areas where the industry needs to manage key issues” in managing the large volumes of data that flow through payments systems every day.
JD Sports has reported a 47 per cent rise in half-year revenues as the retailer bucks the downward trend weighing on the UK High Street.
The sportswear retailer’s half year report for the 26 weeks to August 3 revealed a jump in revenues to £2.7 billion, up from £1.8 million last year. The rise was driven by a 10 per cent jump in like for sales in the group’s stores in the UK and Ireland.
H&M is partnering with payments giant Klarna to offer UK customers a pay later option as the clothing retailer looks to expand its range of frictionless and flexible checkout options.The Swedish FinTech has helped H&M to develop a pay later option for members of its loyalty programme.
Syte has raised $21.5 million in Series B funding led by Viola Ventures and joined by Storm Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Axess Ventures. All previous investors also participated in the round, bringing Syte’s total funding to $30 million to date. The artificial intelligence (AI) company’s technology powers visual search for some of the world’s largest e-commerce companies, including Farfetch, Marks & Spencer, Boohoo and Tommy Hilfger.
Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has appointed Francesco Tinto as its global chief information officer (CIO) and senior vice president. He will oversee the group’s IT operations and strategy across all of the company’s divisions, including Boots in the UK, taking responsibility for new technology and digital innovation.
Intu is reportedly exploring a buyout deal following a challenging trading period across its portfolio. According to The Sunday Times, private equity firm Orion Capital Managers is a frontrunner, with owner Aref Lahham understood to be in the early stages of seeking partners.
Footfall declined by 1.3 per cent in August, compared to a 1.6 per cent drop at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. On a three-month basis, footfall decreased by 2.1 per cent. High Street footfall declined by 1.9 per cent, following from the decrease of two per cent in August last year.
Sainsbury’s has announced that it is to reinstate manned tills and self-checkout desks after a trial of the till-free store model revealed that customers still wanted the option of paying by cash or card. The trial, the first of its kind by a major UK supermarket featuring SmartShop Scan and Pay&Go cardless technologies, was rolled out to nine convenience stores in London.
Marks & Spencer has hired the former boss of Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty scheme as part of its ‘digital-first’ strategy. Danielle Papagapiou, who spent 15 years at Tesco - leading Clubcard from February 2015 to November 2016 - left her most recent role as customer director at Vision Express in May.
ING has partnered with Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn and US FinTech startup AiFi to pilot a cashierless store concept. The trial store, in the city of Zaandam, is only 14 metres square, and uses a system similar to the Amazon Go stores in the US.
Boden’s chief executive is set to leave at the end of this year, after three years in the role. Jill Easterbrook, who previously headed Tesco’s clothing division, told the board she wanted to step down and build her portfolio of non-executive directorships at other companies.
Amazon is reportedly trialling the use of new technology which would enable shoppers to pay for goods with the swish of a hand. According to the New York Post, the e-commerce giant has been testing biometric scanners with employees at its New York office, with a view to rolling the technology out to its Whole Foods supermarkets chain.
Boohoo has raised its sales guidance for the year following strong growth in the first half of its financial year. The fast fashion retailer, which last month acquired the online operations of Karen Millen and Coast, said in a trading statement that it expects full year sales growth to come in between 33 and 38 per cent.
Younger consumers aged between 15 and 24, as well as older consumers aged 65 and over, plan to do the majority of their gift buying in shopping centres. This is according to an international study by Bazaarvoice, conducted among 2,500 respondents in the US, UK, France and Germany.
The Capgemini Research Institute has found that consumers increasingly prefer to interact with robots rather than humans, especially when it comes to researching products, learning about new services or following up on post-purchase customer service queries. It surveyed over 12,000 consumers who use voice/chat assistants and 1,000 business executives - from companies covering consumer products and retail, retail banking and insurance, and automotive - finding that nearly 70 per cent of consumers think they will progressively replace visits to a store or bank with their voice assistant within three years’ time.
Arcadia has confirmed that its interim chairman Jamie Drummond Smith resigned after creditors approved a series of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). Philip Green’s embattled retail empire passed a total of seven CVAs in June, aimed at shoring up the financial future of its stable of High Street brands, including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton.
Dunelm has reported a “strong year” of trading, with in-store sales up by 7.7 per cent year-on-year, while online sales grew by 35.1 per cent. Profit before tax was £125.9 million, up 23.4 per cent on last year’s figure, based on total sales of £1.1 billion during the year to 29 June.
Boots is piloting a scheme in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to deliver prescriptions in electric vehicles. The pharmacy group is adding five electric Renault Kangoo iVans to its fleet used to pick up prescriptions and deliver them to patients’ homes.
Spar has partnered with the Gander app and Henderson Technology to provide customers with live price updates on soon-to-be out of date items in over 270 of its convenience stores. Using Henderson’s EDGEPos system, Gander will post products nearing their sell-by-date as soon as they are stickered in store, updating the list as items are sold in real-time.
Consumer spending was up by 1.3 per cent in August compared to last year, according to the latest figures from Barclaycard. Data from the card and payments provider pointed to an uptick following a summer of muted growth. A breakdown of the figures showed that spending remained subdued across the board, with the exception of pubs and restaurants, as Brits made the most of the long summer days.
Halfords has partnered with 8x8 to upgrade its customer service technology. Until now, Halfords had multiple legacy communications and customer support systems in place across its customer support operations. These will now be replaced with a single unified communications and contact centre solution across all of the group’s customer service teams, including Boardman Bikes, Cycle Republic and Halfords Autocentres.
Boots is planning to transfer its IT help desk overseas, putting up to 60 jobs at risk in the UK. The pharmacy group explained that colleagues in the IT function have been informed of the intention to restructure parts of IT service desk.
Sales were flat in August on a total basis, against an increase of 1.3 per cent the previous year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. UK retail sales decreased by 0.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis from August 2018, when they had increased 0.2 per cent from the preceding year.
PUMA has opened its first-ever North American flagship store, filled with technological features. Located at 609 Fifth Avenue in New York City, it features sports engagement zones, a customisation studio and digitally-connected offerings across the 18,000 square foot, two-floor space.
Arcadia Group has denied that it is gearing up to sell off brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins, as the company embarks on a plan aimed at shoring up its financial future. The Sunday Times reported that Philip Green’s retail empire had begun the process of separating functions such as IT and human resources so that they could be sold off as independent units in future.
Alibaba has partnered with Trustly to help the Chinese e-commerce site’s European customers make online banking payments via Ingenico. During its initial stage, Alibaba.com will launch Trustly’s bank payments in 16 European markets – Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK.
Zalando is extending a trial of robots to process customer orders in its Lahr fulfilment center. After a successful trial of the automated TORU bots at its Erfurt logistics centre, the German e-commerce has extended the pilot with robotics company Magazino to relieve employees in the Lahr centre from particularly strenuous and un-ergonomic activities.
Payments firm Wirecard is partnering with WHSmith to expand its online digital payment acceptance capabilities and in-store point of sale (PoS) systems. The collaboration comes as WHSmith - the UK’s largest retailer of news, books, travel accessories and convenience - looks to implement a digital strategy through a growing e-commerce business, including Click and Collect and 'Buy Online Return in Store' (BORIS) options.
Alipay has partnered with Adyen to support payment methods for the AliExpress, Taobao, Tmall and Alibaba.com brands globally. The deal means that Adyen will support Alibaba, operator of the world’s largest retail commerce business, to facilitate payments outside of mainland China as the group looks to streamline existing payment management operations.
With one-time passwords being increasingly used to try and meet the forthcoming Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements, card issuers have been clamouring for their customers to update their phone numbers. However, research from Harris Interactive found that 30 per cent of consumers do not know or do not believe that their card issuers have up-to-date phone numbers for them.
Enjoy, the e-commerce startup co-founded by former Apple VP of retail operations Ron Johnson, has raised $150 million to support its expansion in the UK.The US company, which has launched an on-demand mobile retail platform, stated the Series C round brought total investment since launch in May 2015 to more than $350 million.
A survey of UK retailers commissioned by PushON has revealed that 35 per cent have no business transformation strategy in place for the rise of digital technology and changing consumer habits. Furthermore, 20 per cent of them haven’t invested anything in developing the digital side of their business in the past year either.
UK retailers have chalked up another month of sales gains to international shoppers, with tax free spend rising by nine per cent in July, compared with the same period last year. This is according to data from international payments company Planet, which facilitates VAT refunds for non-EU visitors to the UK.
August Shop Prices fell by 0.4 per cent, compared to a 0.1 per cent decrease in July – the fastest rate of decline since last June. This is according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen, which also showed non-food prices down by 1.5 per cent in August, compared to July’s decrease of 1.2 per cent.
After a year of testing the market in collaboration with chosen retailers, ONVU Technologies has officially launched its new division, ONVU Retail. The video intelligence firm appointed Nigel Ashman as president of the new division, with responsibility for driving strategy and growth plans.
Shop Direct, the UK’s largest digital retailer, has added Topshop and Topman to its portfolio of more than 500 fashion brands. The business will also become the first UK retailer outside of the Arcadia Group to stock Topshop Beauty.
Arcadia Group has announced that two US landlords have withdrawn their challenge to a proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) aimed at shoring up the financial future of Philip Green’s retail empire. The High Street behemoth - which includes Topshop, Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins - won the greenlight for a total of seven CVAs from creditors in June, allowing the company to forge ahead with rent renegotiations with landlords and plans to close around 48 stores.
The government has announced that an additional 50 towns will benefit from a £1 billion fund aimed at reviving Britain’s High Streets. Prime minister Boris Johnson stated that the Future High Streets Fund will be extended to towns including Dudley, Dover, Scarborough and Stockport.
Morrisons will close down four of its stores, putting around 400 jobs at risk. The supermarket chain said the closures are part of a “constant review” of its existing portfolio, which consists of 494 stores.
Following a month of improved sales in June, retailers failed to maintain the positive momentum in July, with online sales growth slowing to just 4.4 per cent year-on-year and falling by 5.7 per cent month-on-month. The latest IMRG and Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, which tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers, revealed that despite hot weather and online shopping events like Amazon Prime Day, the figures represented the lowest ever July year-on-year increase.
Karen Millen chief executive Beth Butterwick is reported to have stepped down from the role, following the takeover of the company by online fashion retailer Boohoo. Butterwick, who has led the womenswear brand since 2016, has left the business after Boohoo acquired Karen Millen and Coast in an £18.2 million pre-pack administration deal, according to Drapers.
British builders’ merchant CMO Stores has unveiled a new online portal that it believes offers the widest online range of building materials in the UK, with delivery direct to building sites across the country. In 2018, the company previously known as Construction Materials Online launched Door Superstore alongside its existing Drainage Superstore, Insulation Superstore and Roofing Superstore websites.
Automated delivery robot developer Starship Technologies has raised $40 million in its Series A funding round. The California-based tech firm has pioneered the roll out of commercial food and grocery delivery bots at university campuses across the US in addition to trialling autonomous robot delivery at Tesco and Co-Op stores in the UK.
A.S. Watson Group, the largest international health and beauty retailer responsible for The Perfume Shop and Superdrug in the UK, has published research suggesting that shoppers in the Generation Z age demographic are driving both theirs, and the industry’s, growth. Gen Z are defined as being born between 1995 and 2009, and are a cohort that is more populous and influential on consumer spending than any generation before them, according to the study.
Notonthehighstreet has appointed HelloFresh UK boss Claire Davenport as its new chief executive. Barrie Seidenberg, who has led the curated online marketplace since April 2018, was diagnosed with brain cancer earlier this year and will now be stepping down in order to focus on her health.
IKEA has taken the strategic decision to invest in smart home technology by establishing IKEA Home smart as a new business unit. Home smart was initiated as a project in 2012 with the ambition to incorporate digital elements and technologies into home products and solutions. Several launches have followed since then and now the Swedish flat-pack furniture giant is developing it into a fully end-to-end business unit.
Urban Outfitters has adopted Qualtrics’ technology to optimise its global customer experience programme. Qualtrics’ CustomerXM system is designed to help brands understand and optimise shopper sentiments and perceptions, combining what it calls ‘operational data’ and ‘experience data’ in one place.
House of Fraser has extended its administration period for a further 12 months, as owner Sports Direct battles “terminal” issues with the struggling retailer. Creditors for the department store chain, which was bought in a pre-pack administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct for £90 million in August last year, have now agreed to a further 12 months of administration until August 2020.
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of retailers see Click and Collect services as a solution to drive High Street footfall, but with UK shoppers leaving £228 million worth of items uncollected each year, Barclaycard has argued more needs to be done to enhance the experience for shoppers. It commissioned surveys in July of 250 UK retailers with more than 50 employees and an online presence, as well as 2,000 UK adults, 71 per cent of shoppers now use Click and Collect - selecting the option twice a month on average - yet 15 per cent admit to not collecting their purchases in-store.
Employees and visitors to office space concept All Work and Social’s XYZ building in Manchester will be able to pay for food and drink using finger scan biometrics as part of a trial beginning this autumn. Launched in partnership with Fingopay, using its VeinID scanning technology, customers can link ‘vein signatures’ in their fingers with payment cards.
The government has been urged to ease the business rates burden on High Street retailers after challenges to bills rose by 65 per cent in the first quarter of 2019. According to new figures from law firm RPC, there were 4,000 challenges made to business rates bills in the first three months of this year, up from 2,430 in the fourth quarter of last year.
Former Majestic Wine managing director John Colley has resigned from his role as chief trading officer at Kingfisher after just 20 months in the position. The Times reported that he will return to Majestic Wine under new ownership, after its stores were bought for £95 million earlier this month by American asset manager Fortress Investment Group.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has closed eight Jack Wills stores following its acquisition of the fashion retailer earlier this month. The retail group told the Financial Times that attempts would be made to redeploy staff to other locations amid reports that further stores are being eyed for closure if Sports Direct cannot negotiate lower rents with landlords.
Total like-for-like sales increased by seven per cent this week, from a base of 1.5 per cent for the equivalent week last year, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker. Fashion stole the show this week, but total in-store like-for-likes enjoyed a strong seven days, despite lower footfall and mixed weather conditions.
Global delivery software business Sorted Group has raised £15 million in a Series B funding round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment, alongside Praetura Ventures and NVM Private Equity. The investment takes the Manchester-based firm’s total funding to more than £35 million since its launch in 2010.
Shares in Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct fell by 10 per cent this morning after Grant Thornton confirmed it would quit as auditor of the retail empire.The news that the accounting firm would not seek reappointment from 11 September, after 10 years in the role, comes as a fresh blow for the company after the chaotic publication of its annual results, which revealed that the company is facing a £605 million tax bill from Belgian authorities.
In July, online retailing accounted for 19.9 per cent of total retail sales, compared with 18.9 per cent in June, with an overall growth of 12.7 per cent versus the same month a year earlier. This is according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, which showed e-commerce growth for all sectors except department stores. The decline of 1.3 per cent for department stores comes compared to strong growth of 34.4 per cent during the same month in 2018.
Wirecard has unveiled a prototype of an unmanned store utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The Grab & Go concept lets consumers pick products which are scanned automatically by a mobile app, with payment taken upon leaving the store. Launched by Wirecard’s Innovation Labs, it works through a combination of computer vision, deep learning and logic.
