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Tesco pilots Next shop-in-shop

The UK's largest supermarket chain, Tesco, has joined forces with fashion retailer Next as the chain explores different paths to better utilize extra retail space in its stores.

Next opened a 4300 square foot concession stand in Tesco's Extra store at Surrey Quays as a one-off test earlier this week. The trial shop-in-shop features a basic range of both womenswear as well as menswear from Next.

"We want to offer our customers the best possible choice and convenience when they shop with us," said a Tesco spokeswoman on the move. "We have a number of partnerships in stores across the UK, complementing our existing Tesco products and services. We’re pleased to be partnering with Next in our Surrey Quays store and look forward to seeing how customers respond."

Next is the latest retailer to join forces with Tesco and try out a new shop-in-shop model, following in the footsteps of Arcadia, Dixons Carphone and Holland & Barrett, in an attempt to lure more consumers to its stores. The move comes as other rival grocers, such as Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's also trial shop-in-shops.

Photo: Mankind 2k (Own work), CC BY 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

INTERVIEW

Leading Polish retail group LPP is expanding its presence across Europe. Owner of contemporary fashion brands Reserved, which recently opened its first flagship store in London, Cropp, House, Mohito and Sinsay, the company has set its sights on actively developing in Russia in particular. LPP aims to open 50 new stores in Russia in 2018, as it foresees its sales from the country to have increased to 19.5 billion rubles (249 million pounds) over the past year. In order to learn more about LPP expansion plans for Russia and Europe, FashionUnited spoke to Anna Pilyugina, CEO of LPP Russia.

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

FashionUnited: LPP opened one of the largest Reserved stores in Aviapark six months ago in Russia. The new store features a number of new changes to the brand’s retail format, such as a renewed concept. What are the first results from the new store?

Anna: “Reserved in Aviapark has seen remarkably good result since the first days of opening. It has been also the first store to feature Reserved’s new store concept, known as “open to public”, which is very transparent, minimalistic, packed with high-tech tools and much more customer-oriented. Following the opening of the new Reserved store in Aviapark, we have opened stores featuring the new concept in Mega Ekaterinburg, Mega Belaya Dacha, Mega Teply Stan and as well as in other shopping centres in the region. The biggest Reserved store in Russia is located at Galeria Saint-Petersburg, and was named the best-selling store of the LPP group last year.”

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

How has LPP grown in Russia throughout the year? How many stores were opened, or closed during 2017? Did you open store in any new cities?

“As I already mentioned, we opened new stores in several Mega shopping centres in Moscow and Yekaterinburg, and we also had new openings in St. Petersburg, Tyumen, Orel, Samara and Nizhny Novgorod. By the end of 2017, we will open stores in Kursk, Tula, Smolensk and Rostov-on-Don as well. Most of these areas are already known to us, we have been working here for several years. In total, we opened 46 new stores in Russia this year.” “We also closed about 10 stores, most of which featured our old concept with a small retail and did not live up to our expectations. By the end of the year, we will operate about 330 stores in Russia with a total retail area of 190,000 square meters.”

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

In your opinion which of LPP brands is doing the best in Russia and why?

“More than 50 percent of our income from Russia comes from our brand Reserved. The second best-selling brand is Cropp. We started growing in Russia since 2004, and these two brands were the first brands in our portfolio to open stores in the country. They are the most recognizable brands. But this is not the only reason why they have done so well. The fashion industry continues to become more complex and we must meet the expectations of our customers every season. So our success in Russia is the result of all the hard work of LLP employees, who are successfully managing all our brands.”

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

You recently returned from a trip to London. Were you present at the opening of Reserved first flagship store in the UK? How important was this opening to LPP?

“The opening of Reserved’s first store in London was a very important event for our company. Therefore, it was decided to hold a meeting for all directors from all LPP’s markets in London. At the moment there are16 directors who are responsible for the external markets of the LPP group. We shared our results, opinions, experiences and learned something new from our manager in London. He is a very experienced man, who has been working in the fashion sector on Oxford Street for many years.”

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

“This was not our first Reserved store opening in Western Europe. We currently operate 19 stores in Germany, in large cities such as Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Cologne, and Hamburg.”

