Archive for December, 2010

Brits expected to shop on Christmas Day

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Christmas Day, a day traditionally exempt from festive shopping, could see consumers spend a record £153m online.

It seems record numbers of customers are going to round off Christmas Day with some online shopping, as payment giant Visa expects to process just under one million cyber transactions. What’s more, many retailers are ignoring the traditional January sales and already have their point of sale displays up ready for Boxing day’s bargain hunters.

With most stores already slashing prices to try and claw back trade lost because of the snow earlier this month, it is thought consumers are ready to take advantage of the sales that start Christmas Day, 24 hours before they begin on the high street.

As reported by the Daily Mirror, industry experts are expecting consumers to spend more than usual in the the post-Christmas sales in an effort to buy what they can before VAT rises from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent on January 4.

Simon James of said: “This year sees a unique combination of a challenging year of trading for many retailers, leading to big discounts and frenzied buying before the increased VAT comes in. For shoppers, there has never been a better time to buy.”

Harrods displays Hybrid Lexus

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Described as the first hybrid, luxury hatchback, the Lexus CT 200H is the newest edition to Harrods shop display.

The eco-friendly luxury car boasts a hybrid engine which allows the driver to choose between powering the car by electric or by petrol. The Lexus CT 200H is striving to offer the luxury car market an alternative choice in green cars and where better to display it than in the window of the world’s most luxurious department store.

The Lexus is on display in a window that is usually used to showcase supercar brands such as Aston Martin and Ferrari. The hybrid forms part of a four window Lexus display in Harrods which will run until January 15th.

The last vehicle to go on display in Harrods window was the Aston Martin Cygnet last month. The retail display offers potential car buyers the chance to get up close to the car and get a real feel for the vehicle.

As reported by Marketing Magazine, Guy Cheston director of advertising sales and sponsorship at Harrods said of the store’s decision to display the car: “We are the ideal route to capturing the imagination of a consumer who is seeking out comfort and style with eco-friendly credentials. Coming face to face with the Harrods shopper in a prime Knightsbridge location is a huge draw.”

Shopkeepers urged to protect their displays from thieves this winter

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Shopkeepers across the UK are being urged to take extra care this Christmas to protect their displays and goods, by locking up properly each night and making use of lockable cabinets, reports PR Fire.

With a rise on the number of shopkeepers reporting thefts - most recently an armed raid on a shop in Cumbria, reports BBC News, and a toy store robbery in East Renfrewshire - it is highly important owners protect themselves and their goods against would-be thieves.

Shop display expert Steve Whittle claims “After seeing numerous news reports each week where shops and warehouses are being targeted by thieves, our advice is to display high value items in lockable cabinets, encourage retail staff to be extra vigilant and ramp up security where they can.”

“With the recession still showing a strain on society, thieves are grabbing the opportunity in this festive period to sell stolen goods to people looking for a bargain, and retailers want to avoid being easy pickings for these shoplifters.”

Retailers concerned about how changing their shop display units – like introducing locked cabinets – shouldn’t be, claims Whittle, who says that safety is ultimately more important, and that “Lockable display cabinets come in a huge choice of styles, shapes and features including lighting, which enhances the products’ appeal.”

“Any retailer who has concerns over the accessibility of products should see this as an opportunity for staff to step in and close the sale,” he concludes. A representative for the Metropolitan Police, DCI Corner, added in The Drinks Business: ”Experience has shown us that Christmas and the mid-winter months are the times of year when commercial premises are more likely to become a target of robbers.”

Mulberry to unveil new store design concept

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Mulberry’s flagship London store is to unveil a unique interior design, which can be adapted depending on the store’s requirements.

The new store on London’s New Bond Street has a concrete floor and shop display stands which are made of oak batons, in addition to an 8.7m long polished brass cash desk. The majority of the shop fittings have been designed to be freestanding and fully flexible, which allows the internal architecture to be altered to suit the needs of the store.

The store, is the first of Mulberry’s flagship stores to feature the new design concept, as reported by World Interior Design Network the shop, which has 5,400 feet of retail space has an open and informal layout across one level of the store. Mulberry wanted to implement eco-friendly elements into the shop’s design and as a result, the store used stone walls which help to support energy saving initiatives. The walls help to retain heat in the winter and cool the air in the summer.