Almost half of small to medium-sized (SME) online retailers are exploring flexible payment options (49 per cent) and e-commerce technologies (48 per cent) in the coming year, according to new research from Klarna. A survey of 100 decision-makers at UK-based online retailers by the payments company found that SME retailers are increasingly open to investing in e-commerce technologies to meet customer expectations of instant and frictionless shopping experiences.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed a plan to grant the payments and e-commerce industry 18 months of extra time to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).It was reported last week that the financial regulator had drawn up plans to give the UK a minimum 18 month extension to the 14 September deadline for firms to comply with SCA rules required by European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PDS2).
More than half (54 per cent) of adults aged 65 and over shopped online in 2019 according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics(ONS), marking the first time a majority of this age group has purchased goods from e-commerce sites.The data showed that among all adults, 82 per cent had bought goods or services online in the last 12 months, an increase of five percentage points since 2018.
Over fifty major retailers have come together to demand the government takes action to fix the business rates system. In a letter to the new chancellor, Sajid Javid, High Street brands have called for tax reform to be at the heart of the promised new economic package.
A majority (61 per cent) of retailers are lagging behind in providing online updates of in-store stock, according to new research. A YouGov survey of 2,000 consumers and 140 high street retailers with more than 30 physical stores in the UK for retail management solutions provider Cybertill, found that stock level and availability is not currently displayed on 61 per cent of websites, despite 42 per cent of adults In the UK saying they would like to be able to see this information.
CD, DVD and computer game sales fell 19 per cent to £214 million over the 12 weeks to the end of June, at the same time as streaming revenues for the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video rose. Data from Kantar showed that High Street retailers were hit hardest by the slump, with a drop in footfall further hindering physical sales.
The national town centre vacancy rate was 10.3 per cent in July, a slight increase on the previous quarter's rate of 10.2 per cent, and the highest since January 2015. This is according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard, which also revealed footfall down by 1.9 per cent in July, compared to the same point last year when it declined by 0.9 per cent – the worst decline for July since 2012.
The Central Bank of Ireland has confirmed it will put a “limited migration period” in place for regulated firms to comply with the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules. The deadline is currently 14 September under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), but in line with a European Banking Authority (EBA) opinion published in June, the Irish financial regulator has taken up the suggestion of giving merchants and payment providers “limited additional time” to ensure no disruption to payment systems.
Amazon is opening its first Scottish Clicks and Mortar concept store in Waverley Mall, Edinburgh. The tech giant will capitalise on increased festival footfall in the Scottish capital with its latest pop-up store, as part of the year-long, UK-wide pilot launched in conjunction with business support organisation Enterprise Nation.
Farfetch has acquired New Guards Group for $675 million. The Milan-based holding company was founded in 2015 and has launched luxury streetwear brands including Off-White, Palm Angels and Heron Preston.
AO World has launched a new website selling mobile phones, contracts and SIM cards. The online-only electricals retailer stated that it is well-positioned to undercut rival High Street brands like Dixons Carphone, as customers “don’t have to pay for hundreds of high street stores with thousands of sales staff”.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to delay enforcement of the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) payment security rules by than 18 months, on the recommendation of UK Finance. This is according to reports in the Financial Times, which reported that as part of its consideration of an extension to the 14 September deadline for implementing the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the regulator asked the trade association to design an alternative timetable for the UK.
Boots UK is piloting a new on-demand interpretation service for non-English speaking pharmacy patients to help make healthcare more accessible. In England and Wales, there are an estimated 726,000 residents who cannot speak English easily and 138,000 unable to speak English at all.
Fluent Commerce has completed its Series B financing, raising $33 million. Led by Santa Monica-based Arrowroot Capital, the investment will allow the Australian headquartered order management software provider to continue development of its growing suite of unified omnichannel solutions.
White Stuff has appointed The Body Shop’s US managing director Toby Milton to the newly-created role of multi-channel director. He will join in October, responsible for delivering a “consistent customer experience and trading stance” across all the clothing retailer’s channels, including in-store, online, wholesale and marketplaces.
Facebook is failing to stop fake review factories that are increasingly being used to mislead consumers – despite being ordered to take urgent action by the regulator. This is according to an investigation by Which? revealing that more than a month after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) raised concerns, Facebook remains flooded with fake review groups.
Klarna has raised $460 million in an equity investment round, at a valuation of $5.5 billion, to help fund its push into the US market. The round was led by Dragoneer Investment Group, alongside Commonwealth Bank of Australia, HMI Capital, Merian Chrysalis Investment Company, Första AP-Fonden (AP1), IPGL, IVP and funds managed by BlackRock.
Boohoo has acquired the brands, intellectual property and online business of Karen Millen and Coast in a pre-pack administration deal worth £18.2 million. This will result in 62 immediate job cuts, while all other staff members in Karen Millen and Coast’s 1,100-strong workforce are now at risk of redundancies.
Sports Direct has bought Jack Wills in a £12.75 million a pre-pack administration deal. Will Wright and Chris Pole from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed joint administrators to the clothing retailer, with its brand and UK trading assets sold, debt-free, to Mike Ashley’s group.
Halfords has appointed Holland & Barrett’s omnichannel director Emma Mead as its new digital director. She joined the car and bike parts retailer last week after almost four years at Holland & Barrett, where she began as director of e-commerce.
UK retail sales increased by 0.3 per cent in July, on a total basis, against an increase of 1.6 per cent in July 2018 – the lowest figure recorded for the month of July since records began in 1995 and after the worst June on records. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures also found that on a like-for-like basis, sales fell by 0.1 per cent year-on-year last month.
Tesco has announced changes to its stores which will result in a reduction of around 4,500 jobs. A statement from the supermarket chain explained that it has begun conversations with colleagues about operational changes, which will “simplify and reduce processes and administrative tasks” across all of its 153 Metro stores.
Harrods has appointed Caitlin Innes to the new role of digital and strategy director. She moves from the position of director of digital commerce at Burberry, and will now oversee the luxury department store’s online trading, digital marketing, customer insight and loyalty teams.
During the 2018/19 financial year, 190,000 non-domestic premises such as shops and restaurants in England were brought before the Magistrate Courts for non-payment of their business rates. Property adviser Altus Group submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to all English councils on how many businesses had been summonsed between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019, with details being provided on 1,740,073 out of the 1,933,963 non-domestic properties liable for business rates.
Ocado has completed the sale of half its UK retail business to Marks & Spencer as part of a joint venture to enable the High Street retailer to offer an online grocery delivery service. However, the business will not begin selling M&S products until 1 September next year, unless Ocado’s existing arrangements with Waitrose & Partners end sooner.
A patent application has revealed that Walmart is exploring its own US dollar-backed digital currency, along the same lines of Facebook’s Libra project. The document outlines a method for “generating one digital currency unit by tying the one digital currency unit to a regular currency, storing information of the one digital currency unit into a block of a blockchain, buying or paying the one digital currency unit”.
Majestic Wine is selling its commercial and retail business to CF Bacchus Holding, part of the Fortress Investment Group, for around £95 million. One freehold property, previously owned by Majestic’s Wine Warehouses, will be sold separately to an independent third party, which is expected to raise a further £5 million, subject to approval of a planning application for redevelopment.
Westfield has become the third major shopping centre owner to complain this week of rental income hit by the recent wave of retailer administrations and Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs). For the first half of the year ending 31 July, Westfield’s UK shopping centres saw like-for-like rental income down by 3.1 per cent. It attributed the decline to a vacancy rate of 8.7 per cent, caused by many businesses shuttering shops, as well as leasing delays and non-renewals brought about by uncertainty around Brexit.
The John Lewis Partnership has partnered with the Small Robot Company, design consultancy Method and various robotics companies and industry bodies in the UK, to develop a blueprint for Human Robotic Interaction (HRI) in the 21st century. Envisioned as an open framework to be evolved over time, the initiative will foster and accelerate the safe and ethical adoption of robotics across British industry. It will also help define how autonomous robotic technology should interact with people in the real world across different environments and sectors, including retail, manufacturing and farming.
Three quarters of payment issuers said they would be ready for the 14 September Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) deadline from a compliance standpoint, but that they would not be operationally ready. This is according to a report from the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) which spoke to 13 UK issuers - including three of the four largest with credit, debit and prepaid card portfolios - during the Spring.
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have only one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards. Now in their seventh year, the ceremony will take place at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London on 13 November, hosted by award-winning comedian and panel show regular Holly Walsh.
Strong online sales growth at Next drove sales up four per cent in the second quarter, compared to the same period last year. Figures for the three months to 27 July showed online sales had risen 12 per cent, up 0.2 per cent on the 11.8 per cent increase in the first quarter.
Co-op is rolling out its till-less technology into more convenience stores as cash-use continues to drop. The retailer is extending its pay-in-aisle technology trial, with shoppers able to use an app to checkout in over 30 Co-op food stores across England, Scotland and Wales by late August.
Intu has reported falling net rental income in its half-year report, mainly due to retailer administrations and Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs). The shopping centre group stated that it expects like-for-like net rental income, which fell 7.7 per cent to £205.2 million in the six month period ending 30 June, to be at a similar level for the rest of the year.
July’s shop price deflation held steady at 0.1 per cent, making it the second consecutive month of deflation since October 2018. This is according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures, which showed that food inflation eased slightly to 1.7 per cent in July from 1.8 per cent in June. Fresh food inflation also slowed in July to 1.2 per cent, from 1.4 per cent in June. Meanwhile, ambient food inflation accelerated to 2.4 per cent in July, from 2.3 per cent in June.
Zalando has become one of the first retailers to implement a two-stage authentication process for online orders, ahead of the September Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) deadline. The online clothing retailer has partnered with Ayden to introduce the new payment procedure, which will require customers to offer two separate authentication methods in order to checkout.
Grant Thornton is reportedly set to quit as auditor of Sports Direct International. According to reports in the Financial Times, the auditing firm has told regulators of its plans to step aside after Sports Direct revealed a £605 million tax bill from the Belgian authorities, as it published its long-awaited full year results on Friday.
Online sales slumped to their lowest ever growth rate of just 5.4 per cent year-on-year, according to IMRG and Capgemini, which track the online sales performance of over 200 retailers with a combined annual spend of £28 billion. Comparatively, the same time period in 2018 saw results of 16.9 per cent year-on-year, with consumer spending buoyed by events like the Royal wedding, World Cup and the Spring heatwave.
Retail computer vision and analytics business Trax has acquired retail image recognition services firm Planorama. Trax’s in-store execution solutions, market measurement and analytics services are powered by proprietary image recognition and machine learning technology, turning photos of retail shelves into actionable shelf and store-level insights.
Matalan is making moves to build its internal e-commerce team and move away from using external consultants. The clothing and homeware retailer’s e-commerce director Paul Hornby said he is looking for a new e-commerce delivery lead, user experience (UX) lead, quality assurance (QA) engineer and business analyst.
Starling Bank has partnered with mobile point of sale company SumUp to provide small merchants with access to faster settlements. SumUp’s terminals can be used with an accompanying app, or without an app via the company’s standalone 3G Reader, which comes with an integrated free data card.
Hammerson has reported losses of £319.8 million for the six months to 30 June, compared with a £55.7 million profit during the same period last year. The shopping centre owner’s results revealed that on an adjusted basis, profits were down 10.5 per cent to £107.4 million. Net rental income also dropped 12.3 per cent to £156.6 million.
Sports Direct’s long-delayed full-year results have revealed regrets over the purchase of House of Fraser - which recorded losses of £54.6 million for the period - and a £605 million tax bill from the Belgian authorities. After being promised a week earlier, the report for the 52 weeks ending 28 April eventually came 10 hours after the expected time of delivery on Friday – and an hour after the stock market closed.
Several European associations representing banks and third party providers (TPPs) have released a joint statement agreeing on joint efforts regarding the transition to EU new payment rules. Responding to recent updates from EU authorities regarding the 14 September deadline for the revised payments services directive (PSD2), the European Credit Sector Associations (ECSAs) and TPP associations have pledged to improve their interactions regarding the implementation of the new standards.
Retail sales fell for the third consecutive month in the year to July, marking the longest period of decline since 2011, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Its survey of 93 firms, of which 46 were retailers, showed that sales volumes fell in the year to July, albeit to a lesser extent than in June. Orders placed on suppliers also declined for the third consecutive month, but at a slower pace than the previous month.
Half of retailers have found that deploying mobile technology in-store has driven up customer experience levels, according to new research. A survey of 700 global retail IT decision-makers across the UK, US, Japan, Germany, France and Australia by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Apple management firm Jamf revealed that retailers are increasingly looking to technology to transform the in-store experience, with nearly all (99 per cent) of those asked saying that retailers have implemented at least one mobile technology so far.
Mothercare’s store closure programme has affected total UK sales, which were down 23.2 per cent for the 15 weeks to 13 July. Like-for-like sales improved by 3.2 per cent, but online sales fell by 12.1 per cent. The baby and mother product retailer is currently in talks to sell or separate its UK store estate, months after striking a deal with creditors that secured its survival. This now comprises of 79 stores, down from 134 last year.
More than half (58 per cent) of retail businesses are losing revenue due to shortcomings with their payment gateway, according to new research. A survey of 500 online payment professionals across five countries by emerchantpay found that two thirds of respondents were coming under increasing pressure from senior leaders to improve payments performance as a matter of urgency.
Retailers are struggling to retain customers that increasingly have zero tolerance for a poor retail experience, with 40 per cent stating that just one bad experience would stop them returning to a brand. This is according to a survey of 2,000 consumers and 254 retail decision-makers across the UK conducted by Censuswide in May and June on behalf of Klarna.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into JD Sports’ £90 million acquisition of Footasylum. The competition watchdog said it would look into whether the acquisition, which was completed in March, had “resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market”.
As more and more retailers adopt till-free checkout technology with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), GlobalData has raised concerns about the consequences that this technology could have on data protection. The analytics firm pointed out that retailers will be able to hold an unprecedented level of in-depth data on consumers through the use of cameras and sensors, including personal details and the mapping of shopping habits from when people enter the store, to when they leave.
E-commerce personalisation platform RevLifter has raised £2.3 million of funding to fuel further growth and development of its technology. The company, founded in 2017, said the round - led by a syndicate of new and existing investors, including Coutts private banking - would enable it to address growing demand from retailers around the world, with a focus on growing its business in the US.
New research has revealed that 37 per cent of Generation Z’s (those aged 16-24) think access to online shopping has made them more impatient while shopping in-store, while 41 per cent of those aged under 40 prefer to shop online rather than in-store, due to a combination of convenience (81 per cent), cost (63 per cent), lack of queues (64 per cent) and choice (61 per cent). This is according to research from merchant services provider Paymentsense and daily consumer perception research service YouGov BrandIndex.
Retail lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has joined forces with dispute management and risk mitigation firm Chargebacks911 to help the industry cut down on invalid payment disputes. The partnership is aimed at educating retailers on steps they can take to cut down on chargebacks, which occur when a consumer disputes a card transaction and secures a refund for the purchase into their account.
Over half of consumers (57 per cent) would use voice-activated technology, such as Amazon’s Alexa, to pay for low-value goods and services. This is according to research commissioned by Paysafe among more than 6,000 consumers across countries - including the US, UK and Canada - which found that one in ten (11 per cent) have used voice to confirm their identity when purchasing goods online.
Waitrose & Partners has rolled out a new customer-facing scanning solution to all its stores, letting customers scan codes from their smartphone screen at the checkout, without handing over their phone. The solution comes from automatic data capture firm Datalogic, with its Gryphon GFS4400 scan engine helping to minimise disruption to existing point of sale infrastructure.