How is Reserved's children's line performing in Russia? Are there any p lans to expand the range?

"We opened a dedicated Reserved Kids store in a separate location (in Moscow Aviapark and Tyumen City Mall) this year, which has seen remarkable results. That does not mean that we will always open separate stores for the range, but it shows us that Reserved Kids is attractive to our Russian customers. Our brand team who is responsible for Reserved Kids is working on a new collection."

LPP to open 50 new stores in Russia

How does LPP plan on developing further into Russia over the next year?

"We will continue to develop and open new stores for all our brands all across Russia. LPP will open about 50 stores in Russia in 2018. We also plan on accelerating the development of our youngest brand Sinsay, which has shown very promising results following the opening of its first store in Russia. "

Photos: courtesy of LPP
Automated commerce, the retail trend shaping 2018

M-commerce and e-commerce may have surpassed bricks and mortar but they are no longer the new frontier of how consumers will shop in 2018. As shoppers begin to outsource their retail behaviours, automated commerce, better known as a-commerce, is quickly shaping the future of our purchasing journey.

AI and automation as we know it is already happening behind the seasons at world leading retailers like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com, Nike, etc. These businesses are using automated warehouses, drone technology and even AI route planning to shorten the time from customers placing orders to receiving them.

Automated commerce, the retail trend shaping 2018

A-commerce will have a profound effect on consumer behaviour

According to TrendWatching, a-commerce will have a profound impact on the way consumers behave, and what they expect of brands. And in 2018, nowhere is that impact more visible than in the retail industry.

In 2018 'time' is what everyone around the world wish they had more of. Shoppers with more important things to do – which is everybody– will embrace the outsourcing of certain retail experiences to algorithms and smart devices. That means the automation of browsing, negotiating, purchasing, delivery arrangements and more.

A key example is the new fashion website and app Finery, which launched in October of this year. The app aims to solve the age-old problem of having a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. With its patented Wardrobe Operating System, the app allows consumers to outsource much of their fashion retail needs, by using technology to find and upload purchases from the past, present and future and merging them into a fully automated wardrobe in one place.

The app syncs to an email account and automatically adds fashion purchases to a 'wardrobe,' organised by designer, colour and type. Users can also save items to a wishlist and receive notifications such as sales or price changes.

Automated commerce will benefit millions of consumers who are fast expecting online retail to be more automated. What that will mean for the high street boutique in the future is something of a grey area.

What is certain, however, is that consumers will have heightened expectations of convenience when they visit a store's physical location. The pressure will be on the retailer to ensure a true omni-channel experience.

Photo credit: Finery website, article source: Trendwatching, 5 Trends for 2018

Thom Sweeney to open New York store

A little bit of England is coming stateside. British tailoring brand Thom Sweeney will be opening their first New York store in SoHo. The shop will be the brand's first endeavor outside of the U.K. It will offer ready-to-wear styles, and also include the brand's signature bespoke and made-to-measure business.

“It feels like a natural progression to open a space in New York where we have a nice following of around 200 clients [for bespoke and made-to-measure],” said the brand's co-founder Luke Sweeney to Business of Fashion. “Instead of doing trunk shows out of hotel suites, we will create retail space that will hold [bespoke] appointments every 8 weeks.”

Sweeney co-founded the brand with Thom Widdet in 2007. They managed to stand out from the rest of the pack with their Savile Row tailoring thanks to combining lighter fabrics with cropped and shrunken cuts. In 2009, they opened their first store on Weighouse Street, and in 2014 they opened a second store on Bruton Street.

Although the brand prides themselves on Savile Row tailoring techniques, they don't have a location on Savile Row. They also take a strong focus on their ready-to-wear business, which is unusual for most made-to-measure and bespoke businesses. The brand's big break came in 2013 when they were picked up by Mr Porter, helping them grow not only their U.K. business, but their U.S. business as well.

They are using the new SoHo store to further test their market power in the States before they continue with expansion.

