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Mango expands 24-hour delivery service in Europe and US

London - Spanish fashion retailer Mango has extended its offering for 24-hour delivery service for online orders to all its markets across Europe and the United States. The move sees Mango continuing to invest in improving its customer shopping experience.

It's 24-hour delivery service, which was previously available in 10 European countries, including Spain, France, and the Netherlands among others, will be extended to 28 European countries and will become available in the United States for the first time. In addition, in the countries where the delivery service was already available, the number of cities in which the service can be used will also be increased to include all provincial capitals and major cities.

By improving its delivery service, which includes the adoption and optimization of operations and logistics procedures, Mango is able to offer online orders and dispatch them from the logistics centre 45 minutes after the customer confirms the order, ensuring the delivery reaches its destination within 24 hours. This new service sits alongside Mango's current services, which includes click & collect services for online orders as well as a network of more than 35,000 convenient collection points throughout Europe.

Photo: Mango

London - The number of shop vacancies continues to increase across the UK as a growing number of retailers prioritize prime retail location. New data indicates that the number of stores which have been empty for more than two years has increased 20 percent, according to commercial property consultancy Colliers International.

The increase in shop vacancies has been linked to UK retailers decision to put "prime" retail locations first, as the rise of online shopping continues to impact their need for additional secondary locations. Research shows that prime shop vacancies are down 0.2 percent, the first nationwide improvement since 2014.

However rent for prime retail locations has increased by 1.8 percent in the year to the end of April, which is the largest increase reported since 2008. "The proportion of the 420 locations we monitor which saw rents fall more than doubled, while the volume of shops that have been vacant for more than a year increased by 20 percent," said Mark Phillipson, Colliers International’s head of UK retail.

"Both these measures had been previously improving during the past two years, and this reverse signals a step-change which is widening the gulf between the best and the rest." Paul Souber, Colliers’ head of central London retail noted that although London remains a powerhouse for shopping and retail, with rents for prime location increasing 3 percent, the market is cooling down.

The consultancy predicts rent prices in London to remain flat over the next year. "The more positive news is that the capital is still creating new flourishing pitches," said Souber. "The shopping offer on Tottenham Court Road is being transformed and we’ve seen top rents on the street increase by 7.5 percent - more than double the London average."

YNAP launches Isabel Marant webshop

London - Parisian fashion brand Isabel Marant has launched its own dedicated webshop today in partnership with Yoox Net-a-Porter Group online flagship stores.

The new e-commerce platform, which was developed to ensure customers have access to the widest range of Isabel Marant products online, features the brand's fall/winter 2017 collections from Isabel Marant, Isabel Marant Etoile, as wells as handbags and accessories lines.

In addition, the web shop also features a special section, named 'la valise d'Isabel' which will feature the designer's point of view on the current collection on a biweekly basis. To mark the worldwide launch of the new platform, Marant is also set to unveil her brand-new packaging, developed with German painter Katrin Bremermann.

The Parisian designer is also set to offer a unique experience to the first 500 customers. The debut 500 shoppers who make a purchase via the webshop are set to receive a special gift. The new website, www.isabelmarant.com is available in 6 languages. includes 9 currencies and offers worldwide shipping to 101 countries around the world.

Founded in 1994, Isabel Marant has developed her eponymous label into a highly successful brand that gained worldwide recognition for her own aesthetic of Parisian cool and irreverent feminity.

The number of purchases made using debit and credit cards has more than doubled in the past 10 years, reveals The UK Cards Association reveals.

Debit and credit cards were used to make 16.4 billion purchases in 2016, up 146 percent from 6.7 billion in 2006. That’s 518 card payments made every second last year by cardholders both in the UK and travelling overseas.

Over the past decade the growth in the number of card transactions has outstripped the rise in the amount spent, as consumers increasingly prefer using cards instead of cash for lower value payments. Last year the average value of a card transaction fell to 43.47 pounds, its lowest level in 15 years.

By the end of 2016, four in 10 (39 percent) card transactions were either online or made using a contactless card, compared to a quarter (24 percent) the previous year.

Graham Peacop, chief executive of The UK Cards Association, said: “Card payments play a central role in our economy, with spending equivalent to a third of the UK’s GDP. As consumers continue to make the switch from cash to contactless and with the rise of the app-economy, we forecast that the number of card payments will grow substantially over the next decade too.”

A total of 709 billion pounds was spent by UK debit and credit card holders both domestically and overseas last year. Debit cards represented 75 percent of this total, amounting to 530 billion pounds, while payment cards were used for three-quarters (77 percent) of all retail spending in the UK last year.