Revenues at fashion retailer Joules have risen 17.2 per cent over the last year, driven by a 58 per cent growth in online sales. Full year results for the retailer showed group revenue had climbed to £218 million, up from £185.9 million in 2018, with the group’s ‘total retail’ omnichannel strategy continuing to bear fruit.
Trax has closed a $100 million Series D investment led by HOPU Investments, one of Asia’s leading alternative asset managers. Headquartered in Singapore, Trax is a computer vision and analytics solutions for the retail industry, providing in-store execution, market measurement and analytics services by combining its proprietary image recognition and machine learning with a platform to turn photos of retail shelves into actionable insights.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has partially withdrawn its formal challenge to Debenhams’ plans to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), however the retail tycoon’s company remains involved in efforts to frustrate turnaround plans at the struggling retailer. He launched a last ditch challenge to a £200 million restructuring plan last month after creditors voted through plans to close up to 50 stores and renegotiate rents in an attempt to put the company on a stable financial footing.
LloydsPharmacy has rolled-out of new electronic point of sale (EPoS) systems across its UK and Ireland store estate. The project included the deployment of over 2,200 EPoS systems and P2Pe Chip and PIN devices, as well as more than 1,300 computers and other pieces of pharmacy-specific technology.
Visa has acquired German point of sale (PoS) firm Payworks in a deal that will enable Visa to offer cloud-based in-store and online payments processing. Visa said it would integrate Payworks’ PoS payment gateway software with its CyberSource digital payment management platform to create a fully integrated payment acceptance solution for merchants and acquirers.
Philip Day has made an initial bid for struggling British retailer Jack Wills. The clothing brand’s private equity owner BlueGem started a search to find a new owner in early July, with Sports Direct, Crew Clothing and Ben Sherman owner Marquee Brands also understood to be assessing offers.
Debenhams is reportedly on the verge of asking lenders for additional financial help tide it over through the Christmas trading period. The struggling High Street retailer, which launched a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) after collapsing into administration in April, has told its lending syndicate that it may need to access additional borrowing facilities before the winter, according to Sky News.
Retail sales increased by one per cent in June, compared with May, with non-food stores providing the largest growth contribution. The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures showed year-on-year growth rate up by 3.8 per cent, with growth across all sectors except department stores.
Toys R Us has partnered with tech-led retailer B8ta to relaunch the chain across the US. Following the brand’s collapse last year, its former chief merchandising officer Richard Barry - whose company Tru Kids owns the rights to the brand - announced that two new stores are due to open later this year.
Waitrose & Partners has exchanged contracts for the sale of four shops to other parties, and is closing three others, with the 677 staff working there now entering a period of consultation over their jobs. The shops are located in Bromley (Burnt Ash Lane); Oadby, Leicestershire; Sandhurst, Berkshire; and Wollaton, Nottinghamshire – with Lidl named as the buyer for all but the Sandhurst shop.
Superdry is rolling out Klarna’s payments technology to let customers buy now and pay later across stores in the US, UK and online. The clothing chain announced that the partnership, enabled by Adyen’s payments platform, would offer customers the chance to use Klarna’s Pay later or Pay in 3 instalment options.
Payments FinTech SumUp has raised €330 million to grow its network of merchants across 31 markets worldwide. The funding round was led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital, Bain Capital Credit, HPS Investment Partners and TPG Sixth Street Partners.
With excellent weather and the start of the sale season signalling the arrival of summer, online retail sales rose by 8.5 per cent year-on-year in June, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. After a disappointing May, which saw online sales suffer their worst growth on record (up only 1.9 per cent), June’s results represent the strongest growth so far this year, and are well ahead of the three, six and 12-month rolling averages (respectively -0.5 per cent, 5.4 per cent and 6.9 per cent).
When it comes to in-store technologies, consumers have heard all the promises but are still waiting on retailers to deliver, according to A.T. Kearney’s latest market survey. The consultancy polled 1,000 people from various demographic and economic backgrounds about emerging tech used in physical stores, focusing on five crucial technologies.
The e-commerce market in the UK is expected to grow by nine per cent a year over the next three years – with the market projected to be worth €231.2 billion by 2021. Research compiled by J.P.Morgan noted that the UK represents more than 30 per cent of the total European e-commerce market. France (€81.7 billion) and Germany (€73 billion) are the second and third largest e-commerce markets respectively today, together representing a third of all e-commerce activity in Europe.
The EU’s competition watchdog has launched an investigation into Amazon’s use of merchant data, as regulators continue to put pressure on tech companies’ use of customer information. The office of Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner, confirmed that the European Commission (EC) has opened a formal probe into the e-commerce giant’s use of sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace.
Morrisons has selected IRI to further develop its customer insight and personalised marketing. The supermarket chain will use IRI’s Retail Private Cloud solution, which takes customer data and uses predictive analytics to listen to customers and serve them better.
HEMA is rolling out artificial intelligence-driven technology from JDA for its supply chain. The Dutch retail chain, which sells value homewares and novelty goods in 750 stores across Europe, is aiming to further digitise its supply chain to improve customer experience and drive profits.
New figures released by local councils have revealed that 15.9 per cent of all shops in the UK now lie empty. Data obtained by Duff & Phelps via a Freedom of Information request showed that with a total of 418 councils in the UK, a mean average indicates that the total number of vacant retail units stands at 50,578 – or an average of 121 empty retail units per council.
ACI Worldwide has announced an international relationship with Worldpay, with the latter utilising the former’s e-commerce payments solution to accelerate the roll-out of alternative payment methods to its global merchant network. Worldpay accepts more than 300 payment types, and will use ACI’s UP eCommerce Payments solution to broaden the number of payment methods available in different regions across the globe, alongside speeding up time to market for merchants.
myGaru Technologies has launched an data privacy app that aims to help users take back control of the data gathered about them online. The app works by sweeping up personal data from users’ devices – from social media ‘likes’, to geolocation and online purchases that would traditionally be collected by third parties such as advertising technology, and preventing unauthorised use of the data.
Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has received applications from a US property group to challenge two Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) aimed at securing the future of the retail empire. The High Street behemoth - which includes Topshop, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins - won the greenlight for a total of seven CVAs from creditors in June, allowing the company to forge ahead with rent renegotiations with landlords and plans to close around 48 stores.
Wirecard has revealed a new smart mirror prototype, which is Germany's first mirror through which consumers can also pay. Developed by the company’s Innovation Lab, the mirror also offers alternative sizes, different colours and matching products on its interactive display.
The vast majority of e-commerce startups fail within their first 120 days of operation, new research has revealed. A survey of 1,253 owners of startups in the UK, carried out by digital agency Marketingsignals, found that 37 per cent said that their failure could be attributed to an inability to compete or deliver online marketing, with 35 per cent saying a lack of online visibility was the main factor.
Walmart has rolled out a new scheduling system to more than 1.1 million of its associates across approximately 4,600 stores. The upgrade comes from JDA Workforce Management, with the aim of improving scheduling accuracy and accounting for true demand needs at each store.
Amazon workers are staging protests against warehouse conditions to coincide with the start of the 48-hour Amazon Prime Day, which started today. The GMB union is leading the protests outside fulfilment centres across the UK, citing what it described as “dehumanising” working conditions in those facilities.
Luxury fashion brand Fendi has partnered with IT platform Dedagroup Stealth to build its omnichannel supply chain. The Rome-based fashion house, founded in 1925, is upgrading its global transactional value chain to supply online operations and 250 stores in countries worldwide – aiming for a single view of stock throughout the group’s entire product chain, from factory to point of sale.
Footfall declined by 2.9 per cent in June, compared to a 0.9 per cent fall at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard numbers. High Street footfall declined by 4.5 per cent, following from the increase of 0.1 per cent in June last year. Retail park footfall increased by 0.1 per cent, compared to a 0.4 per cent drop last June. Shopping centre footfall declined by 2.4 per cent, compared to a 3.4 fall last year.
The UK government is to forge ahead with plans to introduce a digital services tax on tech companies, despite US backlash to France’s introduction of a similar levy. The Treasury today published the draft details of its proposed two per cent tax on the revenues of social media platforms, online marketplaces and search engines.
The EPSM, a trade association for European payments services providers, has called for an 18 month delay to the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules to prevent significant disruption to online and digital businesses. The EPSM has joined its voice to a growing number of industry and regulatory institutions warning that businesses will not be ready for the EU-wide 14 September deadline to implement SCA rules, which is being introduced under the revised payment service directive (PSD2).
Marks & Spencer’s clothing and home managing director Jill McDonald has stepped down after two years in the role. The High Street retailer announced that Steve Rowe, chief executive of M&S would take on direct oversight of the clothing and home division, given its strategic importance to the business.
Amazon is to offer upskilling and re-training to 100,000 employees by 2025 as the e-commerce giant adapts to increased workplace automation. The company announced yesterday that it plans to invest $700 million in the next six years to provide re-training programs for a third of its US workforce.
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have just one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards. Now in their seventh year, companies are able to submit entries for this year’s awards with an expanded selection of categories to choose from.
An anticipated boost to e-commerce from 5G networks is unlikely to materialise according to a new study, which found that 65 per cent of shoppers prefer to make online purchases at home after browsing on their smartphones. A survey of 10,000 online shoppers by data analysis platfrom GlobalData found that shoppers prefer to hit the ‘buy’ button on purchases from a laptop or desktop at home, rather than buy items on the move.
Nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of online shoppers have abandoned their cart because they did not like the shipping options and more than a third (35 per cent) have stopped shopping with a retailer altogether because of a negative shipping experience, according to a new report. A combined survey of 283 UK digital consumers and 776 merchants by e-commerce software provider BigCommerce also found that free delivery is becoming so important to customers that nine in 10 have added items to their cart to receive their purchases for free.
Luxury fashion brand ALEXACHUNG has partnered with payments technology platform Laybuy to offer customers a buy now and pay later option.The eponymous fashion brand, founded by model Alexa Chung, said the tie up will allow UK customers to spread the cost of purchases over six equal weekly payments.
Online shopping is set to account for more than half of all retail sales within the next ten years, according to a new report. A study by Retail Economics for law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) found that the tipping point will arrive in 2028, when e-commerce sales are expected to reach 53 per cent of the total retail sales, up from the current figure of 19 per cent.
The UK’s competition watchdog has banned Sainsbury’s from acquiring a stake in Asda for a ten year period after it blocked proposals for a £12 billion mega merger between the two grocery brands. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) yesterday issued an order which prohibits Sainsbury’s from acquiring a stake in Asda or any of its subsidiaries and also blocks any action from Asda, which is owned by US grocery giant Walmart, from acquiring any stake in Sainsbury’s.
Carrefour France is extending its artificial intelligence (AI) partnership with Symphony RetailAI to streamline its warehouse, inventory and supply chain functions.Building upon the French supermarket giant’s deployment of Symphony’s AI-driven platform in Brazil, Carrefour will now deploy it across its operations in France.
Retail sales slumped 1.3 per cent in June due to a cooler start to the summer compared to last year’s heatwave, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG. The fall total in sales (-1.3 per cent) compared to an increase of 2.3 per cent in June 2018, as the World Cup and scorching temperatures drove shoppers into stores.
More than half (59 per cent) of payments leaders admit they are losing money due to issues with their payments gateways, according to new research. A global study of more than 500 online payment professionals by electronic payments provider emerchantpay also found that a lack of data and insight, analytical skills and resources for payments services had resulted in close to two thirds (65 per cent) reporting that they need to improve payments performance "as a matter of urgency."
Around 100 jobs are reported to be at risk at ASOS’s London headquarters as the e-commerce giant faces falling salesfigures. According to the Sunday Times, the online fashion retailer has launched a consultation on a round of redundancies which is thought to be focussed on the marketing department.
Almost half (45 per cent) of UK consumers said concerns over the security of payment processes would put them off using a particular online retailer, according to a new study. A YouGov study of 2,021 of adults for credit scoring firm Equifax said that payments security was the top priority across all ages groups, and was a particular concern for over 55s (75 per cent) compared to just over half of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds (52 per cent and 53 per cent respectively).
The UK’s competition watchdog has told Amazon to halt any integration with Deliveroo while it weighs up whether to launch an investigation into any potential breaches of competition rules. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued an initial enforcement order to the e-commerce giant and the app-based food delivery business after Amazon became lead investor in a £457 million funding round for Deliveroo that valued the company at more than £4 billion.
As retailers harness the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI), consumers and employees are watching closely and are ready to reward or punish behavior, according to the Capgemini Research Institute. It surveyed 1,580 executives from large organisations across 10 countries, and over 4,400 consumers across six countries, finding that respondents would be more loyal to, purchase more from, or be an advocate for, organisations whose AI interactions are deemed ethical.
Total in-store like-for-like sales fell slightly by 0.8 per cent in June from an already negative base of -1.7 per cent last year, while non-store sales rose by 16.5 per cent last month. In-store sales have now gone 16 out of the last 17 months without any growth, while non-store sales were at their second lowest rate this year, according to the BDO High Street Sales Tracker, which measures the weekly sales changes of more than 85 retailers with some 10,000 individual stores.
The government has launched its new High Streets task force initiative as part of a £675 million strategy to support retailers and revive Britain’s ailing town centres. High Streets minister Jake Berry announced that the task force - comprised of retail experts - will provide advice and guidance to retailers on how to make their businesses more “experience focussed” as they seek to attract consumers and reflect changing consumer expectations.
Sainsbury’s has balanced falling sales across the business with increased investment in technology. The supermarket chain’s latest trading update revealed that total retail sales were down 1.2 per cent, while grocery sales declined 0.5 per cent over the quarter.
Innovations in retail technology are having a sizeable impact on the customer shopping experience, according to a new study, with 66 per cent saying that tech had improved their in-store experience. A survey of 2,926 consumers for the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US found that retail technology is driving improvements in online shopping, according to 80 per cent of respondents, while the mobile shopping experience had been bolstered for 63 per cent.
Monsoon Accessorize has won the support of its creditors to launch a series of Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) aimed at putting the firm back on a solid financial footing. In a meeting yesterday, the retail group won a series of votes for its restructuring proposals, securing a “majority significantly above” the required 75 per cent of creditors.
British retailers are wasting on average £178,000 in failed e-commerce budget, according to Greenlight Commerce research. The company questioned 100 UK-based e-commerce decision-makers, finding that 26 per cent of the marketing team blamed IT for project failure, while 30 per cent of the IT team blamed marketing, and a further 15 per cent blamed executives.
Klarna is to expand its partnership with e-commerce platform BigCommerce from the US to core European markets. The move will means that BigCommerce merchants located in the UK, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries will be able to integrate Klarna’s Pay later options, letting customers to split the cost of items over a defined time frame rather than an up front cost.
Amazon has announced it is opening 2,000 new jobs in the UK over the course of 2019, including data, analytics and cloud computing roles. The e-commerce giant said the move to boost numbers in its UK head office, research and development and Amazon Web Services (AWS) and operations units, would bring its total number of permanent UK jobs to more than 29,500.
Shop Prices turned deflationary for the first time since October 2018, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. In June, shop prices fell by 0.1 per cent, compared to May when prices increased by 0.8 per cent. Non-food prices were also back in deflationary territory in June, recording a decrease of 1.2 per cent from the 0.2 per cent increase in May.
