Archive for November, 2010

Shop’s Santa shocks shoppers

Friday, November 26th, 2010

A risqué, festive shop display has been described as ‘sick,’ by a city shopper.

Earlier this month Ted Baker’s Cambridge Store unveiled its Christmas window display, however, the light-hearted display has failed to amuse all shoppers. The scene includes a moving mannequin dressed as Father Christmas, who lifts his tunic to reveal stockings and suspenders underneath.

As reported by the Cambridge News, the Grand Arcade in the city centre has received complaints from one shopper who said he thought the shop display was ‘sick.’

Giles Taylor from Chesterton, a full time carer for his wife said:”The mannequin has the head of a bloke that looks drunk with his eyes all glazed over. I think it’s sick. I was sitting at the bus stop outside the shop and saw a woman walk past the shop, I could see the look of disgust on her face as the suspenders were revealed.”

“Even if you don’t believe in Christmas the fact that children can see that is just wrong,” he added. When Mr Taylor contacted the shopping centre he was told each shop is available for its own advertising.

Matt Howell manager of Cambridge’s Ted Baker store said he had no plans to remove the display.

“The window is creating a lot of attention, some good, some bad. It is just a bit of quirky spin on Christmas, but we want to express that it wasn’t meant in bad taste,” he said.

Mr Taylor contacted Trading Standards to report the retail display, but was asked to write a letter of complaint.

“By the time I’ve written a letter and received a response, the display will have been taken down anyway,” he added.

November’s retail sales on the rise

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Statistics released today by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have shown that UK retail sales rose in November, reports The Telegraph.

43 percent of nationwide companies reported a rise in their business, despite many of them having to resort to shop signs promoting large discounts and sales to pull in shoppers. Greengrocers and clothes shops reported the best sales, however only 11 percent of retail companies are expecting their sales to improve in 2011.

With only 36 percent of retailers reporting higher sales in October than the previous month, November’s figure is certainly positive news for retailers. The chief economic adviser at CBI, Ian McCafferty commented on the results, saying “High street sales growth held up well in November, and retailers are hopeful that the run-up to Christmas will be just as strong.”

“However, looking into the New Year, retail sales growth may lose some of its sparkle as consumers rein in spending after Christmas.” he continues. However for now, one factor prompting consumers to boost their retail therapy habits seems to be the impending VAT rise on 1st January. BBC News reports that consumers may be bringing their purchases forward in an attempt to outwit the Government, which will improve the industry in the short term, but may “depress” consumers in the new year.

The CBI expects sales to continue their rise in December, the key time for pre-Christmas shopping, with an anticipated 45 percent of retailers reporting rises in sales. The CBI’s research also shows that retailers plan to invest more in their businesses in 2011, with 28 percent of companies confirming this.


‘Erotic’ posters banned from shop display

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

A clothing store that displayed ‘erotic’ posters in its shop window, has been told to remove them.

Dutch fashion firm Suit Supply had used the posters as part of the shop display at their store in Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush. However, the images provoked more than 20 complaints to Westfield and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The eight foot high images were labelled too explicit by some visitors to the shopping centre. Posters included an image of a man driving as he touches a female passenger who appears to be touching her breast, others include a man lifting a woman’s dress to look at her underwear.

Although Suit Supply Founder Fokke de Jong has agreed to remove the posters, he told BBC News: “We make no apology. We think this is a campaign that has a strong erotic tension. It’s a good mix between sex, humour and style- the three basic elements of fashion. We make no apology, people need to look more carefully.”

A spokesman for Westfield told the London Evening Standard: “Although individual retailers are responsible for their own advertising and in-store campaigns, Westfield London takes seriously the responsibility to ensure the comfort and safety of all visitors, including the exposure to content and imagery.”

“We have approached Suit Supply to request the removal of the images which may cause offence to customers and we apologise for any offence caused,” he added.

Chip Shop boss in row over new shop sign

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

A chip shop owner is involved in a planning row over an illuminated sign which stands outside his business.

Norton Fisheries, has been trading since 1926 and owner Andrew Whitmore says he feels “let down” after Stockton Council refused permission for a new sign outside his shop.

Mr Whitmore spent £1,000 in June replacing the old sign, which he claims had become a health and safety hazard. The dad of two said the replacement is almost “like for like” apart from the fact that rather than being lit from above, it is lit internally.

Upon realising that he needed planning permission for such changes, Mr Whitmore of Ingleby Barwick submitted an application, but the council rejected the bid stating the new sign was “detrimental to the character” of the conservation area and not in line with the rules for shop signs on Norton High Street.