Photo: via Thomsweeney.co.uk

In Pictures: Ace & Tate first store in London

Dutch eyewear label Ace & Tate has opened its first bricks and mortar store in the UK. Located in Seven Dials, London, the new 'peep' store will be open for five months and features an in-store optician.

Ace & Tate's 'peep' store will showcase a limited selection of eyewear frames for men and women during its five-month run. The two-story store, situated at 10 Earlham Street, was designed by Ace & Tate's in-house retail team. The store's interior plays with reflection, featuring a system of turning mirrors as well as a neon artwork installation - a connecting detail between all of Ace & Tate's physical stores.

In Pictures: Ace & Tate first store in London

Ace & Tate opens first UK store in Seven Dials, London

The new, pop-up store launch in London comes four years after Ace & Tate first launched online in the UK, as the accessible eyewear continues to expand across Europe. At the moment Ace & Tate counts 20 stores across Europe, with retail units in the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria. Best known for its online services, such as its Home Try-On Kits, which offer customers the chance to order up to 4 frames to try out for 5 days, free of charge, Ace & Tate's physical stores act as an extension of its online store.

In Pictures: Ace & Tate first store in London

Customers are able to have their vision check free of charge via appointment, five days a week at Ace & Tate's new store in Seven Dials, or pick up orders placed online in addition to trying on Ace & Tate's frames in person and placing an order. Eyewear model prices vary from 98 pounds for acetate frames to 148 pounds for titanium frames.

In Pictures: Ace & Tate first store in London

In honor of the new store opening and to celebrate the creative spirit in London, Ace & Tate has agreed to share retail space with a selected number of artists. Photographer Hayley Louisa Brown is the first collaborator and is currently displaying a selection of photos from her latest project, Children of Graceland in store, which was supported by the Ace & Tate Creative Fund.

Read more:

Photos: Courtesy of Ace & Tate

Zalando sets new record for peak orders on Black Friday

German online etailer Zalando reported a new record for orders placed during Black Friday 2017. On November 24 customers placed over one million orders, which rose to over 2,000 orders per minute during peak times, breaking the previous record set in 2016 at 1,500 orders per minute.

Zalando featured around 180,000 products in its Black Friday sales, with black skinny jeans, winter jackets, and logo t-shirts being its best selling items. The sales event attracted over 100,000 new customers, as Zalando ensured its Cyber Week event offered customers a seamless shopping experience.

"The very good performance seen this Black Friday illustrates the strong relationship Zalando has built with its customers," said Delphine Mousseau, Vice Presidents Markets at Zalando in a statement. "This happened over time, through a relentless effort to meet specific local needs in each individual market."

Infographic: Zalando

Barnardo's launches first designer ‘boutique' charity store

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has reopened its store on Marylebone’s George Street as its first designer boutique-style store following a two-week refurbishment.

It is the only Barnardo’s shop in the UK to be fitted out as a showcase for designer clothes, accessories and gold and silver jewellery.

The store design features clean lines, subdued lighting, uncluttered rails, and display cabinets, as well as improved shop windows and special signage to help create a “luxurious feel”, which it hopes will increase its appeal among the top-end boutiques of Marylebone High Street and Marylebone Lane.

Barnardo's launches first designer ‘boutique' charity store

Store manager Eduardo Martins said: “We have a really good understanding of designer labels and what shoppers are looking for. People know that Barnardo’s is a really good cause and when they donate goods to us, they’re confident that we’ll get the best value from reselling each item.

“I became the manager two years ago and since then the team and I have been pushing forward with our vision. I’m so happy that Barnardo’s is backing us with this new format and we’re able to go even further.”

Barnardo's launches first designer ‘boutique' charity store

Roy Clark, Barnardo’s director of retail and trading, added: “Our redesigned Marylebone store is a stunning success that only enhances the retail environment in this luxurious pocket of London, and everyone involved should be very proud.

Barnardo's launches first designer ‘boutique' charity store

“Of course, it’s not just about designer clothes and accessories. Every time someone buys or donates something through a Barnardo’s shop, they’re helping to fund our work in more than 1,000 services throughout the UK, building stronger families, safer childhoods and positive futures for those who urgently need our support.”

