Archive for October, 2010

Mannequins replaced as employees model

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Staff at John Lewis’ Edinburgh store swapped their uniforms for this season’s winter collection as they replaced mannequins in the shop displays.

As part of the promotions following the stores £2.6 million refurbishment Claire Matthews and Rebecca Gibb caught the eye of passers-by who witnessed the shop’s window display come to life.

Posing among an array of fallen autumn leaves the employees showcased some of the new brands now available since the refit at the store. Organisers thought the live display would help launch the branch’s new fashion and accessories departments, which have been under refurbishment for the last six weeks.

The new fashion floor boasts new fitting rooms as well as a designer zone and a suite where shoppers can get the latest fashion advice. As part of the project, new brands have been introduced to the collection allowing shoppers to pick items from over one hundred brands in store.

Chris Webster general manager of John Lewis Edinburgh told Deadlines Scotland: “The impact that we are really trying to get across the shop floor is as customers walk in they think there’s something here for me. So that all our customers, young, old, across the country and especially in Edinburgh are able to say ‘I really want to shop here’ and that’s creating a really strong platform that enables us to bring in new brands.”

Century old shop front sign rescued from skip

Monday, October 25th, 2010

A century old shop front that was found in a skip, could be among the oldest shop signs of its kind in Britain.

The Boots Chemist shop sign which pre-dates to the First World War was found in Marchmont, Scotland. The sign had been concealed beneath the fascia of the Argyle Bar for the last 50 years, but an external revamp led to it’s discovery.

As reported by the Scotsman Monica Higgins salvaged the sign in 2005, keeping it in her shop nearby. She contacted Boots archivists based at the chemists head office in Nottingham last week after selling her business. The excited researchers believe the sign which was broken down into pieces by workmen, dates from 1912, making it one of the oldest Boots fascia’s in their collection.

The two metre long vintage sign is inscribed with distinctive gold lettering which has been hand chiselled from an American hardwood base. The letters and slogan are written on a red background and in bold letters the sign reads: ‘Boots Cash Chemists,’ the side bar next to it says ‘Prescription Dispenser’ and has the pre-1971 slogan ‘Pure Drugs and Chemicals’.

Mrs Higgins told the Scotsman that it was her hoarding instincts which led to her preserving the sign. “I suppose I have always been a magpie but when you have a shop you have plenty of space to store things and that’s what I did with the Boots sign. When I sold my business I had to find homes for all the things I had been hoarding. I thought it was quite beautiful and maybe I should return it to its rightful home,” she said

Judith Wright an archivist with the chemist said: “We are really keen to see it and are really quite excited because we haven’t had something like this for a very long time. There are not many store fascias in our collection because many end up in the skip, on a scale of uniqueness it ranks very high. It’s very rare for us and possible one of the oldest Boots signs we have come across.”

Shop forced to remove Halloween display for being ‘too scary’

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

A card shop has been forced to down their Halloween display after complaints that it was so scary, it made children burst into tears.

Clinton’s cards in the Meridian Centre Havant, were forced to take down their blood splattered shop display of skeletons, guts and brains spewing out of cupboards less than week after they put it up, following complaints from shoppers.

As reported by The News, Havant Borough Council was forced to step in after receiving two complaints that shop window’s backdrop, which featured an image of a row of saws, cleavers and knives dripping with blood, was in bad taste and unrelated to the usual ghouls and ghosts that are associated with Halloween.

Although the council admitted they had no power to force the shop to remove the display, they said they felt they should investigate the complaints. An officer visited the store and asked the manager to take down the display because it was causing offence.

One shopper Robert Rigg 72, admitted he was upset by the display: “I saw it yesterday and I didn’t like it. There’s enough violence going on now without children getting it rammed down their throats like this.”

Liz Jenneson the shop’s manager said: “We were asked to go to town and be theatrical to give the shop a Halloween atmosphere. In this particular store we have lots of windows so we used the large plastic backdrop there, rather than elsewhere in the shop.”

“It’s been up since Thursday but it wasn’t until yesterday (Tuesday) that three people complained about the backdrop. That’s why we’re taking it down now and going to replace it with something less offensive.”