Mr Whitmore, who was shocked by the decision, launched a petition in protest of the council’s decision and collected more than 150 signatures from customers in support of the sign during the first two days. He has decided to appeal his case to the planning inspectorate, claiming that only one local resident has objected to the sign’s installation during the consultation process.

“The sign was falling down and I had to get a sign put up sharpish. The council are rejecting it on the basis of the light. I can’t understand it. I have done it in green, I don’t see any reason it should be rejected,” he told the Gazette Live.

“Imminent neighbours thought it was great because I was doing something about it, otherwise it would fall on you head,” he added.

A spokesman from Stockton Council said: “We refused the application because the council’s planning policy and guidance for conservation areas such as Norton makes it clear that internally illuminated signs for shop fronts are detrimental to the local character.”

Shop owner marks Armistice Day with poppy display

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

A shop owner in Attleborough is doing something special to mark Remembrance Day, creating a shop display using dozens of knitted red poppies.

The window display at Susan’s Work Basket has been decorated with the works of a local knitting club. The 15 members of the Knit-Wits club, which meet once a week at a local wool shop, have created more than 60 woollen poppies.

Trader Susan Davey told Norwich Evening News 24 that the project snowballed after club members began making poppies in preparation for Armistice Day. Unintentionally, the club have raised money for military charities after visitors and shoppers began offering money for the woollen red flowers.

Ms Davey, who has run the store for the last two years said she had sold around 40 of the unique poppies, which range in size from three to six inches in time for this week’s Remembrance Sunday services.

“We did not do it to make money or sell them, but people were so impressed that they wanted to buy them. We were looking at some books that people had brought in with them with flower patterns and we thought it would be a good idea to do some poppies and it just progressed from there. We had so many that we decided to make a display,” she said.

“Everyone thinks the window is fantastic and we have had lots of good comments. We always do a poppy window and last year we dressed up some soldiers. I’m not sure how we will top this year,” she added.

Tobacco groups and corner shops unite over ban on shop displays

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Big tobacco groups have joined with small retail associations to oppose the upcoming ban on the retail display of cigarettes, as The Guardian reports that lobby groups are pressuring ministers to drop the new series of anti-smoking regulations pushed through by the Labour Government.

As previously reported, a ban on the display of tobacco products on shop shelving is set to come into force in October 2011 for supermarkets and for smaller retailers two years later. Whilst supermarkets have been largely unconcerned by the proposal, given that many already limit the sale of tobacco products to a single, separate point of sale in-store, many small retailers have expressed concerns over how the restrictions will affect their business.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) says that corner shops operate on slim margins and often rely on tobacco sales for up to a third of their turnover. They are concerned that smokers may stock up in supermarkets rather than make regular, convenient purchases if they are uncertain that newsagents stock tobacco.

Meanwhile the tobacco industry, whose stake in the issue is obvious, have lent their support to the NFRN and claimed that a similar scheme introduced in Ireland last summer has led to a surge in smuggled and counterfeit goods, as well as contributing to the closure of small shops throughout the country.

“Ultimately people don’t even know where to buy tobacco any more,” said Alison Cooper, chief executive of Imperial Tobacco. “The Irish have this problem, that’s the best evidence.”

“We believe, as recent evidence in Ireland proves, that organised crime will exploit the display ban. Concealing tobacco products from view will make it easier for traders of smuggled product to blend it into the legal supply chain,” says Christopher Ogden of the Tobacco Manufacturer’s Association.

Lobby groups from both sectors have called upon the coalition government to honour pledges made before the election to revoke the display ban contained within the Health Act 2009, with an NFRN spokesman voicing fears of a “coalition flip-flop” on the issue.

These concerns have been fuelled by statements made in the House of Commons by public health minister Anne Milton that the government was “developing options around the display of tobacco in shops….to ensure an appropriate balance between public health priorities and burdens on business” – a far cry from the movement to suspend the ban timetable hoped for by campaigners.

‘Bullies’ Tesco make small pet store change their sign

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Supermarket giants Tesco have been accused of “bullying” after they ordered an independent pet food store to change its logo over claims it infringed copyright.

Petco bosses were shocked when they received a letter from Tesco warning them that their logo infringed the firms “intellectual copyright.” The 3,000 sq ft shop, which has an annual turnover of less than £250,000 was no match for the multi-million pound worldwide Tesco brand and has been forced to back down.

The shop signs have been taken down as the firm prepare to develop a new logo, because the owners do not have the money to fight Tesco in a legal battle.

Petco partner Elliot Martin, 36 told Small World News Service that any similarities between their sign and Tesco’s is purely “accidental.”