Barnardo’s Marylebone store is located at 7 George St, Marylebone in London.

Images: courtesy of Barnardo’s

21.5 million Brits to shop online this Cyber Monday

London - 21.5 million UK shoppers are expected to shop online this Cyber Monday, as the discounting frenzy which officially began in Black Friday continues. Experts indicate that Cyber Monday sales may even surpass Black Friday sales this year, as online retailers offer even deeper discounts and more deals.

Cyber Monday, traditionally seen as a 24 hour-only online flash sale, has evolved over the years and is seen as the last day of the pre-Christmas sale period following Thanksgiving. UK consumers are predicted to have spent 7.8 billion pounds over the four day period, which is a 7 percent increase on the same period last year, according to data from the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) and VoucherCodes.

UK shoppers are expected to have spent 2.6 billion pounds this Black Friday, an 8 percent increase from last year. However, in terms of spend, Cyber Monday has been predicted to be the biggest sales day of the two, with Brits predicted to spend 7 million pounds more on November 27, than on Black Friday itself. An increasing group of retailers, including John Lewis, Asos and Amazon, continued to offer discount on thousands of items as part of the global sales day, as the UK is said to spend more money from Black Friday through to Cyber Monday than any other weekend of the year, according to data from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Photo: Vouchercode.co.uk

Powered by Chinese smartphone users splurging billions on mobile games and online shopping, China's tech giants Tencent and Alibaba are racing up the elite league of the world's most valuable companies. Hong Kong-listed Tencent, famous for its games and WeChat messaging service, became the first Asian firm to break into the $500 billion league last week -- briefly overtaking Facebook as the world's fifth biggest company in terms of market value.

Alibaba is just a few billion shy of joining its Chinese competitor at the top table of public listings -- and is already there when taking into account its private affiliates. While the top five -- Apple, Google's parent company Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook -- thrive across the world, the two Chinese firms have made their fortunes by cornering China's own vast market of 750 million internet users. Tencent and Alibaba do have a major advantage over American rivals because China severely restricts access to its internet, with Facebook and Google kept outside the "Great Firewall". But they have also deftly tapped into smartphone technology to woo China's large, adaptable population. "Chinese consumers' acceptance of new technology is faster than nearly anywhere," said Zhao Chen, a managing partner at the China office of tech accelerator Plug and Play.

"Even my grandpa, who is 88 years old, uses WeChat and WeChat payment." Tencent boasts nearly one billion monthly active users of WeChat, known as a "super app" for its combination of instant messaging, social media, mobile payment options, games and publishing. Half of WeChat users spend more than 90 minutes a day on the app. In smartphone games alone, the company's revenues surged by 84 percent in the third quarter, driven by the success of the "Honour of Kings" title. Alibaba, meanwhile, has dominated the e-commerce market, with Chinese consumers flocking to its shopping platforms to buy everything from laundry detergent to Boeing 747s. The firm created an annual sales promotion held during China's "Singles Day", with consumers spending a record $25 billion on November 11 -- 40 percent up from last year.

Electronic cash

Both companies have benefited from China's rapid smartphone adoption, with cheap phones flooding the market and bringing millions online for the first time. "This is basically a story of the mobile internet," said Shameen Prashantham, an associate professor at China Europe International Business School, of the tech giants' growth. "This country leapfrogged the (personal computer) stage straight onto the smartphone stage." Today, there are more than one billion smartphones running in China, according to iResearch. Both Tencent and Alibaba earn most of their revenue from mobile. They have also developed mobile payment applications -- WePay and Alipay -- that are driving hundreds of millions of Chinese to pay for everything from groceries and eating out to water bills. People simply aim their smartphone cameras at a "QR code", similar to a barcode, and click. For merchants, the transaction fees cost just a fraction of swiping a credit card in most countries, and can be completed on the go. This has also unlocked new business models, like for companies who offer sharing services, which now range from bikes to basketballs.