Retail brands are abandoning the High Street in favour of an online presence, according to a new analysis. Specialist lender Together Money analysed a sample of 6,682 businesses across 120 high streets from all 12 regions of England, as well as Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It found that retail now takes up just 30 per cent of the High Street in terms of presence, with retailer B&M ranked ‘most wanted’.
Online sales at Decathlon UK jumped by 19.6 per cent as the French sports retailer announced plans to extend its UK expansion to 50 stores by 2021. Turnover at the UK division of the French sports giant rose 14.4 per cent last year, according to a trading statement which also outline plans for six new stores across the UK.
A group of trade bodies representing workers in the retail sector have called for more to be done to tackle widespread violence and abuse against shop workers. A letter sent to home secretary Sajid Javid and signed by groups including the Association of Convenience Stores, British Retail Consortium, USDAW and the Charity Retailers Association calls on the government, justice system and retailers themselves to act against rising levels of abuse targeting retail workers.
Office, the footwear retailer, is reportedly weighing up launching a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in order to shore up its financial future.
According to Sky News, Alvarez & Marsal, an advisory firm, has been drafted in to set out a CVA plan that could put the future of around 100 of its UK stores in doubt.
Balancing seasonal stock levels is becoming a growing issue for fashion retailers, according to new research. An annual report compiled by order management tech firm OneStock analysed 40 prominent UK omnichannel fashion retailers’ websites in June 2019, finding that over half (55 per cent) had up to 20 per cent fewer products available to online shoppers than at the same time period in 2018.
Boots has confirmed plans to shut down around 200 stores in the next 18 months, putting thousands of jobs at risk. A statement from the health and beauty retailer explained that the closure scheme will primarily focus on local pharmacy branches in locations where it has other options nearby.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has responded to the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) opinion on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), agreeing that some firms will be given extra time to implement the rules. Last Friday, the EBA noted key industry questions about which authentication factors comply with the requirements for SCA – a key part of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
H&M is cutting the number of new store openings planned for 2019 by 45, as it shifts investment into digital channels. The Swedish fashion giant announced a 12 per cent sales rise in June, pushing overall sales for the second quarter up 11 per cent, exceeding analyst expectations.
French Connection will extend the period for the strategic review and formal sale process it announced in October. At the time, the fashion and homewares retailer said it had commenced discussions with several interested parties and that the review was expected to conclude during the first half of 2019.
RELEX Systems took home two awards at last night’s Retail Systems Awards. The annual celebration of technology excellence and innovation within the retail sector, now in its 14th year, saw winners announced across 20 categories.
Visa has introduced a suite of payment instalment solution Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Through a pilot program, participating issuers and merchants will be able to offer customers an instalment payment experience at checkout using a Visa card they already have in their wallet.
New research has suggested that a recent update to Google is giving smaller retailers a better chance of appearing in organic search results. A study by content optimisation platform Searchmetrics, found that Google’s so-called ‘diversity’ update - aimed at reducing the instances of the same brand appearing multiple times in the top organic search results - means that consumers are now around half as likely to see the same brand or website appearing three times in the first ten ranking positions.
Tesco is responding to its rivals by trialling cashier-free technology in-store. The system, developed in partnership with Trigo Vision, was showcased at a Tesco Express store during the capital markets day earlier this month, although no further details were given on roll-out plans.
Digital rewards platform WeGift has secured £4 million in Series A funding, led by Fred Destin at Stride.vc - who will join the board - and other investors including SAP.iO Fund and Unilever Ventures. This investment will help the British startup deliver on its vision of creating the world’s first real-time infrastructure for digital rewards and incentives. Funds will be used to further scale operations and support the expansion to the US.
Robert Dyas has partnered with Narvar to help improve its post-purchase customer experience by providing consistent and branded communications. Currently, online customers are directed to third-party websites for delivery updates and drop ship deliveries. The retailer works with multiple carriers and more than 100 drop ship suppliers to provide delivery updates and to communicate the whereabouts of customers’ orders.
River Island has partnered with Curalate to align social shopping experiences on and away from its website. The fashion retailer is rolling out a suite of technology, streamlining its social commerce capabilities to power discovery-driven purchasing.
Instagram boss Adam Mosseri has revealed his aspirations to turn the app into a fully ‘shoppable’ retail marketplace. In an interview with the Financial Times Mosseri, 36, said the Facebook-owned company was aiming to “unlock the value of customers, sellers and influencers” by adding a shopping button to the site’s retailers, in order to “connect the dots thoughtfully” between different players in the ecosystem.
Tmall Global has launched an English-language website to streamline the onboarding process for international brands that want to sell on the platform. The new portal will educate brands about selling into the world’s second-largest economy and allow them to apply to open a flagship store on the site.
Bonmarché has reported poor first quarter trading, forcing its leadership to change its mind on a takeover bid from Philip Day. The fashion retailer said it was uncertain whether it would meet profit targets for the full year, mainly due to a weak clothing market and unseasonable weather.
A quarter of UK shoppers would abandon a purchase and look elsewhere if a retailer had a lengthy and inconvenient buying experience. A survey of 4,000 online shoppers in the UK, France, Germany and Spain found that nearly half of UK consumers (43 per cent) said that ‘speed and ease of payment’ was the most important factor when paying for something online, compared to less than a fifth in Spain (17 per cent) and one third in France (32 per cent) and Germany (33 per cent).
Research consultancy Touchstone and sister agency Shoppercentric have signed a global partnership with cloud-based neuroscience provider MindTrace. MindTrace harnesses existing technology to accurately identify, for any marketing asset, what attracts consumers attention, how they feel about what they have seen and how deep their engagement is.
Amazon’s domination of e-commerce could be challenged by growing wariness amongst younger consumers, according to a new study. A report for Wunderman Thompson Commerce, based on a survey of more than 15,000 consumers in the US and Europe, found that while Amazon attracts more than a third (36 per cent) of all online and retail spending internationally, the Generation Z age group - those between 16 and 24 - are less likely than older generations to believe the site provides the best experience on access to brands, easy returns and customer service.
Ted Baker has partnered with OneStock to enhance its omnichannel operations. The luxury fashion retailer announced the technology tie up as it steps up efforts to deploy new Ship from Store and express Click and Collect initiatives.OneStock’s order management system will enable Ted Baker to unify inventory across its store estate, while instructions and order for Click and Collect will be sent to store teams through an app.
UK retail sales volumes fell at their fastest pace since the financial crisis in the year to June, according to the latest figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). A survey of 88 firms, including 45 retailers, conducted by the industry body, found that the slowdown - the fastest drop in sales recorded since March 2009 - was likely driven by the relatively cooler weather compared with this point last year.
Despite clear differences in expectations among shoppers of different generations, almost half of retailers (44 per cent) have made no progress in tailoring the in-store shopping experience. This is according to a study conducted by Oracle NetSuite, Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor, among 1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the US, UK and Australia.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published an opinion on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), acknowledging that implementing the new standards might be difficult for some merchants, with many being at risk of missing the deadline. The statement was a response to continued industry queries as to which authentication approaches the EBA considers to be compliant with SCA, and addresses concerns about the preparedness and compliance of some stakeholders in the payments chain ahead of the 14 September deadline.
Digital transformation and sustainability are the key challenges facing the retail industry, according to attendees of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Global Summit. Held in Vancouver, Canada, the event hosted more than 900 delegates, mostly c-level executives from retail, manufacturing and services.
New Look has reported an underlying operating profit of £33.2 million, compared to a loss of £35.7 million the year before. The fashion retailer also reported a year-on-year improvement in profitability across key areas.
UK retail sales to US shoppers grew by 27 per cent in May, as American consumer confidence hit a six-month high, contributing to a transatlantic spending spree. The boost in sales marked the ninth consecutive month of double-digit sales increases to American visitors, according to the latest sales figures come from Planet, which facilitates VAT refunds for international shoppers.
Brits are overwhelmingly supportive of their local stores, with 81 per cent buying in independent shops, drawn by unique products (39 per cent) and personal service (28 per cent). The findings are based on actual anonymised information from a sample of 13,000 retailers globally using point of sale provider Vend – the vast majority being independent retailers with between one and 10 stores.
Game Digital has agreed a £52 million sale to Sports Direct. The takeover could result in House of Fraser - a recent purchase by Mike Ashley’s retail portfolio - department stores creating purpose-built gaming arenas.
YouTube is introducing new tools to let retailers create adverts with three dimensional and augmented reality (AR) elements. In a blog, the video site’s owner Google explained that it recently brought AR to its search engine and updated developer platform ARCore to help ‘creators’ build more immersive experiences.
The majority (87 per cent) of retail chief information officers (CIOs) find integrating new communications with legacy systems a challenge. This is according to research from cloud communications software provider IMImobile, which found that almost all (98 per cent) the 200 UK retail CIOs and senior IT decision-makers surveyed felt under pressure to deliver the customer experience (CX) expected by both customers and the wider business.
The UK food and grocery industry is forecast to grow by £24 billion, or 12.5 per cent, by 2024, according to the latest forecasts from IGD. Online and discount sectors will contribute almost two-thirds of cash growth and will boost their combined market share from 18.6 per cent to 23.4 per cent over the next five years.
Monsoon Accessorize is set to launch plans for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), as it looks to renegotiate rents on more than 50 per cent of stores. The company confirmed yesterday that it had asked landlords to approve rent cuts on 135 of its 258 stores, as part of a rescue plan to safeguard the firm’s financial future.
New research has found that just six per cent of European retailers have developed a digital trading relationship with their supply chain. A study of 700 European retailers and manufacturers conducted by digital services provider TrueCommerce found that efforts to digitise supply chains are falling short of industry aspirations, with 85 per cent saying they would like to digitise trade with their entire supplier base.
Zadig & Voltaire has selected Aptos Planning to manage its buying sessions, allocation and replenishment for all its stores. The French luxury clothing brand, founded in 1997 by Thierry Gillier, currently operates over 350 stores across 30 countries, with merchandise also available through its website and select retailer partners worldwide.
Dixons Carphone has reported a 22 per cent drop in full-year profits and warned of “more pain” to come from its UK mobile sales. The mobile and electrical retailer made an underlying pre-tax profit of £298 million during the year to 27 April, which comes in below guidance of around £300 million and is also down from the £382 million in achieved in 2017-2018.
In the three months to May 2019, retail sales increased by 1.6 per cent when compared with the previous three months, with growth across all stores except department stores and household goods stores. The latest Office for National Statistics figures revealed a fall of 0.9 per cent in the quantity bought in department stores in the three months to May – marking the eighth consecutive month of no positive growth in this sector.
May continued the discouraging 2019 trend of below-average sales growth, with an increase of only 1.9 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. When compared to this time last year, which saw the strongest May growth for online retail since 2010, the state of online retail remains challenging.
Tesco revealed plans for automated delivery services and e-commerce growth today, as part of its Capital Markets Day. A wide-ranging presentation hinted at the launch of dedicated Tesco Finest stores, over 100 additional One Stop convenience shops, a shift towards more plant-based ready meals, and growth of its Booker wholesale operation.
Businesses are struggling to cope with the rise in orders and parcel returns driven by e-commerce sales, with 87 per cent planning to increase their warehouse numbers to accommodate the ‘on-demand’ economy, according to a report. A Qualtrics survey for retail technology firm Zebra - based on interviews with 1,403 IT and operational decision makers in the Europe, the US, Latin America and Asia Pacific - found that the percentage of firms planning to expand the size of their current warehouses has doubled in the last four years to 59 per cent.
Mistrust around the authenticity of User Generated Content (UGC) and reviews has seen online shoppers placing more value in human interactions, according to iAdvize. The conversational commerce provider surveyed 2,000 UK consumers, revealing that 60 per cent remained sceptical of the authenticity of UGC content and reviews left by other shoppers online, while 47 per cent of shoppers say they often mistrust digital sources of advice.
Linking online sales to in-store pick-ups and returns is one of the biggest challenges, and differentiating factors in omnichannel success for retailers. This is according to a variety of experts speaking at the eTail Europe conference in London yesterday, who shared their experiences of using technology and staff training to improve the customer journey.
Retail technology firm Perch has partnered with Vodafone Business to develop in-store Internet of Things (IoT) devices which detect products that customers are picking up and respond with dynamic digital content.With 68 per cent of consumers expecting their in-store shopping experience to be just as efficient as online, according to a report from Manhattan Associates, Perch said the tie up with Vodafone’s Business IoT Connectivity would enable them to develop tech which offers customers a seamless digital experience with personalised messages.
John Lewis is rolling out a new returns service which will enable customers to hand their unwanted purchases to Waitrose delivery drivers at the same time as they receive their groceries.The service, which launched yesterday, means that Waitrose online customers can hand back parcels they have received or picked up via Click & Collect for the driver to process immediately after their online grocery delivery has been made.
Since 2010 more than 20,000 shops have ‘disappeared’ from high streets and the communities that they once served, according to Altus Group. Analysis by the real estate adviser, of official government data showed that, between 2010 and 2019, 20,143 shops in England and Wales have been converted into homes, different types of use such as restaurants and cafes, or have been demolished.
A new report has revealed that the 'drift’ to online purchasing differs widely by product category. To understand how shopping habits may change in future, the Go Inspire Group commissioned independent research to understand how the UK population felt they would be purchasing different sorts of products in five years time. The study also compared total UK responses with the results from Generation Z (18-24 years) respondents, to determine whether the purchasing behaviour of this cohort - that has never known a world without digital devices and social media - radically differs from older generations.
Space NK has promoted its group digital director Andy Lightfoot to chief executive. He joined the beauty retailer in October 2016, leading the development of online operations, and will now report to Chris Garek, who vacated the chief executive position to assume the role of executive chairman.
Harvey Nichols has seen a surge in cross-border online sales after a partnership with Global-e to update its website. The luxury department store can now offer online shoppers worldwide a seamless shopping experience, including a localised checkout available in 21 languages, guaranteed duties and tax calculations and a pre-payment option, a range of local and alternative payment methods and a variety of shipping options, as well as a convenient returns process.
Three quarters of customers expect companies to use new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), voice technology and internet-connected devices to create better shopping experience, according to Salesforce. The Connected Customer report, based on data gathered from 8,000 consumers and business buyers across 16 countries - including 500 from the UK and Ireland - found that innovations in retail technology are consistently raising the bar for consumer expectations, with 73 per cent saying one ‘extraordinary’ experience shifts their expectations of other companies’ offerings.
Online retailers are losing out on additional revenue by not utilising simple methods to capture sales from potential customers, new research has revealed. A survey of 1,213 UK adults carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals showed that more than half (58 per cent) of e-commerce businesses are putting off potential customers by making simple errors.
E-commerce giant ASOS is trialling an experimental augmented reality (AR) feature to enable customers to virtually view a range of products within its app.The Virtual Catwalk feature will showcase 100 new ASOS Design products by enabling customers to point their smartphone camera at a flat surface before clicking the ‘AR’ button on the product page in the app and view models demonstrating it as if they are walking in front of them.
Morrisons and Amazon will expand their same-day online grocery delivery service to more than double the number of cities, with its own page on Amazon Prime. The service currently offers Prime members in parts of London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester delivery within just one hour of purchase, from Morrisons’ full range of items.
Philip Green’s Arcadia Group came back from the brink of administration yesterday after creditors approved a total of seven Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) aimed at securing the financial future of the retail empire. At a crunch meeting in London yesterday, creditors voted through a series of the insolvency measures, which will see Green embark on a major restructuring of his network of High Street fashion brands, which include Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins.
