Archive for January, 2011

Tobacco displays ban appealed by Imperial Tobacco

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

A plan to ban tobacco displays in Scotland has been put on hold, after the cigarette manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco, launched an appeal against the measure.

According to The Herald, the ban – which was due to come into force by October – was aimed at discouraging under-age smoking, as well as encouraging more people to quit, by removing tobacco products from shop displays.

“The ban on displaying tobacco products in shops is being introduced to make cigarettes less attractive to children and young people. We remain fully committed to this policy and are continuing to work with the retail industry to prepare for implementation,” claimed Scotland’s public health minister, Shona Robison.

“The ongoing legal challenges means that an October start date is now unrealistic. We will announce the new implementation date as soon as possible.”

Others are disappointed by delay, with the anti-smoking charity, Ash Scotland, arguing in Hawick News: “It is disappointing that a tobacco display ban for large retailers will not be able to be introduced this year, due to continuing tobacco industry legal challenges, but sadly not surprising in any way.”

However it seems Imperial Tobacco are not the only ones opposed to the planned ban, with the chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation, John Drummond, claiming: “We welcome this sensible decision. the prolonged uncertainty caused by the legal challenge has made it impossible for retailers to prepare for the changeover within the current timescales.”

“With evidence from Ireland and Canada suggesting display bans are not an effective method of reducing youth smoking rates, we hope the Scottish government will use this delay to review the policy and look for more effective solutions.”


Goldsmiths in a bid to attract younger shoppers

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Jewellery giant Aurum has announced it is to launch a new fascia under its Goldsmiths brand in an effort to attract younger, more fashion conscious customers.

The Leicester branch of Goldsmiths in the Highcross shopping development, have been trialling the new concept since November. The store has stocked a more “youth focused” mix of products including items such as charms and fashion watches.

According to Justin Stead chief executive of the retailer, said they were “very pleased” with how the trial went over the Christmas period. As a result, the concept is to be rolled out under the new fascia Goldsmiths Boutique in the next few weeks.

Around eight Goldsmiths Boutique shops will open in the next year. The shops will maintain the brown and yellow colours, but the Boutique title will be added below the logo in bold, red, capital lettering.

The shop displays are to be tailored to create a more temporary feel and the traditional carpet on floors is to be replaced with wooden flooring. An Aurum spokesman said the wooden floor fitted better with the youth audience, Retail-Jeweller reports.

The re-branding comes shortly after Aurum reported a strong Christmas, with like for likes up 14.5 per cent across the group in the five weeks to January 9.

Stead said that the strong performance was a result of product availability and mix, along with marketing. Had it not been for the snow, the performance would have been “remarkable,” he added.

One trader responds to shop fronts survey

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Greater attention needs to be paid to the shop fronts in Castletown, Isle of Man, or traders should face legal action one shop owner has claimed.

Charles Faragher made the comments in response to a letter from Sarah Corlett, the Department of Infrastructure’s (DoI) planning officer. Ms Corlett’s letter was sent to traders after a planning application for a betting shop was refused, because of its appearance in a conservation area.

She also revealed that she had received letters from residents about the unattractiveness of shop fronts in the town, which she raised with the town’s traders, but according to Commissioner’s clerk Eddie Convery they had an ‘appalling response’ receiving just one response from Mr Faragher.

Mr Faragher fully supported the points raised by the DoI about shop fronts and shop displays in the town. He described Castletown as “the best preserved town centre on the island, with many fine buildings and architectural details,” IOM today reports. In his letter, he also asks if any advice could be taken from other towns in the UK that have tackled similar problems.

He said the advice should include the use of effective and enforceable legislation in an effort to tackle derelict and unsightly properties. He also claims that traders should be advised on how to improve their shop fronts. Mr Faragher’s letter has been forward to the DoI so they can take on board his feedback, when making a decision.


Isle of Man comes under fire for shop displays

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Shops on the Isle of Man have come under fire by the Department of Infrastructure, after it was reported that locals found some shop displays unattractive.

Additionally, the spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure, Sarah Corlett, also said she had received letters from residents complaining abut the unsightliness of some older buildings.