Don’t shop until December for Christmas best buys

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

With festive shop displays already appearing along the high street, you would be forgiven for thinking Christmas is just around the corner.

Supermarket shelves and display units are already filled with Christmas goodies, tempting sensible shoppers to beat the rush, by buying now. But by doing so, you could be paying more than twice as much as you would if you were to wait until December.

In the final countdown to Christmas Day fierce price wars usually mean a range of products are either reduced or become part of the store’s special promotion.

Research conducted by comparison website mySupermarket has found prices for puddings and chocolates are much higher now than they have been in past Decembers. For example, Tesco is currently charing £6 for its Christmas collection of chocolates, which last December sold for £2.75, was £2.93 the December before that and £2.49 in December 2007.

Johnny Steel, a spokesman for the comparison website told the Metro: “It’s good to be super organised ahead of Christmas – but often it’s worth holding back on buying your treats until December. As early as September we’ve been teased with mince pies, Christmas puddings and sweets in supermarkets tempting us to stop up in advice.”

“But as the research shows on average, prices will drop in the coming months.” Mr Steel went on to advise consumers: “Shop with your head, not your stomach.”

Retailers spashing out on shop fittings

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Despite two years of cutbacks, the shop fitting sector has received a welcome boost as confidence returns to retailers, who are deciding to invest in their stores.

A recent survey by the Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA) revealed that just under 80 per cent of shop fitting companies had witnessed an increase in sales over the last six months, with 63.9 per cent also registering an increase in year on year sales.

When asked about the future, 50 per cent of companies that responded said they were confident of increased sales over the next year, whilst 44.4 per cent said they were expecting similar sales figures to this year.

Lawrence Cutler, SDEA director told The Grocer that the turnaround was remarkable. “Our survey confirms that renewed energy and confidence now being experienced with the shop fittings and display market,” he said.

According to the article, Costcutter stores have been at the forefront of the new investment with retailers spending more money on their shop interior during the first quarter of the current financial year, that in the whole of 2009/10.

Craig Farrington, head of development at Costcutter said store development was vital for retailers that are looking to future-proof their business.

“So far this year we have delivered 100 development projects with a strong focus on quality refits,” he said.

3D facades fill high street’s empty shops

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Customers in one high street are shopping in a near ‘virtual’ world as fake 3D facades are put up in the windows of empty shops.

Greggs, KFC and the British Heart Foundation shop in Redcar’s high street in Cleveland, have been surrounded by simulations as the fake facades have been put up in 18 shops.

The false shop displays are being used to disguise the empty stores in the street, by giving the impression the units are occupied. There is a virtual restaurant, café, furniture store, bookshop, gift shop and two fashion stores in addition to an electrical goods and accessories shop, being used to fill the gaps on the high street as the recession continues to take its toll.

The seaside town has been hit hard by the recession, but the council hope to improve the look of the high street and to attract new businesses with the use of the clever images. Even virtual shoppers can be seen on the images, with customers appearing to be inside the boutique fashion store.

There is even a ‘virtual house’ near the sea front on the Esplanade, which is complete with a sofa, grand fireplace and ornamental vases. It is only upon closer inspection that passers by realise the front is fake with a sticker saying: ‘Uplifting our town centres programme.’

Earlier this year, fake facades were also installed in Whitley Bay by North Tyneside Council. The facade was used to give the impression of a high quality delicatessen, but according to the local council consumers could soon see the facades on a high street near them.

A spokesman from Redcar Council told The Mirror: “Our town centre manager has already had enquiries from town councils in the UK, France, Germany and Australia looking to replicate it themselves.”

Bristol council use vacant shop to display road proposals

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Residents in Bristol have had a mixed reaction to the proposals for one of the city’s main roads, as part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network scheme.

The local council used the display units in a vacant shop to exhibit the plans which include the introduction of banned turns and new parking restrictions. Around 30 members of the public visited the shop display on the first day of the council’s six week consultation exercise.

Residents learnt that other changes include a new outbound bus lane which would see the loss of around 50 parking spaces during peak travel times. Although there is a chance parking along the whole road could become time restricted to either one or two hour limits and no return to the road for a further two hours.