Mountain Hardwear has launched an initiative offering retailers the opportunity to show its equipment and apparel in augmented reality (AR). The consumer AR app has already been launched in the US and plans are now underway to offer it to European consumers, in order to promote the summer and winter product lines.
International shopper activity across Europe’s retail destinations fell slightly in the first quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter, as a short burst of gains for the British pound weakened the purchasing power of more than half of Europe’s top 25 non-EU visitor nations. The median score of the latest Planet Shopper Index - which combines retail sales and economic indicators to illustrate the strength of international shopper activity in Europe - fell from 97 in the final quarter of 2018 to 95 in the first quarter of this year.
Boohoo has reported revenue for the year to 31 May of £254.3 million, up 39 per cent year-on-year. Specifically, UK revenue grew by 27 per cent, while internationally it was up by 56 per cent. The group’s eponymous brand reported revenue of £123.5 million, up 27 per cent year-on-year, PrettyLittleThing’s first quarter revenue was up 42 per cent to £112.1 million year-on-year. Meanwhile, Nasty Gal’s revenue rose by 153 per cent to £18.2 million.
Klarna has announced the expansion of its UK operations with a new office in Manchester. The new office will be located at the Old Granada Studios in Manchester’s tech hub, with Adyen, Worldpay, Dotdigital and Space 48 nearby. It will create a base for existing Klarna employees currently working in the North West and enable planned hiring over the next few months.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has launched a last minute challenge to Debenhams’ restructuring plan. Sports Direct saw its 30 per cent share in Debenhams wiped out when the company won the required backing of 75 per cent creditors to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in April.
The future of Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire is set to be decided at a crunch vote today, after it emerged that landlord Intu was planning to reject proposals for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). It was reported by Sky News yesterday that Intu, Arcadia’s second biggest landlord, could vote to scupper the CVA rescue deal put forward by Green, potentially tipping the High Street giant - which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Burton - into administration.
Waitrose & Partners is to extend its Rapid Delivery trial outside London for the first time, following its success in the capital. The service, which enables customers to have up to 25 grocery items from a choice of more than 2,000 products, delivered to their home or office, within two hours or less or on the same day, will be available in both Bath and Hove from 8 and 15 July, respectively.
Complex legacy infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of innovative point of sale (PoS) technologies which could be worth over £157 million to UK businesses in the next year, according to a new report. A survey of 700 IT decision-makers in banking and financial services in the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordics by lending platform Divido, found that 54 per cent of UK lenders are battling against legacy infrastructure when it comes to delivering new payments technology.
After an increase in turnover by 11.87 per cent to €547 billion in 2018, the European e-commerce sector is forecasted to grow 14 per cent to €621 billion in 2019. This is according to Ecommerce Europe and EuroCommerce’s latest market analysis, which explained that Western Europe is the largest e-commerce market in Europe, accounting for approximately two thirds (€363 billion) of total European online retail turnover.
Quiz has reported full-year pre-tax profits down 97 per cent from £8.5 million to £200,000 as a result of “volatile trading conditions”. The Glasgow-based fashion retailer, which operates more than 275 stores in the UK, did record rising revenues for the year to March 31 2019, up 12 per cent to £130 million, but earnings before tax were down 65 per cent to £4.2 million.
Six European mobile wallets have collaborated with Alipay to promote QR code-based digital payment interoperability for travellers both in Europe and from China. Bluecode, ePassi, momo pocket, Pagaqui, Pivo, Vipps and Alipay are working towards adopting a unified QR code, which will enable users to make payments with their home apps to local merchants in 10 European countries where those apps are accepted.
Boohoo co-founder and chairman Mahmud Kamani is facing a £118 million legal claim from an IT contractor claiming to be the firm's third founder. Richard Womack, who provided IT services to the fast-fashion retailer in 2006, is demanding the lump sum, along with a 10 per cent stake in the company, as part of claims that Kamani breached an agreement.
The concept of temporary - or pop-up - stores is becoming an increasingly important strategy in how brands sell their products and services, and build long-term relationships with their customers. This is according to a recent survey of 600 retail organisations around the globe, conducted by The Department of Retailing at the University of South Carolina, and Storefront, a marketplace for short term commercial rental space.
Footfall declined by 3.5 per cent in May, compared to a 0.4 per cent fall at the same point last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. High Street footfall declined by 4.8 per cent, following from the increase of 0.5 per cent in May last year. Retail park footfall decreased by 0.8 per cent, compared to a 0.6 per cent increase last May, while shopping centre footfall declined by 3.6 per cent, compared to a 2.9 per cent fall during the same month in 2018.
John Lewis will trial a new in-store virtual reality experience to help customers purchasing furniture and homewares. The Visualise Your Space service will be piloted in the Kingston, Cambridge and Horsham department stores from late June to early July.
Fashion marketplace app Depop has raised $62 million in its latest funding round, which included backing from Uber and Airbnb investor General Atlantic. The London-based clothing app, which has surged in popularity with Generation Z shoppers since its launch in 2011, said it would use the funds to accelerate US expansion - where it has grown its user based to five million users - with plans to triple this number and open stores in New York and Los Angeles in the next three years.
Retail technology startup Zyper has bagged £5.14 million in its latest funding round. The Series A was led by Talis Capital and brings its total funding since launch to £6.72 million.
Amazon will begin making drone deliveries “in the coming months” as it unveiled its latest Prime Air technology at the Re:MARS conference in Las Vegas. The new six-rotor hybrid aircraft is capable of vertical take-off and landing, as well as sustained forward flight, and uses a combination of data from visual, thermal and ultrasonic sensors to autonomously navigate.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has made a £51.9 million bid for Game, after increasing its stake in the gaming retailer to 38.5 per cent. Sports Direct was already Game’s largest shareholder – and has been since July 2017 – with a holding of almost 20 per cent. The group state is has placed a final offer of 30p a share for shareholders.
Facebook does not view itself as a payments company and is looking to partner with banks and other players in the market as it considers the role of payments and Open Banking solutions across its family of apps, according to the social media firm’s head of payments. Speaking at the Money2020 conference in Amsterdam, Paulette Rowe, Facebook’s head of payments and financial services partnerships, and previously head of Barclaycard, said growing use of Facebook as a platform for commerce, particularly in Asia, was accelerating discussions over Facebook’s own role as payments facilitator.
The Row has launched its first ever online store, developed in partnership with the Yoox Net-A-Porter (YNAP) Group. Allowing customers to browse and purchase the fashion house’s complete womenswear and menswear collections directly for the first time, therow.com will offer e-commerce capabilities in 69 countries, including the UK, France and the US – with six different languages offered.
Digital technologies are revolutionising the way the food and consumer goods industry operates and online sales are forecast to grow 163 per cent by 2023 across major markets, according to a new report from research organisation IGD and The Consumer Goods Forum. Major grocery e-commerce markets will continue to expand rapidly, growing at almost four times the rate of any other channel.
Mastercard’s mobile payments service ‘Pay by Bank app’ has entered into a strategic partnership with marketing and loyalty commerce platform Yoyo. Under the partnership, Yoyo and the Pay by Bank app (PbBa) will deliver a combined payments and customer loyalty offering to retail and bank customers.
The Entertainer has improved online sales by 32 per cent since the introduction of its new website, developed by LiveArea. Website speed has increased by 18 per cent, while conversion rates have increased by 13 per cent since the new site launched.
Europe stands to lose €57 billion in economic activity in the first 12 months after Secure Customer Authentication (SCA) takes effect on 14 September. This is according to surveys conducted for payments infrastructure company Stripe by 451 Research with 500 qualified payment professionals at online businesses and 1,000 consumers in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
Product Guru, an online platform described as ‘Tinder for retail buyers and product suppliers’, has secured a £300,000 investment. The Scottish company received financial backing from Asia-based retail technology investor Belmond Capital, Scottish retailer Scotmid and government quango Scottish Enterprise.
Retailers and payments providers have warned that a lack of preparedness for the Strong Customer Authentication rules, due to come into force across the EU in September, could risk billions of pounds worth of online purchases. The regulations require an extra level of verification for most online payments above €30, and form part of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The measures are designed to reduce fraud, but require substantial changes to processes and technology at retailers, banks and payment processors, as well as the co-operation of millions of consumers, who remain largely unaware of the imminent changes.
Total UK retail sales decreased by 2.7 per cent in May, excluding Easter distortions, the worst decline since the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG began taking records in January 1995. However, this was against an increase of 4.1 per cent in May 2018, itself a four year record.
Online marketplace eBay has partnered with Asto, the Santander-backed FinTech, to offer cash flow loans to small businesses. The partnership looks to help eBay’s customers ease cash flow pressures and grow their businesses.
Matalan has reported sales rises of 3.2 per cent and a total revenue rise of 3.8 per cent to £1.1 billion. However, the omnichannel fashion and homeware retailer’s results for the year ended 23 February also showed earnings before tax down from £104.5 million in 2018, to £102.4 million for the last 12 months.
PayPal has launched a flexible, customisable platform that helps businesses of all sizes to grow in the complex world of global digital commerce. The PayPal Commerce Platform will initially be available in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the United States, bringing together a set of technologies, tools, services and financing to meet the specific needs of marketplaces and e-commerce solution providers of all sizes.
Amazon and Enterprise Nation have announced the launch of Clicks and Mortar – a new programme to help small businesses grow, both in-store and online. The programme will enable more than 100 small online businesses to sell on the High Street for the first time in 10 Clicks and Mortar shops across the UK. The year-long pilot programme will explore a new model to help up-and-coming online brands grow their physical presence. Independent research on the success of the pilot will be submitted to the government, following the call for new ideas to develop the Future High Streets strategy.
Westfield London has announced The Trending Store, the first ever bricks and mortar fashion boutique selling only what is trending online in real-time, via the power of artificial intelligence (AI). In partnership with digital trend analysis tool Nextatlas, the store will run from 3 to 7 July in association with charity partner Save the Children.
Despite three years passing since the European Union membership referendum, over half (57 per cent) of British retailers still have no plans in place for Brexit. This is according to a survey of 200 British retail decision-makers carried out by Censuswide and commissioned by cross-border e-commerce solutions provider Global-e.
Philip Green will invest £135 million into Arcadia Group in an attempt to rescue his retail empire. In an email sent to Arcadia’s 18,000 staff, chief executive Ian Grabiner explained £75 million will be spent on renovating its stores and £60 million will be used to upgrade its online operations.
QUIZ has partnered with Klarna to offer its customers the Pay later in 30 days option at checkout. Founded in 1993, QUIZ quickly scaled from three stores in Scotland to an omnichannel business with over 300 stores globally.
Delivery experience company Sorted has secured £15 million in a recent funding round led by Praetura Ventures and NVM Private Equity. This follows earlier rounds of investment from Praetura and NVM, bringing Sorted’s funding to a total of £22 million over the last four years.
Waitrose will introduce ‘invisible doors’ across its store estate later this year as part of ongoing sustainability efforts. The AirDoor technology, developed by Wirth Research, uses sensors to detect the flow of air in both directions. To prevent warm air being lost on colder days, and cold air being lost on warmer days, the system generates wind to counteract the flow of air.
Decathlon is deploying MishiPay’s mobile self-checkout solution across all its stores in the Netherlands, starting with those in Rotterdam Alexandrium and Eindhoven. Customers of the world’s largest sporting goods retailer will be able to scan and pay for items using their smartphone, automatically disabling the RFID security tag to exit the store without any need to queue or wait at the checkout.
Microsoft will open a new flagship store in the centre of London will open on 11 July. The 22,000 square foot space will cover three floors in the former United Colors of Benetton unit at 255-259 Regent Street.
High Street retailers could stand to gain up to £9 billion in sales by exploring new technologies that enable customers to check whether a product is in-store locally, according to a new study. A report by retail technology firm NearSt and trends forecasters The Future Laboratory suggested that three quarters of shoppers would rather buy from local retailers than online if they know the items they want are available in-store.
IKEA is launching a virtual reality (VR) feature that will enable customers to visualise how products would look in their own homes before purchasing them in-app. The Swedish furniture and home furnishings giant’s chief digital officer Barbara Martin Coppola told Reuters that the app’s VR experience would be part of moves to combine in-store and online shopping experiences.
Shop price inflation accelerated to 0.8 per cent in May from 0.4 per cent in April, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen. Non-food prices increased by 0.2 per cent in May, compared to a 0/6 per cent drop in April. This is the second month of non-food inflation this year, in contrast to the past six years of deflation.
Retailers must collaborate with tech startups if they are to undertake the innovation required to survive the current sector challenges, according to experts. Speaking at last week’s Future Stores conference in London, Christian Stephan, head of innovation research, digital strategy and transformation at German electronics retailer MediaMarktSaturn, told the audience that “you should learn to love working with startups”.
Boots is reportedly mulling plans to close more than 200 stores as tough trading conditions continue to take their toll on the UK High Street. According to Sky News, US conglomerate Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is considering the closure of stores as part of a review of the company’s store estate over the next two years.
How many times have you walked into a store where you fall in love with a product but unfortunately, walk out empty-handed because the store didn’t have your size?
Recently, the business case for deploying Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) proves that it can support retailers tackle these inventory inaccuracies. The question is no longer should you deploy RFID but what more can you do with RFID?
Monsoon founder Peter Simon has promised to invest £34 million in return for landlords agreeing to cut rent costs as part of a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA). Last month, the owners of Monsoon and Accessorize were reportedly mulling dozens of store closures as part of a possible restructuring, but according to The Guardian, the latest proposals do not include immediate store closures.
One year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), UK consumers are more confident in the way their data is being used, but 60 per cent have seen no change in their online experience. This is according to research from BounceX among 1,000 UK shoppers, which found that before GDPR came into effect, half were unlikely to read email communications from brands and retailers, and 46 per cent were unlikely to engage with email marketing content.
Inditex will move its chief operating officer Carlos Crespo to chief executive in July to help drive the retail group’s digitalisation plans. Executive chairman Pablo Isla initiated the appointment, which will now need to be approved by the board and the company’s AGM.
In the three months to April, retail sales increased by 1.8 per cent compared with the previous three months, with strong growth in non-store retailing, which reached a record high of 9.4 per cent. Online retailers selling clothing items were the driver to this growth, with the warm weather helping to boost sales, according to the latest Office for National Statistics figures.
John Lewis is partnering with the Co-op to trial a new Click & Collect service in six Co-op food stores. The department store chain is set to roll out Click & Collect services to Co-op stores in Manchester, Nottingham and London from next week as the retailer seeks to trial alternative delivery methods to customers in areas with lower John Lewis shop presence.
Using a mobile phone on a trip to the supermarket pushes up shopping bills by 41 per cent, according to researchers at the University of Bath’s School of Management. When shoppers use their mobiles to keep up with texts, social media or calls they move around the store at a slower pace, wander along more aisles, and come across extra products.
Arcadia Group has identified 23 stores in the UK and Ireland for closure as part of a restructuring plan. The move will put 520 jobs at risk at its brands Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Topshop and Topman. Arcadia has instigated seven Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) as it looks to turn the business around following a sustained period of tough trading.
Champion has partnered with BounceX to improve its online offering, increasing conversions by better understanding customer behaviour on site. Established in 1919, the sportswear brand has 34 store locations worldwide and in 2017 Champion opened its first UK flagship store on Soho’s Brewer Street. However, the company stated that in order to compete in the e-commerce space it needed to differentiate by delivering outstanding customer experience.
