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UK online shopping behaviour revealed

Online behaviour in the UK has greatly changed with over 90 percent of households now having internet access. This is an increase from 89 percent last year and 57 percent in 2006, according to the Office of National Statistics.

When it comes to assessing shopping habits, 77 percent of adults have bought goods or services online, up from 53 percent in 2008.

In terms of fashion, over 56 percent of adults have purchased clothing or sportswear items, making these the most popular online purchases in 2017

UK online shopping behaviour revealed

Shoppers are buying British

In 2017, 93 percent of adults who had bought online in the last 12 months, had done so from online sellers in the UK, while 31 percent had bought from sellers in other EU countries and 31 percent had bought from the rest of the world.

The use of mobile or smartphones to access the internet “on the go” has continued to increase (from 70 percent in 2016 to 73 percent in 2017) meaning shopping habits have changed to embrace m-commerce.

Younger people tend to be more active shopping on the internet than older people, but older people are catching up in their shopping activity.

The largest rise in adults buying online was in those aged 55 to 64 years, where there has been a rise of 30 percentage points since 2008, to 75 percent in 2017. The age group with the smallest rise in online shopping was those aged 25 to 34 years, with growth of 17 percentage points, to 89 percent in 2017.

In terms of shopping frequency, younger adults bought online more often than older adults. While 26 percent of adults aged 25 to 34 years bought online 11 or more times in the last 3 months, only 7 percent of those aged 65 and over also did so. Similarly, 24 percent of adults aged 25 to 34 years bought online 6 to 10 times, compared with 8 percent of those aged 65 and over.

Photo credit: Pexels and ONS shopping frequency, source: Office of National Statistics

Profile: The man behind the digital transition of LVMH and 24Sevres.com

PARIS Ian Rogers, like all Silicon Valley insiders, looks like an eternal teenager. Even when he is wearing a bespoke suit, this Indiana-born native continues to resemble a computer whiz kid, a hip-hop and punk rock aficionado, who travelled long distances to Ann Arbor so he could freely use his skateboard far away from the hostile looks of the people of Gosers, the small industrial town of 20,000 inhabitants where he was born. I was surprised to learn that Ian Rogers is over 40 years old. His tattoos show the smiling face of Sly Stone, the NeXT logo (the computer company founded by Steve Jobs in 1985) and the names of his two daughters. He stands out among the group of top executives of LVHM, and his CV does as well. In 1993, long before iTunes, he founded one of the first online music sites, totally dedicated to the work of the Beastie Boys. At the time, there were very few people who had heard of the “world wide web”.

In the decades that followed Ian Rogers became the oracle of a hesitant music industry with a new model based on "pay-what-you-like". According to him it’s common sense to facilitate access to music ("the fans are ready to pay"), while the big players used evil software and stillbirths to invent sophisticated complications to curb the climb of digital and the decline in physical sales of the Compact Disk. (Do you remember cd’s?). Was he wrong or was he right? There is no denying that the music industry has suffered from this digital transition, but Ian Rogers is convinced that digital, far from killing off music, will ultimately be a creator of value for the industry. "When I was CEO of Topsin (a company that helps artists interact directly with their listeners) the Pixies, for example, used the company's software to collect fans' email addresses, identify them by postcode and organize an entire tour by playing at cities previously overlooked by the promoters. It was a gigantic innovation for the artists," he says.

A positive attitude, a vast experience, the ability to handle contradictions and to understand the friction that comes with revolution: itś understandable that companies like Yahoo, then Beats Music (founded by Dr Dre) then Apple and now LVMH wanted to get hold of this talent. Since October 2015, Ian Rogers is digital chief officer of the powerful French luxury group LVMH. Bernard Arnault, advised by his son Alexandre, took on recruiting Rogers himself. Rogers is now responsible for the digital transition of LVMH’s70 independent brands, each with a strong identity, 6 universes - from fashion to leather goods, to perfumes, jewelry, selective distribution, wines and spirits.