Now a shop owner from the Isle of Man has spoken out in agreement with Corlett, as he believes bigger chains have moved to the island and taken over from the small, local business – bringing a “banality” with them when they came.

Charles Faragher, owner of The Port Erin Gaslight and Aerated Waters Company, claimed on IOMToday that although a film crew had visited the island and shown how shops could be transformed to make them more attractive, no-one had taken the initiative to follow through with the advice.

“What was retrained or learned from these experiences? Apparently nothing. Nothing at all,” said Faragher, who also spoke of “a most handsome period window display” that had been taken over by Lloyds Pharmacy. The display now reads, according to Faragher: “‘Elastoplast: buy one get one free’ or some such banality.”

“A total lack of sensitivity is often shown by large retail chains who can afford to occupy prominent and architecturally attractive shop premises in key locations, but who promptly ‘dumb them down’ by a heavy-handed nationwide branding policy.”

However, it seems the myriad derelict buildings and allegedly “unsightly” shop displays are not putting anyone off moving to the island, as BBC News reported yesterday that the population had increased by 12 per cent since 1991, compared to the UK average of five per cent.


Sainsbury’s open first takeaway cafe

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s have opened their first takeaway café.

The outlet which is in Central London, could be the first of hundred around the country. The café is branded as The Fresh Kitchen, the Daily Mail reports and offers customers sandwiches, snacks and hot food including bacon rolls, lasagne, soup and curries. Preparations for the stores opening were carried out in secrets, the store’s windows and shop signs were kept covered until the last moment.

Jim Winship director of the British Sandwich Association said retailers like Boots, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s already controlled 17 per cent of the lunchtime snack market, though it would appear the supermarket giant is trying to take an even bigger slice of the UK’s massive sandwich market.

“There is a threat here to individual sandwich bars. It’s inevitable. So much of the sandwich sector is about speed of delivery and the supermarkets are experts in that field,” he said.

One source said: “The products and atmosphere are very similar to existing sandwich stores such as Pret a Manger. Not surprisingly that does not include the prices, which have been pitched lower.”

One shopper welcomed the arrival of the store. Cecylia Matyasik 24, paid less than £2 for a salmon and egg sandwich and said she would go back there.

“I like it. The staff were nice and it’s really cheap,” she said.

Shoplifiting costs British economy £400,000 each day

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Thieves who shoplift regularly are costing the British economy approximately £137 million each year, according to BBC News.

The figure, calculated by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), showed that shoplifters typically steal around £400,000 worth of goods daily. TVs, clothes and computer games proved to be the most popular loot, which are often used as the focal point of shop displays.

Compared to 2009′s figures of £99 million, the figures compiled from 2010 show a £38 million increase – despite an 11 per cent drop in crime for each 100 shops.

“Retailers have invested a lot in cutting down on shoplifting, so many of the more opportunistic thefts, often of low value, have dropped,” claims a BRC representative, Richard Dodd, in The Telegraph; “However, shops are still pretty to gangs of criminals, who are getting more organised.”

Unfortunately, experts believe retailers are not receiving enough support, either financially or in terms of preventing petty crime taking over their businesses. Worryingly, in addition to shoplifting, the BRC’s research also found 18,000 retail staff suffer from verbal or physical attacks each year.

The director of the BRC, Stephen Robertson, said: “With police resources under pressure, retailers are making a £210 million a year investment in crime prevention.”

“[This] has deterred a lot of opportunist thefts. It’s encouraging to see this having a positive impact of the number of shoplifting offences, but the cost to retailers still went up. With proper support from the courts, police and politicians the fall in crime figures can, and should, be accompanied by the fall in costs that retailers and their customers deserve.”



John Lewis Norwich store to have overhaul

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Retailer John Lewis have announced a £7m overhaul of their Norwich store.

The refurbishment is expected to start in the summer and will be completed by late October. The redevelopment will see a new concept for the women’s fashion and accessories department, a larger beauty department, a new floor for menswear and a new customer collection point.

The store’s layout will also be changed to allow more space for display units and it is understood that several departments will be relocated. The store’s redevelopment forms part of the retailer’s growth strategy, which will see a number of stores benefit from investment aimed to improve customers’ shopping experience and support online sales. The company aims to be able to display more than 350,000 products in its home, fashion and electrical range.