In the next decade, the increasing use of contactless and mobile payments, particularly by younger people, will be a major source of growth for debit card payments, The UK Cards Association states. With the volume of debit card purchases forecast to grow by 57 percent to 18.2 billion in 2026, while credit card transactions are expected to increase to 3.7 billion by 2026.

Jack Wills opens Gatwick Airport store

Fashion and lifestyle brand Jack Wills is continuing its store expansion with the opening of 1,600 square foot unit in Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal.

The airport store will be stocked all-year round with travel-friendly products, including swimwear, shorts and flip-flops, said the retailer. Alongside its menswear and womenswear ranges the shop will also sell a range of accessories such as bags, wallets, belts, hats and sunglasses.

The Jack Wills Sporting Goods range for men and women, which launched in exclusive outlets earlier this year, will also be available in the Gatwick store.

Jack Wills opens Gatwick Airport store

Peter Williams, founder and chief executive of Jack Wills, said: “The Jack Wills brand is as much about lifestyle as it is great product so we are thrilled to be opening a new store in Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Our customers love to travel so opening a store at Gatwick Airport is a natural and obvious fit for us.

“Our airport stores are some of the most important among our portfolio; they allow us to promote the Jack Wills brand abroad to new and relevant audiences. We now ship to 130 countries worldwide due to the popularity of our brand in key tourist locations both in the UK and internationally.”

Images: courtesy of Jack Wills/Gatwick Airport

Contactless spending continues to surge in popularity for UK shoppers with the latest figures revealing that the ‘touch and go’ payment has jumped 34 percent since the start of 2017.

Barclaycard’s quarterly Contactless Spending Index shows that more than half (51 percent) of all transactions up to the eligible spending limit of 30 pounds are now made using contactless.

The news comes as industry body, The UK Cards Association, reveals that credit and debit payments have doubled in the last 10 years, with the increased use of contactless being one of the main drivers of this growth.

While contactless card transactions have been continuing to grow over the past few years, data from the Index shows that mobile payments are now also catching on, with the amount spent by users of Barclaycard’s Android Contactless Mobile app increasing by 90 percent in 2017.

Adam Herson, director at Barclaycard Mobile Payments, said: “Our data shows that growth in contactless spending has been surging for several years, but this latest insight is particularly significant as it shows shoppers now prefer to pay with ‘touch and go’, with more than half of eligible transactions made this way.

“With more innovation in the pipeline and a continued rise in consumer and merchant adoption, 2017 is on track to be another record-breaking year for contactless spending.”

Barclaycard’s data also revealed that shoppers in the Midlands and the north of England are increasing their use of contactless more than anywhere else in the UK, with the biggest jumps in spending seen in Derby up 45 percent, Chester up 44 percent, Newcastle Upon Tyne up 42 percent, Coventry up 42 percent and Stoke on Trent up 41 percent.

In Pictures: AllSaints newest London Store

Fashion label AllSaints has opened its latest London store on Brompton Road. Spanning 3,523 square feet, the two storey store is situated within London stellar shopping district of Knightsbridge.

In Pictures: AllSaints newest London Store

Located at 61 Brompton Road, the new store offers the brand’s menswear and womenswear collections, starting with their SS17 collections as well as “The Capital Collection” handbag line. The new store has been designed to blend seamlessly with the building’s existing architecture and features exposed walls which reveal original brickwork and cast iron structural framework. The raw and industrial finishes haven been designed to contrast with natural oak floors.

In Pictures: AllSaints newest London Store

In addition, the store also includes a “digital pod” which lets customers browse and shop all elements of the collection in an internally-designed location. AllSaints Brompton Road store is the latest store opened as part of the brand’s ongoing global expansion.

In Pictures: AllSaints newest London Store

AllSaints is currently sold in 233 locations in 24 countries, including 85 locations in the UK and 18 locations in Central London. In 2014, AllSaints launched the brand in Asia and continues to grow exponentially in Korea, Taiwan and Japan. However AllSaints largest international market is the Americas, as over 50 percent of the British brand’s revenue stems from outside of the UK thanks to its international success.

In Pictures: AllSaints newest London Store

“As we continue to expand globally, we are extremely excited about our core UK market as we have a fantastic pipeline of new exciting projects ahead in 2017 and 2018 of which Brompton Road is a prime example,” said CEO William Kim.

Photos: Courtesy of AllSaints

Long queues cost British retailers up to 3.4 billion pounds a year, according to new research from Qudini, a London-based SaaS customer experience management platform offering queue management and appointment booking software to retailers.