Profile: The man behind the digital transition of LVMH and 24Sevres.com

"At the time of infinite choice, it is the quality of the products that makes all the difference"

One of the first visible results was the launch last June of the platform 24Sevres.com which brings together most of the LVMH group's leading brands as well as iconic department store Le Bon Marché. The platform - led by Eric Goguey - distinguishes itself by editorial quality, merchandising, its exclusive collaborations, and services where video chat and personal shopper intermingle. It’s a flash of brilliance that is only the tip of the iceberg. Ian Rogers is already looking further. He is at the forefront of the transformations that await the profession. During the second edition of the Viva Technology fair held last June at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Centre, Emmanuel Macron listened with obvious pleasure to the explanations of the chief digital officer concerning the various startups that participated in the LVMH Innovation Award. The winner was a deep learning company capable of producing software linking social networks and e-merchants.

This privileged contact with the new guard does not seem to have stunned Ian Rogers too much, nor crumbled his common sense. To define his vision of the future, he also turns to history and the upheavals that have marked the great saga of humanity. "Progress always has two sides. When you are given a brick, you can break windows or build houses. The Internet has brought about a fundamental change in the way we communicate, learn, are entertained and consume. It is a real cultural revolution and this inevitably causes tension". From disorder comes progress? "Today we have unlimited access to knowledge. It has changed our relationship to the world, but it also presents challenges to our political systems. Brexit or the election of Donald Trump, for example, are probably also correlated with the Internet. But on the other hand, we have an ocean of unprecedented and stimulating possibilities open to us, like augmented reality for example; we are only at the very beginning”.

Why did the net take so long to seduce iconic fashion firms? "There was an Internet bubble in the late 1990s, but this was not because the promise of the Internet was false. It lacked two essential bricks for innovation to meet its audience: the smartphone and mobile broadband networks. If we could make a comparison, I would say that we are in a situation of transition, equivalent to that faced by the Lumière brothers: in their time, we knew how to record a sequence of images on tapes of cellulose nitrate, but we didn’t know how to project them onto the big screen. Today we have online commerce, but online luxury commerce does not exist yet, it remains to be invented." Time to abandon the marketing of past times? "We have moved from a world where a small group of people held all the referral power to a much more open world that gives everybody access. I find this very positive because, in an era of infinite choice, it is the quality of the products that makes all the difference". Loud and clear.

Written by Hervé Dewintre for FashionUnited.fr

Photo's: LVMH, Viva Technology dr

H&M Group confirms dates for first Arket openings

Arket, the latest brand from the H&M Group, has confirmed that it will open its first store on London’s Regent Street on August 25, as well as shipping to 18 European markets.

H&M Group confirms dates for first Arket openings

The brand will open within Banana Republic’s former home at 224 Regent Street in London, followed by a second store in Copenhagen on September 1, which is set to be located in one of the city’s historical palatial townhouses, the stores will also include a café based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto.

There will also be Arket openings in Munich, Brussels, and Stockholm in the coming months, as well as a further London store in Covent Garden on Long Acre. In addition, the Arket website will ship to 18 European markets when its goes live on August 25, and customers who sign up to the mailing list will be able to gain access two days in advance on August 23 and shop at a reduced rate for a limited time.

H&M Group confirms dates for first Arket openings

Arket is being billed as a “modern-day market” offering essential products for men, women, children and the home. H&M states: “Its mission is to democratise quality through widely accessible, well-made, durable products designed to be used and loved for a long time. The collections are composed of Arket’s own products alongside a selection of the best examples from other brands.”

Commenting on the opening, managing director Lars Axelsson, added: “We’re very excited to launch on the 25th [August] and reveal Arket to the public. We’ve been working towards this day for over two years, and look forward to finally meeting our first customers in London as well as throughout Europe online.”

H&M Group confirms dates for first Arket openings

First look at Arket, the new brand from H&M Group

There is a lot of anticipation for the launch and Arket has released a small selection of images from the launch collection featuring minimalistic and timeless wardrobe essentials for women such as cotton stripe shirts, organic cotton T-shirts, satin pinafores, classic trench coats, fine knits, floral dresses, tailored denim, cashmere twinsets, as well as accessories featuring sleek lines.

Other items revealed includes travel luggage designed as carry-ons for weekend or business trips, sleek outerwear for men, and porcelain kitchen items for the home. While the kidswear they say has been “designed and made to be played in, and then handed down when outgrown” with piece identifying garment specific functions and attributes including wicking, welded seams, durable, and taped seams. The first image showcases girls wearing bright pink and red knits.

H&M Group confirms dates for first Arket openings

Prices have been quoted as ranging from around 30-100 pounds, slightly higher than H&M, to reflect the brands aesthetic to make “well-made, durable” pieces.