The announcement about the store’s refurbishment comes shortly after the retailer revealed buoyant Christmas trading. In the five weeks up to January 1 they made sales of £545m, up 8.9 per cent over the previous year. The Norwich store saw a 6.9 per cent increase in its December sales.

Robert Hallam managing director of John Lewis Norwich told Norwich Evening News 24: “Partners are very excited about this project as it really endorses the importance John Lewis puts on Norwich. We are committed to the long term future of John Lewis as Norwich’s largest department store and we look forward to introducing a new look shop and new brands that will not only inspire and delight but will also add to our customers’ shopping experience with us.”

Retailers still have a couple more weeks for VAT price changeover

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

The VAT rate jumped from 17.5 per cent to 20 at the start of last week, but many smaller retailers haven’t changed their price tags yet.

That’s because shops are given 28 days to do so whenever the VAT changes, meaning there’s still a couple more weeks until retailers need to get their point of sale displays and price tickets up-to-date.

As reported by Wallet Pop, this little-known rule could result in queues of unhappy shoppers refusing to pay the higher price, waiting to argue with sales assistants.

It’s a problem that many retailers face, as they don’t have the people power of larger stores so they can’t change all prices in one swoop.

“Unfortunately, for the vast majority of our members, they will be forced to change the price at the point of sale over the next few days,” explained Andrew Cave from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). “Many small businesses have had a bad 2010 and they are unlikely to have the margins to absorb the latest VAT rise.”

The VAT change presents an opportunity for retailers to increase prices, which is something consultancy KPMG discovered. They found that nearly 60 per cent of retailers will put prices up by between five and eight per cent, disguising the increase as part of the VAT hike.

Retailers must keep shop displays fresh in 2011, expert says

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Retailers must keep their shop displays fresh and update them regularly, as consumers are less attracted to displays that never change, research has shown.

It was found that a high volume of British consumers will not re-visit a shop if the display remains the same as it was on their previous visit, meaning retailers may be missing out on crucial repeat business.

Expert Steve Whittle – who led the study - has spoken out about the results on PRNewsFire, claiming: “Many retailers are still only changing their window displays with the four seasons, and have failed to understand the customer demand for fresh products all year round.”

“We found that retailers that alter their shop window displays more than then times per year have up to a 75 per cent higher rate of return customers than those that stick to the seasonal pattern of four changes each year.”

However Whittle is quick to say that retailers should not panic or be overwhelmed by what they think this will cost. “We are not suggesting that retailers should have a new display designed each week – even a few small changes to the display can make all the difference. A fashion retailer, for example, could simply change the style of clothes, the type of shelves, or use a different mannequin.”

“These simple and low-cost actions could improve the appeal to passing customers who get to see more choice and are therefore more likely to enter the store.”

Additionally, AllBusiness claims that the best way to compete in 2011 through a shop display is to remember that less is more, good lighting can hide a thousand sins, and stacked merchandise should be the main focal point of a window.

Window shopping could become virtual

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Shoppers could soon find the term window shopping has a whole new meaning, with the development of technologically advanced shop windows.

Virtual windows could soon become part of the standard shop display and would allow passing shoppers to browse through products and prices, using a virtual screen whilst outside the store. Some windows will even have the facility to allow shoppers to purchase a product in-store after the shop closes.

The system works by using cameras which will be located at the entrance of each store, they will record the 3D positions of people’s eyes, hands and face using the information to convert them into commands for selecting products. Of the four cameras used alongside the programmed shop window, two of them will face the customers face and eyes, while the other two record the motion of their hands.

The interactive shop window has the ability to identify how many people are in front of the shop window and will also be able to make product suggestions to potential shoppers, using basic data on what products passing people may be interested in. Shoppers will be able to use the window to find product information such as price and material.

The 3D system has been created by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications in Germany. Paul Chojecki a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications told Retail Digital: “Interactive shopping has been standard operating procedure in the Web for a long time. Now we’re putting this technology into pedestrian passageways and shopping centres with the entire unit behind the window.”