No ads, no business

Although Alibaba and Tencent have grown in a protected corner of the internet, they have developed unique ways to rake in cash. While Amazon takes a cut from the sale of goods like traditional retail, Alibaba takes a different approach. The company earns most of its money from charging merchants to advertise on its Tmall and Taobao platforms. "If you don't buy ads, you won't have any business," said Liu Song, owner of the Sweet Lisa Flagship Store, which sells women's dresses, rompers, and skirts on Alibaba's Tmall store. Liu frequently buys those keywords on Alibaba's platform, paying anywhere from eight to 18 cents when shoppers click into his online store. Unlike Facebook, Tencent earns most of its money from selling virtual items to its millions of users rather than selling their eyeballs to advertisers. WeChat users pay for emoticons they send to friends; players of its slash-and-burn hit game "Honour of Kings" purchase new outfits for their characters for 30 yuan ($5) up. Recently, Tencent has begun to sell some advertising and analysts believe this could be its next big growth driver. The world beyond China also offers opportunity, though neither Tencent or Alibaba can yet challenge their American rivals on the global stage. Should US tech giants fret? "Not really," investor Zhao said. "But they should be alert that Chinese companies are coming up with new business models that really work." (AFP)

John Lewis invests in two startups from accelerator programme

The John Lewis Partnership has announced a 100,000 pounds investment in two innovative tech startups following success in the retailer's fourth annual accelerator programme, JLAB, the largest retail tech accelerator programme in the UK.

The JLAB scheme is run in partnership with L Marks, which will match the 100,000 pounds investment from John Lewis and Waitrose, bringing the total startup funding to 200,000 pounds.

The two startups are Exaactly, an intelligent addressing system that aims to put an end to failed deliveries, and WeFiFo, known as the AirBnB for the kitchen table it connects home chefs, supper club hosts and professional chefs with paying guests.

Exaactly impressed during the accelerator programme after two successful trials with delivery drivers, fulfilling orders to customers: the first with Waitrose groceries and their own fleet; the second in collaboration with Yodel, fulfilling orders for Waitrose speciality shops. Exaactly are now planning a similar exercise with John Lewis to explore the potential to help guarantee first-time customer delivery success.

Bea Warner, co-founder and chief executive of Exaactly said: “JLAB has given us a peek behind the curtain of two of the country's biggest retailers and an invaluable insight into how they handle delivery.

“The opportunity to run two pilots across the Partnership has equipped us with the product know-how we needed to make that final mile of delivery even more straightforward for consumers and retailers. The investment signifies a big step for our business as we prepare for a full launch to market in early January 2018.”

JLAB accelerator programme chooses two startups for investment

Both startup chosen for investment fought off strong competition from 300 other businesses and involved intensive pitch and demonstration days in front of a senior judging panel made up of industry experts from both John Lewis and Waitrose. Waitrose joined John Lewis for the first time this year, broadening opportunities to the food retail sector. Each startup will receive financial investment to help them grow their businesses.

Paul Coby, chief information officer at the John Lewis Partnership, added: “All our finalists have benefitted greatly from unprecedented access to two of the UK's leading retailers. The wider scope of JLAB this year has allowed us to bring together some of the most exciting emerging technology, not just in retail but across grocery too. It's never been more important for the John Lewis Partnership to nurture innovation both inside and outside our business and we are looking forward to progressing this talent.”

The three other JLAB 2017 finalists were: Mucho, a smart grocery shopping app which provides daily personalised recipes and enables customers to order ingredients when needed. During JLAB, Mucho trialled their Click and Collect solution with Partners at the Waitrose Bressenden Place branch, based on ingredients for recipes curated from their app and personalised to the user.

Journifi, which links online and in-store shopping by providing customers with personalised in-store experiences such as tailored personal shopper sessions based on their online behaviour and tastes. They will continuing to work with the John Lewis Partnership Group Customer Insight team to explore how they can help support the Partnership's customer service proposition.

The final start-up was BB1, a data analytics solution that uses customer behaviour to help businesses optimise their ways of working, monitoring an assortment of variables such as customer footfall. BB1 successfully used their data to model the customer flow dynamics in and around the Waitrose Cambridge branch during the day, how this changes over the course of a year and flows around the city if a competitor opens.

Image: courtesy of JLAB/John Lewis Partnership