Two council officers were present at the display to answer resident’s questions and they invited residents to fill in feedback forms which will be taken into account at the end of the consultation period in November. According to the Greater Bristol Bus Network project manager Steve Riley, reaction to the proposals have so far been mixed.

“We’ve had quite a few people come in, some saying it’s a good scheme, others who say it needs a few tweaks. The banned turns in three locations have got people making comments. The idea behind them is to improve pedestrian facilities,” he told the Bristol Evening Post.

The consultation period is due to end on November 12, when officers will consider the publics feedback. Any agreed changes will then be made before a report is presented to the local transport councillor. If the proposals are agreed, work is expected to begin next summer and will be completed by March 2012.

Gardman launch new marketing campaign

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Garden centre supplier Gardman is launching a new multi-brand marketing campaign in preparation of a number of brand launches.

It is hoped the new campaign will help Gardman increase the rate of its growth in the garden and leisure industry and comes as a result of the brand overhaul carried out by a hired creative agency in Manchester.

Changes are being made to the company’s entire marketing collateral including the firms POS and product packaging in addition to their advertising and promotions. The company website is also being overhauled in preparation for the relaunch of a number of products.

For example, the recent relaunch of the Wild Bird Care product range saw the introduction of new packaging, the creation of a catalogue, new POS and promotions as well as changes to the merchandising displays and shop display units.

Jane Lawler the marketing director at Gardman told The Drum: “As market leaders in a number of our categories, it’s important that we continue to lead the field in terms of innovation and marketing and that’s exactly what we feel we’ve achieved with our new product launches and marketing campaign, which results from months of extensive research.”

“In addition to investing in the more traditional means of consumer communication such as in-store promotions, advertising, product catalogues and POS, we are developing our web presence and digital marketing collateral to reach consumers and retail buyers online,” she added.

Thorntons sees sales rise thanks to point of sale displays in other retailers

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

Thorntons has seen sales of its branded chocolates grow despite an overall decline in those made at its own high-street stores, thanks to the strong performances of its branded display units in other commercial retailers..

As reported by trade publication The Grocer, the UK chocolatier saw a 9% growth in its overall sales for the 14 weeks leading to the second of October. This places the company’s overall revenues at £50.3m for the same period.

However sales in its own stores have slipped by 4% on a like-for-like basis over the same length of time, amounting to just over half of its total revenue (£26m).

The remaining revenue can be attributed to the Thorntons brand’s growing presence in retail shelving at other high-street and consumer stores, such as point of sale displays in supermarkets and convenience stores. Known by Thorntons as its commercial channel, performances for this area of the brand were described as “particularly pleasing” by the company’s executive chairman, John von Spreckelsen.

“Our challenge and key focus area remains the performance in own stores,” said Mr Spreckelsen, “where sales declined in line with management expectations.”

“We are continuing to implement a number of new initiatives to drive sales.”

Among these initiatives is the annual introduction of the Christmas seasonal range to the display units of Thornton’s high-street stores. Like many retailers Thorntons has already begun introducing these goods to the market to ensure that the seasonal interest is capitalised upon as early as possible.

Premier Foods create 25ft display to publicise visual merchandising advice for stores

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

The UK’s biggest food manufacturer has launched its Great Little Ideas campaign with the biggest ever in-depot display at Bestway.

It’s part of Premier Foods’ push for Christmas sales, which has seen the company issue tailored advice to retailers on visual merchandising and point of sale displays, to make the most of seasonal sales.

According to Talking Retail, Andy Riddle, head of sales – cash and carry at Premier Foods, said the stunt hopes to raise awareness of the campaign. He added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to communicate the excitement of Great Little Ideas directly to independent retailers, generating a lot of interest in depot, providing face-to-face advice on Christmas products and merchandising, and giving out the tools to bring it to life in their stores at point of purchase. We’re confident that the initiative will increase ambient food consumption, and thereby boost sales.”

The 25ft high display is part of Premier Foods’ ongoing drive to encourage stores to embrace creative retail displays in stores across the country.

“This is one of the biggest displays we’ve ever had in our depot,” explained Mohammad Gulistand, general manager of Bestway depot. “It catches the attention of our customers as soon as they walk through the door. This display really highlights the sales opportunity for retailers as well as the scale of Premier Foods’ investment in Great Little Ideas this Christmas.”