Holland & Barrett has partnered with RiverPay to add mobile payments tool Alipay to its more than 1,600 retail stores around the globe, including 800 in the UK and Ireland. As part of the agreement, RiverPay has also integrated Alipay into Holland & Barrett’s official online shop.
Nearly three quarters of retail professionals believe that artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will be the biggest IT challenges over the next five years. A study of 200 retail professionals carried out by cloud solutions firm Cradlepoint for this year’s RetailEXPO event, found that 72 per cent saw new technologies including AI and connected devices as the main disruptors of the next half decade.
Orlebar Brown has overhauled its personalisation marketing strategy through a digital transformation with Emarsys, resulting in a 20 per cent increase in online revenue from less than three per cent of campaigns. The British swimwear retailer is now able to send targeted offers and messages in the right communication channel, with retention campaigns seeing open rates rise by 40 per cent on average.
Marks and Spencer has announced a 9.9 per cent fall in pre-tax profits for the year to April as the High Street stalwart shifts its focus online. Annual figures showed underlying pre-tax profits down to £523.2 million, amid store closure plans and confirmation of a £600 million share sale deal with Ocado to launch its online food delivery business.
Lulu Guinness is launching onsite social commerce to create a more engaging customer experience. The British handbag and accessories retailer is working with Curalate to bring user generated content in a shoppable format onto its website.
The luxury conglomerate in charge of Moet Hennessy – Louis Vuitton (LVMH) has announced a collaboration with Microsoft and ConsenSys to develop blockchain technology to track and trace high value items.The three companies will collaborate to produce AURA - an Ethereum-based technology that utilizes Microsoft Azure - across its brands, including Louis Vuitton and Parfums Christian Dior.
Too much choice and not enough product information online is causing consumers to abandon purchases at checkout, according to new research. A survey of 2,000 UK consumers who shop online, conducted by OnePoll in April on behalf of iAdvize, showed that 83 per cent of shoppers that abandoned a purchase did so because they felt there was too much choice online and felt overwhelmed by the amount of options available.
Visa has announced 11 new European partners which will implement its Visa Token Service (VTS), to create a more secure shopping environment for customers who store payment details on file with their favourite merchants. New partners adopting the program include Adyen, Cardstream, Computop, Datatrans, HiPay, Ingenico/Bambora, Monext, Safecharge, Secure Trading, Wirecard and Worldline. Merchants which integrate with VTS through these companies now do not need to wait for individual certification approval and can launch their token-on-file initiative quickly and easily.
After a disappointing first quarter, Easter failed to deliver a boost to online retail sales, with April recording sales growth of just 5.2 per cent year-on-year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. This compares poorly to a very strong performance in April of last year (up 12.5 per cent) but continues an ongoing trend of subdued growth seen since the start of 2019. During the first quarter of this year, the index recorded average sales growth of 7.5 per cent, which is the lowest quarterly growth since the first quarter of 2015 (up six per cent). Comparatively, the same quarter last year delivered growth of 14.5 per cent.
Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) Group has upgraded its iOS app as part of a wider mobile innovation programme. Users are promised a smoother, faster commerce experience, featuring even richer content on product pages and a new shoppable editorial platform including travel tips and ‘what to wear’ recommendations. The online luxury and fashion retailer’s app also now incorporates an in-house developed design system - Hive - to create a highly visual and seamless journey.
Puma has struck a deal to automate its digital marketing campaigns using artificial intelligence (AI) technology from Selligent Marketing Cloud. The sportswear brand said the appointment would enable it to deliver personalised and live content to European consumers, providing an omnichannel experience specific to the language and country a customer is based in, as well as surfacing stock levels and relevant offers for nearby stores – all in real-time.
Marks and Spencer is set to accelerate plans to close 100 stores by the end of 2020, amid expectations the retailer will post a fall in pre-tax profits when it releases full-year results on Wednesday. The High Street retailer has already shut almost 50 of the 100 stores earmarked for closure as part of its restructuring plan, which initially envisaged the closure of 100 stores by 2022, as the business focusses on its digital transformation to meet a shift in demand from customers for online shopping.
WeChat Pay has announced that Europe will be the next key market for its cross-border business. The company reiterated its One For Billion business initiative, which provides merchants with one platform which enables communications and customised customer services for more than a billion Chinese consumers. As of April 2019, the number of merchants in the European region offering WeChat Pay as a payment method was three and a half times higher than the previous year.
Waitrose has announced that Today Development Partners (TDP) will replace the retailer’s partnership with Ocado as part of a £1 billion plan to treble the size of its online grocery operations over the next three years. Waitrose said the collaboration with TDP will lead to a significant increase in capacity, automation and digital operations at Waitrose.com, through the development of three automated Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) and new technical capabilities for online customer experience.
Huawei, China Mobile and the China Real Estate Association have jointly launched the world's first 5G shopping mall. The Shanghai Lujiazui L+ Mall uses the 5G digital indoor system (DIS), which enables next generation network connectivity in certain parts of the 12 floors and over 140,000 square metres of floor area.
Amazon has made a significant investment in Deliveroo, as part of a £450 million fundraising round for the food delivery app.The e-commerce giant’s investment, for an undisclosed sum, brings the total funding for the food ordering and delivery network to $1.5 billion since it launched in 2013.
New research suggests that hope is not yet lost for the High Street, will 27 per cent of shoppers saying they consider the in-store experience is still ahead of online shopping.A YouGov survey of 5,000 consumers from the UK, France and Germany for Ruckus Networks found that views on the struggles of traditional retailers were mixed, with nearly a quarter (24 per cent) saying that in-store was behind, while 21 per cent said they ‘don’t know’.
Boots is set to launch a digital version of its Advantage Card loyalty scheme, enabling personalised offers via mobile. The health and beauty retailer’s loyalty scheme will become part of its app, allowing customers to collect and redeem points directly to their phone.
As UK consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones for convenience, mobile will continue to be the fastest growing area within the UK retail market, with spend increasing by £17.1 billion over the next five years to reach £33.2 billion by 2024. GlobalData’s latest market analysis predicted that mobiles will account for over 40 per cent of online expenditure by 2024, while tablet spend will decline to 14.4 per cent by that date.
Flawed customer experiences are costing British retailers up to £102 billion in lost sales each year. This is according to new research commissioned by Adyen among 811 UK consumers and 95 senior retail decision-makers during the first quarter this year.
Prada Group and Adobe have announced the next step in their collaboration, with the deployment of customer experience management on a global scale. The fashion house will adopt new Adobe Experience Cloud solutions to support its marketing and multi-channel communications to help integrate offline and online channels and deliver a more personalised experience.
In the face of rising numbers of ‘serial returners’, a fifth of retailers say they have taken measures to make their returns policy more stringent in the last year, with a further 19 per cent planning to do so in the next 12 months. This is according to Barclaycard, which commissioned Opinium to survey 2,004 UK adults in April, along with 250 senior decision-makers in retailers with an online presence.
One in three European shoppers are ready to abandon brands entirely when customer experience falls short, according to new research from Adobe.Its latest Experience Index report surveyed over 3,000 consumers from across Europe, finding that brands are routinely falling short of customer expectations, with UK consumers rating brands at just 54 per cent of their potential.
Marks and Spencer has invested in 3D digital fit company Texel, which has developed technology that captures customers’ measurements to improve fit and reduce the risk of returns for online orders.The investment in Texel has been made as part of the M&S’ joint venture with Founders Factory, which enables startups to grow at pace using the company’s experts in design, computer engineering, data science and strategy.
Despite a “tough trading environment”, Moss Bros has recorded a 1.5 per cent increase in total sales, mostly attributed to its e-commerce platform. For the 15 weeks to 11 May, total like-for-like sales were down 0.2 per cent on the same period last year, but online sales tipped the balance back in the men’s clothing retailer’s favour, coming in at 18.7 per cent.
Retailers in the UK expect 30 per cent of all their e-commerce work to give them back no value, according to a new study. Greenlight Commerce questioned 100 UK-based e-commerce decision makers within the retail sector, finding 99 per cent are facing some sort of challenge, with the main problems being customer retention (41 per cent), customer experience (39 per cent) and measuring metrics (33 per cent).
Transport for London (TfL) has launched a new innovation competition, challenging businesses to come up with technological concepts that will reimagine the use of physical space in retail and deliver unique customer experiences for those using the transport network every day. Winners will get the chance to pilot their concepts in reality, as TfL will provide them with retail space on its estate for a year - with a value of up to £100,000 - as the prize.
Amazon has partnered with Next to launch a new parcel collection service. Shoppers who use the new system, called Amazon Counter, will be able to choose a pick-up point in one of hundreds of UK Next stores when they reach the check-out on the Amazon site.
While Generation Z and Millennials are often described as the first generation of digital natives, Generation X are consistently the most open to technological innovation when compared to younger shoppers, research by Vodat International has revealed. A survey of over 1,000 UK shoppers by the cross-channel communications firm showed that Generation X are the most willing to use a wide array of in-store technology, ranging from contactless payments and touchscreens, through to augmented and virtual reality.
Radley, the handbag and accessories retailer, has launched a digital in-store shopping as part of a push to expand its omnichannel strategy. The company says its new ‘Order in-store app’, powered by OneStock technology, will enable customers to access its entire range regardless of where in the firm’s store or warehouse network a product is located.
The national town centre vacancy rate was 10.2 per cent in April, a further increase on the previous quarter rate of 9.9 per cent, and the highest since April 2015. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures also revealed that footfall declined by 0.5 per cent in April, compared to the same point last year when it declined by 3.3 per cent.
Morrisons has announced changes to its partnership with Ocado as it looks to expand its delivery options with the likes of Amazon and Uber Eats. The fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK said the terms of its digital partnership deal, which included an exclusive delivery tie up with Ocado, have been relaxed to allow it to work with other companies and expand its online operations.
A survey has found that nearly half of shoppers has ranked a lack of free returns as the most annoying issue related to refunds or exchanges, with 57 per cent of women and half of men branding the returns process “rubbish”. A survey of 2,005 UK consumers for payments firm Valitor found that retailers have a long way to go in ensuring a positive post-purchase experience, with more than a third (34 per cent) saying they felt that retailers don’t care about them after they’ve made a payment.
eBay will today open its first UK concept store, located in Wolverhampton and offering 40 small businesses from the area the chance to showcase and sell their products for a month. The move is part of the Retail Revival pilot scheme, a year-long programme in which the marketplace is working with 64 local businesses to help them maximise digital sales and demonstrate how online and physical retail can thrive in combination.
The new owners of Debenhams have received approval from creditors to trigger a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in order to restructure the retailer and return it to a stable financial footing. This morning the conglomerate of lenders that took control of Debenhams after it collapsed into administration last month confirmed they had failed to sell the department store chain.
Retail brands will soon be able to add 3D interactive augmented reality (AR) models to Google searches of their products so customers can superimpose items in the “real world” to try them out.The online search giant confirmed plans to integrate AR into standard Google search results during a launch event for its Pixel 3 smartphone at its annual developer’s conference.
The number of shoppers using voice-assisted technology to research and place orders has jumped 83 per cent in the last year, according to new data. A survey of 4,500 online shoppers by cloud commerce firm Episerver found that consumers are increasingly turning to connected devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Ocado has led a £7 million investment round in UK-based robotics start up Karakuri, which specialises in the automated assembly of ready-to-eat meals. The online grocery delivery giant made an equity investment of £4.75 million for 18 per cent of the company and will take a seat on the board.
E-commerce technology provider, Attraqt has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire omnichannel personalisation platform Early Birds. The unified solution will deliver omnichannel search, merchandising, product and content personalisation for retailers.
Jack Wills has increased sales performance with a conversion incentive programme designed by ShopperTrak, part of Sensormatic Solutions. Founded in 1999 and now operating 97 stores across the UK, the fashion brand has been measuring store footfall data since 2012, but in 2018 it committed to migrating onto the latest version of ShopperTrak’s reporting and analytics platform.
Reform to the business rates system cannot come soon enough for British retailers, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Addressing business leaders in central London today, the association’s president John Allan identified two reasons reform was long overdue: gaps between revaluations meaning certain areas of the country are struggling, and the system makes businesses less likely to invest in growth.
H&M has announced it is ditching its catalogue service in order to focus on services which are more relevant to today’s shoppers, such as online.In a statement, the Stockholm-based clothing giant said that its final catalogues were published during the week starting 29 April and would be discontinued thereafter to reflect the shift of consumers to digital services and e-commerce platforms.
Shop Direct is looking to roll-out artificial intelligence-based price and promotion optimisation solutions across the UK, after a successful deployment in Ireland. The initial implementation resulted in measurable positive impacts on multiple fronts, including customer engagement, unit lift and revenues, according to a statement from the e-commerce group.
During the first quarter UK retailers grew 0.4 per cent year-on-year, well below the global and European averages, according to Salesforce's latest shopping index. Economic uncertainty due to Brexit was blamed for lower consumer confidence and fewer purchases by the report which analyses the activity of more than 500 million shoppers worldwide.
Retail sales increased by 4.1 per cent in April, against a decrease of 3.1 per cent during the same month last year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. However, last month’s statistics were positively distorted by the timing of the run-up to Easter, which was in April this year compared to March in the previous year. One way of correcting for this distortion is to look at the two-year average, since the Easter effect was reversed last year, depressing sales in April 2018.
Hugo Boss has partnered with multi-channel technology provider One iota to help improve customer experience. Last year, the luxury fashion retailer introduced two new store concepts, integrating digital technology and ‘community spaces’ – which play into the trend for increasing dwell times in store and adding experiential, multi-channel elements to bricks and mortar spaces.
Retail management software company Vend has partnered with e-commerce platform BigCommerce to help smaller independent retailers compete with big businesses. This is possible through new social media and online sales channels, along with managing store operations with synchronisation of sales, products, customers and inventory in real time.
Pets at Home has launched a new Store of the Future concept in its Stockport and Chesterfield outposts. The £1 million makeover includes revamped veterinary practices, ‘groom rooms’ and ‘pet village’ for pet care, along with its first cat adoption lounge in partnership with the RSPCA.
Intu has warned of a bigger drop in rental income this year, as struggling retailers close shops at a faster rate than expected. In a market update ahead of its AGM, the shopping centre landlord said Brexit uncertainties were also having an impact on letting demand and it would suffer from a further rise in Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs).
IKEA has appointed Peter Jelkeby as its new UK and Ireland retail manager, replacing Javier Quiñones, who is moving to the same position in the US. After joining the company at his local store in Sweden, over the next 20 years Jelkeby took on roles such as store manager at IKEA Lakeside, sales and communications manager, and deputy retail manager for IKEA UK and Ireland – as well as postings to Russia and Vietnam.
A panel of retail experts took aim at the national and local government as they debated strategies to tackle the challenges faced by the UK’s High Streets. Helen Dickinson, chief executive of British Retail Consortium, was asked about how Brexit has distracted politicians from fixing the tax system that impacts retailers. She responded: “Brexit is sucking the life out of the machine of government – in the time I’ve been lobbying ministers, the quality of engagement and interaction has steadily decreased.”
UK retailers should are partly to blame for their current travails and should stop shooting themselves in the foot, according to former Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, who also suggested that reports of the implosion of the High Street are overhyped. Speaking at the RetailExpo in London, Justin King, who led the supermarket chain from 2004-2014, warned that bricks and mortar retailers were inadvertently driving customers online channels by participating in discounting events such as Black Friday.