Designed by Universal Design Studio, it is hoped the store will achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent,’ a rating rarely seen in retail construction and spaces. The store’s flooring is meant to resemble a raw concrete warehouse style floor and provides a visual canvas for custom made features including handmade irregular tiles.

Golliwog removed from shop display amid controversy

Friday, December 10th, 2010

A shop has been forced to remove a golliwog doll from their shop display, after it emerged that it may offend a future visitor, Oprah Winfrey.

The Telegraph reports that the shop, situated in Melbourne, had their “Mamee” washer doll on display, a golliwog doll with a maid costume and head scarf. It was though Winfrey would not take too kindly to the doll, which have often been associated with racism and slavery.

A spokesperson for the shop said “Oprah’s people came, and yes, it was discussed. As a results, they won’t have that particular doll on display.” However the shopkeepers are keeping true to their beliefs, stating “But there will be plenty of other gollies when they come through.”

Long since banned in other countries across the world, golliwogs rarely make an appearance in shops these days. However many people believe the dolls represent nothing more than childhood memories, with political expert Jeff Kennett claiming “I love golliwogs. My godmother made and presented to me on my birth Jacko, who is my golliwog. I still have it.”

“I think golliwogs are the most repressed toys in society today. I think that we’ve had to remove this from display is such a sign of political correctness, it makes me upset. I think every golliwog should rise up as one against this political correctness.”

A writer for The Guardian opposes Kennett’s opinion, claiming “In my school playgrounds, during the 1950s and 1960s, ‘golliwog’ was a routine piece of racist abuse, a fighting word.”

“Apprentice” episode inspires shopkeepers across the UK

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

A recent episode of the BBC’s “Apprentice” has inspired shopkeepers around the UK to liven up their shop displays with the use of live mannequins, reports PR Fire.

In the television show, the contestants used themselves as live mannequins in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, in a bid to promote their products – and found that it did in fact attract more consumers than a static mannequin may have.

Shop display manufacturers are now turning to online bookings for live mannequins, allowing businesses to view models online and book out their time. Industry professional Steve Whittle says of the product, “Real people in real windows can work for the right store.”

“For example, a shop window showing a kitchen display could have the model demonstrating a range of products. Or a fashion retailer might want the ‘live mannequins’ to show a range of the latest fashion clothing at various times in the day.”

It has been suggested that people may be more willing to try products if they see a real live person demonstrating them – or a women of real proportions (and not the generally undersized proportions of plastic mannequins) modelling clothes.

The famed fashion event, New York Fashion Week, has already made great use of live mannequins, allowing residents around the central area to track the movements of the mannequins on a website. The event used a range of models to promote a Sony Vaio laptop, with Style Hive claiming “Strange? Yes, but this is Fashion Week no less, and strange is to be expected.”



Police use shop display to help public stay safe

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Police in Avon and Somerset are using an empty shop display in The Mall, Bristol, to highlight to the public the dangers of Christmas.

This is Bristol reports that one of the window displays will feature a crime scene mock-up, allowing members of the public to investigate and experience what life is like for the police. The other will focus on bike security, as the festive period often experiences a higher rate of bicycle theft.

In partnership with Bike UK, and the Safer Bristol Partnership, the police will be pushing their property database, Immobilise, on which the public can register larger possessions such as bikes or laptops. This helps the police to trace the property if it found among recovered stolen property, as the public can log on and report the crime, and the database will highlight the crime to the local police force. reports that only 56 percent of bicycle thefts are reported to the police, and it is hoped this system will encourage more people to do so.

The shop display was the brainchild of local Police Community Safety Officer (PCSO) Warren Vincent-Rodgers; “We tested the shop in The Mall last year, with great success, speaking to more than 1,000 Bristol residents about all sorts of security and safety issues,” he said.

“You can’t really have a more striking window display than a crime scene, and with so many TV programmes getting children and adults interested in this area of work, it’s a fantastic opportunity to see at first hand the techniques CSIs use to find clues and help solve cases. Everyone is invited to note down their theory of what happened - it should make a welcome distraction from Christmas shopping.” 