The research has revealed that retailers lost 10 percent of footfall due to queues and wait time in store, with 26 percent of customers who walk out of stores due to long waiting times and poor customer service will discontinue their purchase completely.

If the average loss of footfall is 10 percent, and the national average spend of a retail customer is 39.72 pounds per visit, then UK retailers in aggregate lose a total of 15 billion pounds in potential sales each year due to walkouts from their stores, states Qudini.

The research also reveals that while some customers might turn to competitor stores or the internet to continue their purchase, on average 26 percent of customers will discontinue their purchase journey entirely, costing the UK economy approximately 3.4 billion pounds in potential revenue.

Commenting on the findings, Imogen Wethered, chief executive of Qudini, said: “With online now allowing consumers to have more choice, convenience and cheaper prices, they have become increasingly impatient and demanding within bricks-and-mortar retail stores.

“They expect retailers to deliver a superior service and in-store experience. Poor customer experience and long waiting times are no longer acceptable. As a result, retailers need to ensure that they are reviewing key customer pain points and integrating the right technologies and solutions.”

Wethered added: “What this shows is that retailers need to shift their focus from being transaction focused to being service based and looking to their stores as experiential hubs. Hopefully, this research will have identified the areas where retailers can make improvements to enhance the customer experience.”

Independent maternity and childrenswear retailer JoJo Maman Bébé has scooped three awards at the 2017 ECMOD Direct Commerce Awards, including the prestious Best Overall Business 2017.

The annual awards that recognise business excellence for organisations engaged in direct to-customer retailing across traditional and newly emerging channels, also named JoJo Maman Bébé the winner of the Annual Sales of 30-50 million pounds B2C and for Outstanding Customer Service.

In addition, fashion and lifestyle brand Joe Browns won the best womenswear and accessories prize, up against The White Company, Weird Fish and Boden, for offering women something different to the high street, as well as customer loyalty and value for money.

There was also a Direct Customer Magazine Reader Award for Brand Alley, while womenswear clothing brand The Fold won the Luxury Brands category, and Weird Fish took the Annual Sales of 5-15 million pounds B2C accolade, the same award they won last year.

New vision for London's Oxford Street unveiled

The New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers in London’s West End has unveiled a new vision for Oxford Street that it believes will allow the district to “realise its full potential” as well as create 27,000 new jobs.

The vision was unveiled in its business study, A Future for the Oxford Street District, and includes recommendations to address the five key challenges: poor air quality; poor road safety; inadequate public realm; shortage of commercial workspace; and evolving retail trends and fierce global competition.

The aim is to develop Oxford Street district into a place that meets all the needs for everyone who lives, works, invests and visits the area, by recommending plans to open new office, retail and leisure space, such as reviewing current planning policy to allow letting to entry-level retailers for short periods of time if a building is vacant, to implement a “pleasant” pedestrian environment, more public amenities such as seating and toilets, as well as to “animate” the area with a calendar of changing events.

In addition, the group also wants to clear routes between Oxford Street and the surrounding neighbourhoods of Mayfair, Marylebone, Fitzrovia, Soho, Bloomsbury, Covent Garden and Hyde Park to “encourage exploration and connections to the wider West End”. It is predicted that 260 million visitors will visit London’s Oxford Street by 2020.

The New West End Company chief executive Jace Tyrrell said: “The West End’s businesses have an aspiration for Oxford Street district to be transformed from a single shopping street into a varied, entertaining and well-connected district. Their vision for the area is that is becomes a vibrant centre for civic life, culture and commerce with the world’s best retail district at its heart.

“Our study brings this to life and makes implementable recommendations for its realisation to ensure that the West End can compete with fierce international competition and leads the way as a global retail and leisure destination.”

The group believes its proposed plans could create 27,000 to 30,000 new jobs in the next 15 years, as well as generate up to 206 million pounds worth of planning contributions for Westminster City Council and the Mayor of London and up to 160 million pounds in additional annual revenue in Business Rates to invest in West End priorities and improvements.

Sue West, director of operations at Selfridges, who is an NWEC board member, added: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine one of the world’s most famous shopping streets as the world of retail continues to evolve.

“We have the opportunity enhance Oxford Street’s standing as an integral part of a global shopping, cultural and commercial centre, restore its position as a focus for experimental design, culture, spectacle and entertainment while at the same time maintaining its historic character, not least it links to its established residential neighbourhoods.”

The report forms the basis of New West End Company’s official response to the consultation launched in April by Westminster City Council and Transport for London on the transformation of Oxford Street.

Image: Illustration of Oxford Street via New West End Company website