SafeCharge has partnered with several luxury retailers located in London’s Beauchamp Place shopping area, helping them cater for an increasing number of Chinese shoppers.Through a dedicated mobile app, the merchants will be able to accept WeChat Pay and Alipay at the point of sale for QR code-based transactions, in an effort to provide a better customer experience at check-out.
Missguided has deployed Upland’s Rant & Rave Platform to improve its customer service experience. This will be done by giving employees throughout the business better access to real-time customer feedback, as well as using Upland’s new Customer Experience Management (CXM) suite to ‘close the loop’ with customers who leave negative feedback.
Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram are set to introduce new shopping features, as the social media giants look to challenge Amazon’s retail dominance. At Facebook’s F8 developer conference yesterday, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said changes to all three platforms will allow customers to browse, buy and organise delivery for items without ever leaving the apps.
Argos has opened its first self-service digital store, as the retailer reaches over £2 billion sales generated through customers shopping on mobile devices, while across Sainsbury’s Group £4.7 billion sales are now generated online. Argos’s first self-service store in Sainsbury’s Dulwich sees customers pay at the same tablet they use to browse the catalogue’s 20,000 products - removing the need to visit a separate checkout area to pay - before picking up their order at new collection pods.
Shop price inflation decelerated in April to 0.4 per cent, from 0.9 per cent in March, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen figures. Non-food prices were back in inflationary territory in April, when prices decreased by 0.6 per cent, compared to March, when they were flat.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given provisional approval to Paypal’s $2.2 billion takeover of Swedish mobile payments company iZettle. In November an investigation by the UK competition watchdog had raised concerns that the proposed merger could drive up prices for customers and lead to a more limited range of services.
Consumers both value and respond to personalisation - when it’s done right - but they will not tolerate being bombarded with poorly timed, intrusive or irrelevant messages. This is according to research from Periscope By McKinsey, conducted across 2,590 adults in March, finding that shoppers in the US (55 per cent), UK (52 per cent), Germany (46 per cent) and France (44 per cent) said they often or sometimes sign-up to personalisation.
Bosses at Arcadia are set to attend a crunch meeting today to examine plans for a restructuring of Philip Green’s retail empire. Directors at Arcadia - which owns High Street brands including Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton - will discuss the possibility of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or alternative plans, including an auction of the company, Sky News reported.
AO World has deployed BluJay’s DropShip solution to support delivery of its white goods and electrical product range. A statement from the supply chain software firm explained that it will help to streamline AO’s transactional processes, maintaining on-time deliveries.
Starting today, shoppers at Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus store in London will be able to go fully till free, as the supermarket rolls-out its SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go technology in a bespoke food-to-go store. Customer feedback from the experiment will help develop the app further, before being rolled out more widely.
The demand for flexible payment options is driving rapid growth of Klarna’s Pay Later service amongst UK retailers, with the payments firm now reporting 4.4 million users of its service. According to Klarna’s annual financial statement, the option of flexible consumer finance is seeing uptake from 25,000 new UK shoppers on a week by week basis, with the Pay in 3 instalments concept seeing a 55 per cent increase in average order value (AOV) and a 44 per cent increase in conversion.
The proportion of retailers offering same-day delivery is expected to increase from 19 to 29 per cent over the next five years, while those offering next day delivery or faster will face increased competition, with the proportion expected to jump from 62 to 83 per cent. This is according to interviews with senior business decision-makers at 100 leading UK retailers conducted by GlobalData on behalf of law firm TLT.
Debenhams’ new owners have outlined plans to close around 50 stores as part of plans to restructure the business after it collapsed into administration earlier this month. The proposed closure plans, which put thousands of jobs at risk, are based on proposals for a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) set out in October last year which have been adopted by Debenhams’ new owners.
Shares in Laura Ashley fell more than 20 per cent yesterday as the retailer issued a new profit warning to investors after a “very demanding” third quarter. The home furnishings and fashion chain, which has 156 stores across the UK, warned in February that like-for-like retail sales were down four per cent year-on-year and reported a £1.5 million loss.
Ipsos Retail Performance has released details of a new staff exclusion feature, which allows store managers and head offices to capture customer - but exclude staff - footfall to build a true picture of store performance. The market research group’s retail consultancy stated that it believes the tool is the first of its kind, setting a new standard for accuracy in stores where the employee-to-customer ratio is high, such as in telecoms retail or luxury brand flagships.
eBay has unveiled several new initiatives for buyers and sellers, including a search feature that couples advancements in computer vision with relevant filtering, letting shoppers discover products using pictures and words. In its first quarter results statement, the global commerce company also announced the addition of Google Pay as a payment option, alongside the completed integration of PayPal on its new platform, which has been live for a couple weeks with a small set of customers and will continue scaling over the coming months.
The growth of online shopping and the spread of new technologies has driven a loss of almost 75,000 retail jobs since last year, according to new data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). The BRC’S retail employment monitor showed that the number of retail employees in the first three months of 2019 dropped 2.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis, equivalent to 74,400 jobs in total.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has blocked the Sainsbury’s and Asda merger after finding it would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK. In its final report, published today, the regulator found that UK shoppers and motorists would be worse off if Sainsbury’s and Asda - two of the country’s largest supermarkets - were to merge, due to expected price rises, reductions in the quality and range of products available, or a poorer overall shopping experience.
The British Independent Retail Association (Bira) and Vend have announced a campaign called ‘Remarkable Retailers’, celebrating 14 contributions to local high streets and their innovative approach to retail. Selected from a long list of over 1,000 independent stores, Vend and Bira awarded businesses which use technology to create the foundation of their success.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com has opened its underlying blockchain framework JD Chain to business customers. This will enable companies to build their own blockchain solutions from the ground up, following JD’s earlier launch of a new blockchain technology open platform, which enables businesses to leverage pre-built Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in their own businesses.
Clarks has teamed up with Big Data and systems integration specialist Whishworks to help automate and optimise its supply chain operations. The partnership, which will deliver a new Application Programming Interface (API) warehouse management application suite across the supply chain, comes as part of the footwear retailer’s global business transformation initiative.
The online retail industry recorded growth of just five per cent year-on-year in March, against a tough comparator last year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index. While still positive growth, this subdued performance fell significantly below the three (up 7.5 per cent), six (up 7.1 per cent) and 12-month (up 10.2 per cent) rolling averages. In fact, online-only retailers saw only marginally better results - growing 8.9 per cent - than multi-channel retailers’ five per cent rise.
Boohoo has reported a revenue rise of 48 per cent to £856.9 million in the year to 28 February, while pre-tax profit was also up 38 per cent to £59.9 million. Turnover increased 37 per cent in the UK and 64 per cent in international markets.
Majestic Wine has appointed Rothschild & Co to work on options for a potential of sale of all its British shops in preparation for a move to become online-only under the Naked Wines brand. A decision is expected on the plans at its full-year results presentation on 13 June.
Visa has launched a new platform with beta Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and development tools to help issuers and issuer processors build and test new digital payment products. The platform will be available to the payment giant’s clients and partners via Visa Next, a new location for accessing new solutions in its product pipeline.
Some of the High Street’s biggest brands have been secretly filming shoppers and using behavioural analysis technology to try and make them spend more. An investigation by the Daily Mail revealed that the likes of Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Co-op all commissioned SBXL to record customers in their aisles.
Jigsaw has seen its online sales grow by a third after implementing omnichannel technology that enables e-commerce orders to be shipped directly from stores if the items are unavailable online. The High Street fashion retailer reported that online transactions increased by 32 per cent in the first 11 months of deployment of OneStock’s technology, which unifies web and in-store inventory to offer customers access to an entire product range.
The Easter sunshine brought shoppers back out onto the High Street this bank holiday weekend, providing a much-needed boost for UK retailers. According to figures from Springboard, bricks and mortar retailers saw a three per cent rise in footfall compared to the four-day period from Good Friday to bank holiday Monday last year, which by contrast was marred by stormy weather.
Debenhams has confirmed that Sergio Bucher is stepping down as chief executive after the struggling retailer entered administration last week. In a statement, the group said that Bucher, who has led Debenhams since October 2016, would leave the business this week in order to “allow new leadership to carry through the restructuring and turnaround of the business”.
Alibaba Group’s e-commerce marketplace Tmall has launched a dedicated gateway for consumers to find new products on its sister Mobile Taobao app. Taobao users can click on a Tmall icon to access the Tmall New Products channel, which features creative content and personalised recommendations. The Taobao app has nearly 700 million mobile monthly active users and is opened 7.8 times a day by Chinese users, according to Alibaba.
Amazon has announced plans to scrap its online marketplace in China after losing ground to rival e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com. The company announced plans to close its domestic marketplace on 18 July, in order to its focus efforts in China on more profitable activities including border trade, selling overseas goods and cloud computing services.
In the first quarter of the year, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 1.6 per cent when compared with the final quarter of last year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures. All store types, except department stores and household goods stores, increased in the quantity bought in the three months to March, when compared with the previous three months.
River Island has chosen Spanish tech firm Nextail to roll out artificial intelligence (AI) driven forecasting and stock solutions across its store and product network. The fashion retailer is rolling out Nextail’s technology to 343 stores in the UK, Ireland, Asia the Middle East and Europe and across its womenswear, menswear, kids and homeware ranges.
Pinterest and Instagram deliver the highest average order values from mobile devices for online fashion retailers, according to a new study. An analysis of mobile traffic and orders placed with online fashion retailers by Nosto, an e-commerce personalisation platform, also found that the social media duo, which enable consumers to click on ‘shoppable’ images, result in higher average order values (AOV) than Facebook.
Almost half of data-driven initiatives are failing in retail organisations, with of the most common reasons being lack of employee skills, which affects 43 per cent of retail businesses. This is according to a survey of 500 UK and German IT and business decision-makers, commissioned by analytic database provider Exasol and conducted by Vanson Bourne.
Morrisons has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court over a data breach which affected more than 100,000 employees. The case brought by 5,000 former employees at the grocery retailer became the first class action lawsuit involving a data breach in UK legal history.
Furniture retailer Made.com has launched an innovation lab aimed at trialling new retail technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D technology to help customers visualise items in their own home. Made Labs, which will be based at the company’s headquarters in Shoreditch, London, will work with innovative tech startups using the latest technology to help customers find the right products.
Now in their 7th year, the 2019 Payments Awards are open for entries, with an expanded selection of categories to choose from. Celebrating the companies which have demonstrated excellence and innovation in the payments space, this year the awards will be welcoming entries in four new categories: Anti-Fraud Solution of the Year; Security Innovation of the Year; Best Cross-Border Payments Solution; and Blockchain or Cryptocurrency Initiative of the Year.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram are quickly becoming a favoured destination for shoppers, according to research which revealed a 38 per cent rise in the consumers who place high importance the ability to discover new brands and purchase directly on these channels. Bazaarvoice’s annual Shopper Experience Index, which surveyed more than 500 retailers and 2,000 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany, also showed a growing appetite for visual content across platforms, with 91 per cent of UK brands saying this makes online shopping experience more engaging.
Facebook has confirmed that it is closing down its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service on Messenger. The social media giant informed users that the payments service, which launched in the UK in November 2017, two years after it was first rolled out in the US, was being discontinued.
Mastercard has acquired point of sale (PoS) technology platform Vyze, as part of a move into checkout financing. A statement explained that increasingly, consumers are seeking alternative financing options when purchasing goods, citing Accenture research suggesting that in the US alone, such solutions represent a more than $1.8 trillion opportunity.
The owners of Monsoon and Accessorize are said to be mulling dozens of store closures as part of a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). According to Sky News, the women’s fashion and accessories retailers have hired in consultants from Deloitte to lay the groundwork for a potential CVA, which could be launched within the next few weeks.
intu has become the first shopping centre landlord to launch an in-store cashback app that will allow retailers to drive footfall by rewarding customers for spending in physical stores. Called intu Pocket, it will give shoppers at least two per cent cashback on anything they buy from participating shops and restaurants at intu’s 14 UK shopping centres.
Just Eat has acquired point of sale (PoS) software provider Practi for an initial £6.7 million, with further payments dependent on the achievement of certain commercial milestones. According to a statement from the online food delivery firm, the deal will strengthen its partnership with the thousands of restaurant partners on the platform.
Three quarters of UK retailers are failing to assess the actual impact of their digital marketing spend, due to not accurately attributing the impact on footfall. A survey of 1,153 UK retail workers carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals revealed that 68 per cent of retailers are unsure of the return on investment (ROI) of their most recent digital marketing campaign.
Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher is planning to stand down this week after the struggling High Street chain entered administration last Tuesday, according to reports. Bucher, who has led Debenhams since October 2016, is said by sources to believe it is time for a “fresh start” following a tumultuous few months for the department store chain.
Luxury accessories retailer, Lulu Guinness has improved dwell times and conversion rates with a new e-commerce platform and website from Astound Commerce. Founded in 1989, the brand now has multiple stores, but online is becoming increasingly important, with more than a third of business turnover coming from digital channels.
Younger generations are growing frustrated with online shopping and heading back the High Street, with 60 per cent of 18-34 year olds valuing the in-store experience. A study of 2,002 UK adults, commissioned by design agency Foolproof, found that despite the general perception that Generation Z and Millennial shoppers live and shop online, over a quarter of the so-called ‘digital generation’ aged 18-24, and a further 30 per cent of 24-34 year olds, said they preferred to shop in-store as an opportunity to socialise with family and friends.
UK retail footfall increased by 1.4 per cent in March, compared to a six per cent fall the previous year, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Springboard figures. On a three-month basis, footfall dropped by 0.3 per cent, while the six and 12-month averages were both down by 1.4 per cent.
LK Bennett has been bought out of administration by its Chinese franchise partner Rebecca Feng for an undisclosed sum. The struggling womenswear retailer appointed administrators from EY last month, sparking a bidding war involving the company’s founder Linda Bennett, Edinburgh Woollen Mill owner Philip Day and Rebecca Feng.
Aldi is to trial self-service checkouts in one of its stores for the first time. The first automated tills will be at the supermarket’s Glascote store in Tamworth and will allow customers to pay for their own shopping without it being scanned by a store assistant.
Sales of online groceries in the UK hit £12.3 billion last year, up nine per cent from 2017, according to the latest Mintel data. The online sector is still adding to its share of total grocery retail sales, up from 6.1 per cent in 2016 to seven per cent in 2018. Mintel predicted that online grocery sales will reach £13.6 billion this year, and over the next five years, the channel is forecast to account for 10 per cent of all grocery shopping, reaching £19.8 million by 2023.
Amazon Go stores are due to start accepting cash, in response to concerns in US states and cities that the cashless format discriminates against those without access to a bank account. The e-commerce giant’s senior vice president of physical stores Steve Kessel told an internal meeting last month that its growing number of Amazon Go stores will soon introduce “additional payment mechanisms”.
RetailEXPO has announced the shortlist for its 2019 Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate vendors whose innovative products and services can re-energise operations to deliver enhanced customer experience, from in-store design and digital signage, to payment solutions, biometrics and robotics.
Google Cloud Services is launching a new range of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics solutions aimed at helping retailers optimise recommendations and personalisation online and in-store. Google Cloud for Retail is aimed at assisting retailers with digital transformation of the value chain, centred on six core areas, including store operations such as frictionless checkout, inventory management, merchandising, customer acquisition and workforce retention.
The Co-op is launching the Reflexis MyWork mobile task management system across its network of 2,500 stores and more than 45,000 employees. The supermarket chain was previously inundated with information from more than 20 back office systems and 70 paper processes, in addition to email communication and staff bulletins.