Workmen uncover vintage shop sign

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Tradesmen in Cumbria, who are renovating an empty building have discovered a vintage shop sign while working on its facade.

Workers were redeveloping the Cooke’s Building in Abbey Road, Barrow when they uncovered the old style shop sign, now the former shop could become a protected building after Barrow Borough Council applied for the structure to have listed building status.

The council’s application is currently being examined by English Heritage who will then pass on its recommendation to the government. The final decision on the application will be made by the Secretary of State for Tourism and Heritage, John Penrose.

The Cooke’s Building was built in 1875 and is currently undergoing a £2m renovation which will see the building become home to arts organisations including Signal Films and the Ashton Theatre Group. It will also have an exhibition space, a café bar and computer suite.

The discovery of the shop’s original front prompted the council nominate the building. They said the placard was representative of the building’s unique character. Last month at a council meeting, planning officer Charles Wilton told the planning committee that the shop front was of a similar style to shop signs from the 1960s and 1970s.

“The shop front was a really cheap plywood sign that was fitted in the 1960s or 70s. The assumption was that the original shop front was long gone. However, workers on the site have found a surprising amount of the surviving shop front, including cast iron columns and the original sign,” he told the North West Evening Mail.

Best dressed window displays sweep the nation

Monday, December 6th, 2010

The festive season is inspiring towns across the UK to hold best dressed window competitions, inspiring retailers to up their game and create sparkling Christmas displays, with the hope of winning the big prize.

The Northampton Evening Telegraph reports of the Rushden competition, with the local mayor, Carol Childs claiming “The shopkeepers enjoyed the window display competition. This event saw people taking a real pride in the community, which I would like to see back in this town.” Results of the competition were announced at the annual Christmas lights turn on.

Shop displays are also being judged in Chorleywood, reports the Watford Observer. A councillor from the area, Rodney Kipps, presented a trophy for the best dressed, Christmas-theme fitting at Friday night’s annual late night shopping event. Also in Newbury, a prize of £100 and a trophy will go to the winner of their Best Dressed Shop Window, judged on December 10th – alongside runners-up prizes of a Christmas hamper from Marks & Spencer, and free advertising in local paper, the Newbury Weekly News.

The Basingstoke Gazette reports of their Odiham Extravaganza, held last night, which celebrates local retailers and awarded the best dressed award to Odiham Cottage Hospital and The Frame, an arts shop. According to the event organiser, “It was absolutely brilliant. I spoke to a few people and they told me it was great!”

Meanwhile, the South Yorkshire Star reports on their local competition, which has already been judged, with the results to be announced at the final council meeting of the year.


Hamleys live penguin and reindeer shop display sparks outrage

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

London’s most famous toy store Hamleys, has sparked outrage after announcing plans to have real penguins and reindeer as part of their Christmas shop display.

Animal lovers have bombarded the Regent Street store with complaints and a Facebook campaign page has also been set to up encouraging would-be customers to boycott the store. The campaign began after Hamleys began promoting the event which is expected to take place on December 6.

According to Sky News, the advert read: “Take a trip to Hamleys after school on Monday to visit our real life Penguin Pool! You will be able to see the penguins swim, interact with their friends and be fed at tea time!”

The advert also promoted the reindeer show said to include Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Conner and Blitzen. “Have you ever dreamt of meeting Rudolph? Well now’s your chance to meet some of his friends. Come into the magic of Hamleys after school to pet and feed our real beautiful Mummy and Baby Reindeer,” Hamleys said.

Whilst it is not illegal to have arctic animals in a heated shop, the RSPCA said “extra care has to be taken in making sure animals are kept in a suitable environment and aren’t caused unnecessary stress.”

A spokesman from Hamleys said the animal display would be managed responsibly.

“Hamleys would like to make clear that we strive to conduct ourselves in a responsible manner and co-ordinate with relevant authorities. To be clear, in store the penguins will be in a large, highly controlled, filtered pool environment, where no-one is able to touch the animals and their expert handlers are present at all times. Their welfare is absolutely paramount,” the statement said.