“If you come to our shop you can clearly see it’s not a Tesco. A Tesco has a huge supermarket, big entrance and rows of tills. We’re a small independent pet food shop with an annual turnover of less than a quarter of a million. There’s no way someone will walk in here thinking it’s Tesco,” he said.

“It’s pointless taking them on in the court because, although we might win, we can’t compete with their money and influence. They are just a big bully in the community and there is nothing you can do about them.”

The letter from Tesco’s corporate and legal affairs team was sent on October 4, demanding Petco change the ‘stylisation’ of the logo sign and remove the image from any company paperwork.

It read: “The overall impression created by the infringing logo is confusingly similar by impression created by the Tesco trademark. We therefore consider the use of the logo an infringement of intellectual property rights. Your use of the infringing logo suggests there is a connection between Tesco and yourselves, when in fact there is not.”

Empty shops may be temporarily used by charities

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Empty shops in Chelmsford could be temporarily used by charity groups, in an effort to bring shop displays back to life and improve the look of the town.

As reported by the Chelmsford Weekly News, Chelmsford Council’s town centre management team are looking for charities that may benefit from using an empty shop temporarily. They are also looking for landlords whose shops are empty and may be able to be used as part of the project.

Past success of the window display put up in Woolworths following its closure, led the council’s team to install a map of Chelmsford town centre and a poster listing some of the town’s best assets, in the window of the former James Finch shoe shop in Duke Street.

The long term aim of the scheme is to have the units in permanent use, but it is hoped temporary projects whilst the stores are empty would make practical use of the spaces whilst contributing to the areas quality of life and improving the look of the town.

A spokesperson from property consultants Kemsley which manages a number of the towns properties, said the firm was keen to support the campaign: “It is our aim to let the property out to a commercial tenant. However, if the property can be used to benefit residents and visitors while making the unit look more appealing and secure, then we are happy to support the project.”

The scheme provides a number of benefits to landlords which include improved security and maintenance of premises, lower running costs for their commercial property and improved prospects for re-use.

Selfridges Christmas display sparks plagiarism row

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

High street chain Selfridges has offered £10,000 to the family of the creator of Frank Sidebottom after using similar style dolls in their shop displays without permission.

Mannequins with faces very similar to that of the papier mache creation formed part of the retailer’s marketing campaign at their flagship store on Oxford Street, London. Chris Sievey, the man behind the cult figure from Timperley, Greater Manchester died in June from throat cancer aged 54.

The Manchester Evening News reported that the Selfridges characters all had over-sized heads and eyes with cut-out segments identical to Frank’s. Selfridges said the creation by the firm’s designer Erin Thompson aimed to ‘awake the child within,’ but the Sievey family are said to be furious that bosses failed to consult them before launching the displays.

Mr Sievey’s partner Gemma Wood told BBC News that she had be inundated with phone calls since a national newspaper published photos of the Selfridges display.

“People were very upset. I spoke to the store on the phone and they said they were very sorry and are going to credit Chris,” she said.

A Selfridges spokesman said: “After investigation we can see why some fans of Chris Sievey’s character as well as some of the creator’s friends and family have reacted so quickly to this feature of our current windows. We sincerely apologise if this has offended anyone and we have been keen to resolve matters quickly. We have offered to give £10,000 to Chris Sievey’s estate and for them to decide how best to use this donation.”

Shop’s sign considered too big after 50 years

Monday, November 1st, 2010

A sign which has stood in a Derbyshire village for 50 years may have to be removed.

The landmark is currently used to advertise a basketware company called Home Products. The shop has been run by Tim Gilman for the last 25 years and the shop’s sign which advertises its location, stands opposite the premises.

However, planners at Derbyshire Dales District Council have told Mr Gilman that he needs to apply for “retrospective express advertisement consent” and although he has done this officials have recommended that permission is refused.

As reported by This is Derbyshire, they say the sign is “overly large and unnecessary clutter” and needs to come in line with traditional shop signs. They also claim the sign “detracts from the special historic character and appearance of the world heritage site” it is in.

Mr Gilman did not want to discuss the case before the application meeting which is due to take place this week. But Paul Wilson head of planning at the council said what they wanted was a scaled-down sign.

“We acknowledge the signage has been present on this site for a considerable period of time. However, the revised signage requires advertisement consent and in this regard, consideration must be given to the location of the site within the conservation area and the designated Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site,” he said.

The sign 18ft high sign comprises of two panels with red and black lettering on a white background. Cromford Parish Council has told Derbyshire Dales District Council that it has no objections to the current advertisement. The district council have received no letters of objection for the sign which stands on the site of a former petrol station.