The number of store openings by multiple retailers on Great Britain’s top 500 high streets has dropped by 17.4 per cent year-on-year, with the current rate of openings at nine stores per day. This represents a 44 per cent decrease from the 16 stores per day opening in 2013, according to figures from PwC and The Local Data Company. The analysis tracked 66,463 outlets operated by multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Great Britain, between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.
British cosmetics firm Lush is closing its UK social media accounts this week, complaining that it is "tired of fighting with algorithms" and did not want to "pay to appear" in newsfeeds. In a statement, the retailer asks customers to contact it by email, phone, or via live chat on its website.
Half year profits at ASOS have slumped by 87 per cent due to expenses linked to US expansion costs, discounting and poor trading leading up to Christmas. Pre-tax profit at the e-commerce fashion site for the six months to 28 February came in at £4 million, down from £29.9 million for the previous year.
Global spending by retailers on artificial intelligence services will reach $12 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $3.6 billion in 2019. Market analysis from Juniper Research suggested that over 325,000 retailers will adopt AI technology over the period, mostly used to unlock efficiencies across back office operations.
Worldline has launched a dedicated payment solution for online marketplaces, using tokenisation to encrypt financial data. The solution is designed to cater for the particular needs of marketplaces, ranging from those for physical products to franchise systems, travel agents, self-check-out solutions and delivery services.
Google Maps is the platform most ready for the voice search revolution, followed by Yelp and Bing. This is according to analysis from Uberall, which identified 37 directories that directly feed voice search platforms, ranking them according to how important they are to a business’s voice search readiness.
Debenhams has entered into a pre-pack administration deal and passed into the hands of its lenders. The struggling High Street retailer suspended shares this morning after rejecting a revised offer from Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley, aimed at preventing the retailer from entering into a £200 million refinancing deal which could see shareholder value wiped out.
Mulberry has implemented Aptos solutions for pre-season and in-season planning, using supply chain management technology to manage product development and sourcing faster. The British handbag and womenswear retailer trades internationally through its own stores, direct wholesale customers and partners, as well as a growing online channel.
On a total basis, UK retail sales decreased by 0.5 per cent in March, against an increase of 2.3 per cent in March 2018, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG figures. On a like-for-like basis, sales decreased by 1.1 per cent from March 2018, when they had increased 1.4 per cent from the preceding year.
Online fashion retailer Oh Polly has reported record revenues of £15.6 million during 2018, while turnover has increased 140 per cent to £21 million. Pre-tax profits are also on track to more than double to over £3 million for the 2018/19 financial year.
The ongoing saga over the future of Debenhams took a surreal turn yesterday after Sports Direct chief executive Mike Ashley insisted that two directors took a lie detector test, amid a last ditch attempt to block a £200 million refinancing of the struggling retailer. Shortly before re-issuing Sports Direct’s formal offer to underwrite a £150 million rights issue for Debenhams, the retail tycoon accused the Debenhams board of “falsehoods and denials” and requested that two directors take a lie detector test over a meeting allegedly arranged to discuss Sports Direct’s role as the largest shareholder in the company.
Tesco is planning an overhaul of its Clubcard loyalty scheme, moving towards a programme similar to Amazon Prime. The Times reported that the revamp would encourage shoppers to sign up to the supermarket chain’s bank and mobile phone services.
Digital commerce growth to UK retail sites grew just four per cent in the final quarter of 2018, down from eight per cent the previous year, according to Salesforce Commerce Cloud, while mobile continued to dominate growth in traffic and orders.The latest quarterly Shopping Index from the cloud-based software giant analysed the activity and trends of more than 500 million shoppers spread across 1,000 digital commerce sites in 36 countries.
International retailers have flocked to Chinese e-commerce platforms, enticed by impressive consumer traffic, but a growing number of them - including Macy's and New Look - have closed Tmall Global stores, despite growing demand for foreign goods. The problem for retailers is that they are often selling the same brands as their rivals, with customers simply selecting whichever retailer offers the lowest price and fastest delivery, according to Elena Gatti, managing director at e-commerce solutions provider DACH Azoya.
Poor quality products are being boosted by inflated reviews on the websites of Britain’s biggest retailers, according to an investigation by Which? The consumer organisation looked at 15 products that it had rated as ‘Don’t Buys’, a status given to products that fail to meet the standards of its independent tests.
As physical retail spend comes under increasing threat from the online channel, supermalls are set to outperform the total offline market over the next five years, as their destination appeal ensures resilient growth. This is according to GlobalData’s latest industry analysis, which suggested that supermall retail spend will rise by seven per cent during the period to 2023, diverting consumer spending away from increasingly neglected town centres.
AO World has revealed that it is stockpiling £15 million worth of inventory as part of Brexit contingency planning. The online electrical retailer’s trading update for the year to 31 March explained that during the last quarter, inventory levels were increased to prepare for continued uncertainty around the UK’s exit from the EU.
New research has revealed that retail executives see artificial intelligence (AI) as a competitive necessity, but remain sceptical about whether practical applications live up to the hype. Oxford Economics, in collaboration with Synchrony Financial, surveyed 324 executives across seven US retail sub-sectors in late 2018, finding that nearly three quarters of respondents reckon AI will be a competitive necessity for their company in the next five years – a figure that rises to 90 per cent of early adopters.
ASOS has made a change to its returns policy, in an attempt to crack down on the problem of ‘serial returners’. In an email sent to customers, the online fashion retailer explained that it has increased the time customers can return items from 28 days to 45 days. If items are returned within 28 days, refunds will be given as normal, and up to 45 days customer will now get an ASOS gift voucher for the amount spent.
intu has appointed Matthew Roberts as its new chief executive, with effect from 29 April. He will take over from David Fischel, who is set to leave on 26 April, after announcing his intention to leave last July. Fischel had been at the helm of Intu since 2001 and with the company since 1985.
Just four of the UK’s 100 largest online retailers are providing customers with personalised information about the status of their orders, with 27 per cent of brands not communicating at all during the delivery process, according to a new study. Post-purchase solution firm ParcelLab placed online orders with 100 retailers, including Boots, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and ASOS.
With queues remaining the biggest in-store issue for over half (53 per cent) of shoppers, a quarter (23 per cent) of consumers have demanded in-store payment technologies that replicate ‘one-click’ online checkout. This is according to a survey commissioned by RetailEXPO in January and carried out by OnePoll among 2,000 UK consumers.
US grocery giant Walmart is launching a voice order service for online deliveries via smart devices such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. A blog posted by Tom Ward, Walmart’s senior vice president of digital operations, announced that the Walmart Voice Order service will launch this month.
The Prada Group has announced a collaboration with Oracle to adopt a suite of its tech solutions that will support efficiency throughout all core retail processes. The company will also help the luxury retailer analyse historical data and current market demands across its global network of 634 stores, better-informing business decisions and improving customer experience.
Shop price inflation increased to 0.9 per cent in March, up from 0.7 per cent in February – the highest inflation rate since March 2013. The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Neilsen figures showed that food inflation accelerated to 2.5 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in February – the highest rate November 2013.
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is partnering with ARCore by Google to invite augmented reality (AR) software developers to come up with AR solutions aimed at helping retailers to optimise omnichannel targeted marketing. The competition will bring together developers from around the world to compete against one another to solve problems put forward by retailers including Walmart, Mead Johnson and JD.com’s retail experience shops.
A nationwide survey has revealed that the Millennial generation want to turn away from High Street shopping in favour of online subscription services. James and James Fulfilment commissioned Pollfish to survey 400 UK adults, finding that more than 79 per cent of respondents aged 25 to 34 said that “subscription box” services can offer greater choice and personalisation than shopping in-store.
The Co-op has partnered with Finnish digital commerce firm Digital Goodie for a new online and home delivery grocery service, as part of efforts to keep up with rivals in the shift to digital services.The retailer has launched its e-commerce operation to customers within a four kilometre radius of the Co-op store on King’s Road, who will receive goods delivery within two hours, thanks to a new e-bike and digital delivery slot system.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill boss Philip Day has unconditionally offered £5.7 million to buy Bonmarché. The women’s fashion retailer revealed expected losses of between £5 million and £6 million for the year ending 31 March, following an update in November which showed in-store like-for-likes down four per cent as the brand was hit by “weaker consumer sentiment and footfall”.
The nominees for this year’s Retail Systems Awards have been announced, with both established High Street names and technology startups vying for victory. Among those challenging for the coveted Retailer of the Year category are Iceland, IKEA, Marks & Spencer, Shop Direct, Waitrose & Partners and Quiz – several of which are also in the running for the Retail Partnership of the Year prize.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is reportedly eyeing moves to offer consumer credit options to its customers.According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, Ashley, whose Sports Direct Group is currently battling to take control of struggling retailer Debenhams, is said to want to emulate Next, which has 2.5 million customers signed up to its credit arm.
By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) online and in-store, according to Gartner. The consultancy’s Unified Retail Survey - conducted online with 97 retail business decision-makers in Europe, the US, Canada and China - indicated that by next year, 46 per cent of retailers plan to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements.
Business Rates are set to rise once again, to 50.4p in the pound, meaning retailers will now shoulder an additional £200 million of taxes, and causing the British Retail Consortium (BRC) to call for an end to this High Street burden. In a submission made to the Treasury Select Committee today, the BRC set out a framework to fix the business tax system under the principles of Relief, Review and Reform.
A vulnerability in the Magento e-commerce platform is putting as many as 300,000 retail websites at risk of card-skimming until they install a recently-released patch. The bug, named PRODSECBUG-2198, is a SQL injection vulnerability that attackers can exploit with no authentication required. Hackers could exploit the flaw to take control of administrator accounts, assuming they can download user names and passwords, installing backdoors or skimming code.
H&M has reported a 10 per cent increase in group net sales and a smaller than expected decline in pre-tax profits for the first quarter, as it reaps the rewards of an omnichannel transformation plan. The Swedish fashion retailer reported that pre-tax profit was down to SEK 1.04 billion (£85 million) in the three months to March, from SEK 1.26 billion for (£104 billion) the same period last year.
Global Freight Solutions (GFS) has launched a tool to help e-commerce brands navigate Brexit trade barriers. As the Brexit deadline is extended, the enterprise carrier management firm pointed out that UK retailers should still prepare for a hard Brexit. GFS’ new Duties & Taxes Calculator claims to bring clarity to international online delivery tariffs for consumers by estimating the full landed cost of delivery anywhere in the world.
T-Mobile is “putting Square and Clover on notice” with the launch of its GoPoint mobile point of sale (mPoS) solution, offering free same-day funding and no software licensing fees. The telecoms provider is also promising merchants 24/7 live technical support from a real person and the Business Marketplace suite of mobile device management and productivity software.
Debenhams has announced that bondholders have given it the green light to forge ahead with a £200 million financial restructuring plan which could lead to shareholder value being wiped out.In a statement to the stock exchange this morning, the department store said that the consent level had been achieved from bondholders to make amendments to loan notes due in 2021.
More consumers trust shopping recommendations from brands than online influencers, according to new research from InternetRetailingExpo (IRX). The omnichannel retail event commissioned Censuswide to survey 1,001 UK adults during February, finding that 45 per cent trust recommendations offered directly from a brand - online and in-store advertising, shop assistants, in-store displays - compared 29 per cent who trust online influencers like Instagrammers, YouTubers and fashion bloggers for recommendations.
Arcadia Group has reportedly drawn up a list of almost 70 stores that could be set for closure or reassignment, as part of a move towards renegotiating leases with landlords.The Financial Times reported that the list of stores earmarked for potential closure or reassignment in the UK and Ireland includes shops from across the group’s High Street fashion brands, including Topshop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Wallis.
Major retailers are making moves into the blockchain, as new research suggests that annual revenues from blockchain retail asset tracking will rise to $4.5 billion by 2023. French luxury brand group LVMH, owner of Louis Vuitton amongst others, is working with ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure to develop a blockchain platform to prove the authenticity of expensive goods.
Retail sales volumes fell in the year to March, compounding a subdued start to 2019, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). Its survey of 105 firms, of which 50 were retailers, showed retail sales volumes fell by 18 per cent, the fastest contraction in 17 months and marking a four-month run in which sales have not grown.
Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct is weighing up a £61.4 million all-cash bid to takeover struggling department store chain Debenhams. In a statement announcing the plan yesterday, Sports Direct, which owns 30 per cent of Debenhams shares, said the offer of 5 pence per share for the stock it does not already own would be conditional on Debenhams “immediately” appointing Mike Ashley as chief executive.
McDonald’s Corporation is set to acquire decision logic technology company Dynamic Yield. The fast food chain will utilise this decision technology to provide an even more personalised customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.
Payments startup Wi5 has raised £8 million in a seed round to drive growth of its platform. The investment was led by West Hill Capital. The London-based FinTech, which counts telecoms provider Telefonica amongst its backers, said it would use the money to expand its mobile engagement platform, which allows customers to place orders and payments on-site without the need to download an app.
E-commerce fashion platform Boohoo has acquired online fashion brand MissPap for an undisclosed sum. The deal gives Boohoo rights to the pureplay retailer’s brand and intellectual property rights. It has grown a young customer bases through a strong social media profile, underpinned by one million Instagram followers.
Moss Bros has recorded its first annual loss since 2001 amid “volatile” trading conditions, balanced by a 19.6 per cent growth in e-commerce sales, which now represent 14.5 per cent of total sales at the group.The men’s fashion retailer reported a pre-tax loss of £4.2 million for the 52 weeks to 26 January, compared to £6.7 million profit in 2017-2018.
After year filled with headlines about high-profile brands facing challenges on the UK High Street, Dun & Bradstreet has revealed that retail business failures in the fourth quarter of 2018 rose by 8.9 per cent year-on-year. Between October to December, the data consultancy recorded 4,993 business failures – demonstrating a significant rise in the number of failures in the UK overall.
New research has tracked a notable decline in shopper satisfaction with online delivery, after several years of it remaining stable. The 10th edition of IMRG’s Consumer Delivery Review 2018, an annual survey asking 2,000 UK shoppers 50 questions, has shown that overall satisfaction with online delivery fell from 85 per cent to 78 per cent between 2017 and 2018.
E-commerce is set to account for 24 per cent of card spending by 2023, according to new research from RBR. The payments and cards consultancy forecasted that e-commerce expenditure will increase to $11 trillion in 2023, more than double the $4.5 trillion in 2017, up 13 per cent since 2016. In 2017, 18 per cent of card expenditure was down to e-commerce.
Although the rapid growth of e-commerce has significantly reduced High Street footfall, new research has revealed that three quarters of customers would still prefer to make a purchase in a store, with 82 per cent saying they prefer to receive the product as soon as they’ve purchased it. The survey of 1,056 UK adults carried out by digital agency Marketing Signals found that 94 per cent of shoppers stated they always research a product online before going into store to purchase, while 78 per cent prefer to go in store to see and feel a product before going online to shop around for the best price.
More than three quarters (80 per cent) of consumers now consider post-purchase and delivery experience to fundamental to their desire to buy again from the same retailer, according to a study which found that customers feel ‘catfished’ if they are passed from one company to another. Customer loyalty firm Narvar’s survey of 2,000 UK consumers suggested that online shoppers increasingly expect to receive delivery updates directly from the brand they have bought from, rather than a third-party delivery company – an experience that has been likened to the online dating phenomena of catfishing, in which a false image is used to lure in a potential mate.