Further details have also been revealed about the Arket café, which will be based on the New Nordic Food Manifesto, featuring a vegetarian menu that has been developed to “express the freshness and simplicity naturally associated with our region, and blends traditional Scandinavian flavours with modern and global influences” the brand states on its Instagram. The café will also reflect the changing seasons “through ingredients that distinguish the climate and landscapes of each local region” it added.

Arket opens its debut store in London on August 25.

Images: courtesy of Arket

Marks and Spencer among first to sign up for Southbank Place

London’s Southbank Place, the new mixed residential and commercial development near Waterloo Station, has unveiled its first wave of retailers, with Marks and Spencer set to be an anchor tenant.

Marks and Spencer has signed up for a 10,000 square foot store and will sit alongside Boots, Gail’s Bakery and real estate agency Knight Frank. Together, the four business will take up 18,800 square foot of retail space at Southbank Place.

Once completed, the development on London’s South Bank will span 5.25 acres and will provide 48,000 square foot of shops, restaurants, and bars to cater for the estimated 22 million visitors that the area attracts each year.

Stuart Fyfe, head of retail leasing at Canary Wharf Group, said: “There has been a lot of interest in the retail and commercial space at Southbank Place and we couldn’t be happier to be unveiling this exciting collection of new tenants so early into the construction process.

“The new retail outlets are the perfect fit for what we’re looking to deliver, offering fantastic onsite amenities for the thousands of people that will live, work and visit in the years to come.”

Southbank Place is being developed by Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Canary Wharf Group plc and Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, and features a direct entrance to London Waterloo Station.

Image: courtesy of Southbank Place

The volume of smartphone searches for UK retail items has increased by 26 percent in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium-Google Online Retail Monitor.

Across all devices UK search volumes maintained year-on-year growth of 7 percent in the period.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The growth of UK retail searches online in the second quarter of 2017 remains unchanged on the previous year, although smartphones are increasingly becoming the dominant device for online browsing and therefore the main contributor to this growth.

“The increase in mobile search volumes over this period is consistent with the upward trend in online non-food sales growth.”

Beauty was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices, reporting growth of 42 percent in the second quarter of 2017, while apparel remained a popular sector for international shoppers, increasing 38 percent, compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Dickinson added: "At home, the top trending searches by UK consumers were prompted by seasonal events and occasions. Beauty brands, in particular, continue to attract interest from overseas as well as UK consumers, which put the category firmly at the top of the growth rankings.

“It would appear that this could have translated to some extent into product sales, as health and beauty products ranked second highest in online sector performance over the three-month period.”

Estonia continued to demonstrate the strongest appetite for UK retailers, reporting a 77 percent growth on mobile devices in the period compared with the same quarter in 2016.

Martijn Bertisen, retail director at Google added: “An unseasonably warm second quarter saw consumers increasingly searching from their smartphones whilst out and about. Retail-related smartphone searches in the UK grew 19 percent YoY. Overseas shoppers - from within the EU and beyond - continue to show increasing interest UK brands. In particular beauty and fashion brands are benefiting from an increase in consumer interest.

“As consumer shopping journeys increasingly involve multiple touchpoints across digital and non-digital channels, we have seen UK retailers respond by protecting always-on presence across digital channels, and seriously invest in omnichannel measurement.”

Luxury conglomerate Kering, parent company to brands including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, is partnering with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba to combat the sale of fake goods on the platform.

As part of the deal, Kering has agreed to withdraw its lawsuit against Alibaba and affiliate Alipay, which was filed in the US district court in New York in 2015, and instead agreed to work with the Chinese e-commerce platform to safeguard intellectual property rights and fight counterfeiting.

“The new partnership represents a milestone in both parties’ investment and efforts to protect brands’ intellectual property rights,” said the two companies in a joint statement. “The companies have established a joint task force with the purpose of collaborating fully, exchanging useful information, and working closely with law enforcement bodies to take appropriate action against infringers of Kering’s brands identified with Alibaba’s advanced technology capabilities.

Alibaba has long faced accusations that its platform doesn’t do enough to combat the sale of fake goods and it has been working hard to change those perceptions, including forming an anti-counterfeiting alliance with Louis Vuitton earlier this year. The partnership also with brands including Samsung and Swarovski was to use 'big data' and the latest technologies in anti-counterfeiting in its global fight against copies and fakes.

UK fashion retailers suffer 8-year low in July

UK fashion retailers suffered an eight year low in July as consumers think twice about spending on non-essential items.

According to accountancy firm BDO's monthly High Street Tracker, sales of fashion saw its worst comparable month since 2009. The company cited wetter weather and an exodus for school holidays at the end of the month affect footfall, with less shoppers frequenting stores.

While homeware performed well, as did lifestyle brands, it was a tough month for fashion, taking total in-store stales into the negative, down -3.5 percent from a base of -1 percent for the same month last year. It's worst July for eight years, it was also the second worst result for the year to date.

In a month associated with discounting, retailers will be concerned that like-for-likes were negative in every week of July.

From the positive result seen in June, the deterioration of the weather hit footfall and fashion sales hard, particularly towards the end of the month.

Photo credit: BDO High Street Tracker graph, source BDO website

Asics opens largest flagship store in London

Sportswear giant Asics has opened its largest flagship store in London on Regent Street, with all of its four sister brands under one roof.

That roof houses a 840 square meter space dedicated to all things sport and fitness, showcasing Asics, Asics Tiger, Onitsuka Tiger and Haglofs brands.

Alistair Cameron, chief executive of Asics EMEA, stated: “Our world is changing rapidly and our business is growing alongside this to become a leader in creating valued consumer connections. This store represents a statement that we are one brand that can deliver products for an active lifestyle and through our digital communities, apps and consumer interaction we will also inspire people to move, and enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise.”

Asics opens largest flagship store in London

Asics plans to grow its EMEA retail base from 26 stores to 140 over the next three years. Scott Wakefield, direct to consumer director Asics EMEA, stated: “Our new Regent Street store is a beacon for the Asics DNA. Through the innovative retail space consumers can physically interact with the brand witnessing the technology, breadth of product and ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’ philosophy. We will take all of the positive elements of this state-of-the-art offering and translate it through further store openings across the globe, as well as, our shop-in-shop and e-commerce platforms. Direct to consumer represents a strong part of the ASICS future and this is just the start.”

Asics is hoping to appeal to a broader audience with the launch of its largest flagship store and experiential events. It's new global brand message, 'I move me', has at its core that moving changes people for the better, and we ourselves are the reason we hold back.

As part of its experiential events in-store, Asics launched "Run the tube", which allows visitors to move through an LED tunnel with a multi-sensory experience of lights and sound.

Photo credit: Asics, I Move Me Campaign; source: Campaign Live and Retail Bulletin websites

Uniqlo to sell clothes via vending machines

The brick-and-mortar market is tough, but Uniqlo is still finding ways to grow their business. The fast-fashion retailer may have just found the answer to their problems through vending machines.

Uniqlo will be rolling out 10 vending machines over the next two months at airports and malls in several major U.S. cities including New York and Houston.

The first Uniqlo To Go machine went live today in Oakland, California at the Oakland International Airport.

Uniqlo to adopt vending machine strategy for business growth

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the six-feet-high vending machines will carry an assortment of mostly heat-retaining shirts and lightweight down jackets, and items will be dispensed in boxes and cans. Customers can return them at a store or by mail.

Uniqlo originally had a very ambitious retail expansion plan several years ago that involved an having 200 brick-and-mortar stores by 2021, but as they had trouble gaining popularity in other markets outside of the U.S. and Japan, as well as competing with other fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Zara, they dialed back on big expansion plans.

Their new strategy, aside from these vending machines, is to focus on pop-up stores and flagship presence.

Currently, Uniqlo ranks as the world's third largest retailer behind both Zara and H&M.

Photo: via Uniqlo.com

First Look: new Liberty London Menswear department

Luxury department store Liberty has relaunched the menswear department, on the Lower Ground floor, introducing more than 20 new ready to wear and accessories brands.

The new retail environment is modelled on a 'eclectic home', with rooms centred around fireplaces and decorated with art and objet. The space also includes over sixty vintage rugs sourced from around the world by Bruce Lepere.

The shoe department in The East Wing includes charred timber panels, tapestries and printed drapes, with product displayed on green glass circular tables.

A first look:

First Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear departmentFirst Look: new Liberty London Menswear department

In a newly extended space, customers can enjoy a new grooming service provided by award winning barbers, ‘Ruffians.'

It is the first time in 10 years the department has been revamped.

Photo credits: Liberty London.