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Missguided wins Digital Business of the Year award

Fast-fashion retailer Missguided has been named as the Digital Business of the Year at the 2017 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards held earlier this week.

The accolade recognises those best optimising all aspects of e-commerce to achieve growth and strong financial performance through exceptional customer experience, with the judges stating that Missguided success has been built on a “deep understand of their customers and relentless innovation on their behalf”.

Judges added: “With millions of followers across social media and a recent move in to physical retail, they are a truly inspirational British digital business."

Missguided was founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi as an online fashion retailer aimed at women aged 16-35. In 2016, the brand opened its first flagship store in London, followed up with a second in Kent this summer.

Missguided wins Digital Business of the Year award

Rachael Dennis, brand marketing Manager at Missguided said: ”We're delighted to have won the Amazon Digital Business of the Year award. 2017 has been a great year for the brand with the launch of our second retail store at Bluewater, Kent and the launch of our global campaign with model Jourdan Dunn. The teams have done (and continue to do) an amazing job and this award is testament to that.”

Simon Donegan, head of seller services at Amazon UK, which sponsored the award added: "It's great to see digital technology enabling growing businesses like the team at Misguided to raise the bar when it comes to customer satisfaction.

"Misguided are a fantastic example of how digital businesses are boosting the overall economy, creating high-quality jobs up and down the UK - we're delighted to congratulate them on their success.”

The annual National Business Awards recognises and rewards excellence across all sectors in the UK in 16 categories including small to medium-sized business of the year, innovation and customer focus.

Images: Missguided Facebook

Denham launches exclusive Jason Denham Collection

British designer Jason Denham has launched a new, exclusive collection of iconic denim pieces and every day ‘wardrobe essentials’ for men and women in honor of the 10 year anniversary his denim label Denham.

Entitled the Jason Denham collection, the collection reflects its founder’s passion for well-made, timeless pieces. Crafted from premium materials imported from the UK and Italy, the range includes heritage pieces from Denham which have been updated and give a modern twist. “The Jason Denham Collection is a celebration of iconic styles that can be mixed-and-matched for everyday versatility,” said founder and chief creative director Jason Denham.

A post shared by DENHAM (@denhamthejeanmaker) on

The new collection launch is a way to celebrate how far the brand has come over the past 10 years as well as a way to extend its men's and women's collections. "It’s a bit more of mature of a collection," he explained during a dinner marking the collection’s debut. “To me everything starts with jeans. This collection starts with jeans. What we did here, is find a mill in England, that is making beautiful English selvedge fabric. I thought I got to do a jeans that is made in England, just like me.”

Denham launches exclusive Jason Denham Collection

The collection is built around jeans. The mens line features two selvedge denim styles and the women offered two key denim styles: a girlfriend fit and a skinny fit. In addition to jeans, the collections also feature cashmere pullovers, cashmere and wool blend outerwear as well as t-shirts. Although Denham official 10 year anniversary is in January, its founder wanted to launch the new range in the newly opened Jason Denham store, on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam.

The brand will continue to celebrate it 10 year anniversary throughout 2018 with special collaboration launches as well as exclusive events.

Photos: Denham

UK retailers roll out Black Friday deals despite lack of optimism

London - High street retailers ranging from H&M to House of Fraser to Asos have already begun their Black Friday deals, despite research indicating an overall lack of interest in the day as well as optimism concerning the results of discounting holiday.

Only one out of three (33 percent) retailers believe Black Friday will have a positive effect on their business, while one in five (19 percent) of senior decision makers in retail are optimistic about their business’ prospects on Black Friday this year, according to research carried out by Royal Mail Parcels. This highlights the growing apprehension felt by retailers across the nation concerning the borrowed US shopping holiday, despite previous research indicating shoppers could spend as much as 10.1 billion pounds during this Black Friday season.

UK retailers roll out Black Friday deals despite lack of optimism

UK retailers and brands launch Black Friday deals, despite decreasing attention from consumers

A growing number of retailers are set to participate in Black Friday this year, after giving in to pressure to discount excess stock in the run-up to Christmas, following in the footsteps of department stores and e-tailers who have already begun to offer sales in the run-up to the big day. Debenhams has launched discounts of up to 50 percent on selected product categories act day of the week, running up to November 24 online and in-store, whereas House of Fraser begun an 11 day Black Friday campaign on November 17, with discounts as high as 40 percent offered across a number of its products.

In addition to vowing to price match its competitors' promotions, John Lewis is currently offering up to 30 percent discount on selected womenswear and menswear brands, including Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, and Michael Kors, as well as 20 percent off sportswear brands. High street retailer H&M launched its Black Friday countdown earlier this week, offering different deals on selected denim, knitwear, and accessories, with discounts of up to 40 percent, whereas newly opened Arket has launched colour week, offering customers 25 percent off its signature and core times across all departments according to colour. The discounting begun with Blue Monday on November 20 and is set to end on Black Friday. Other retailers including Diesel, Gant and Sports Direct have also launched campaigns and discounts ahead of Black Friday.

UK retailers roll out Black Friday deals despite lack of optimism

Online retailers have also begun their Black Friday deals ahead of the day. US giant Amazon decided to take things one step further for Black Friday this year and launched a pop-up store in central London on November 21, which will run through to November 24 in addition to usual Black Friday countdown flash sales. Asos was offering up to 60 percent off women’s accessories and shows as well as men’s chinos and jeans earlier this week, whereas Very.co.uk is offering up to 30 percent selected womenswear, sportswear, and shoes, in addition to special deals on electronics.

However, with less than two days to go before the big day, additional research from Retail Economics notes that the novelty of the discounting day is likely wearing off, with only 19 percent of shoppers indicating they plan on taking advantage of the sales this year. Although younger consumers showed more interest in spending on Black Friday in comparison to their peers, overall 62 percent of shoppers expect to spend less this Black Friday than the previous year. “Just under a quarter of consumers suggested that they would spend less during the event because they were losing interest while a further 42 percent thought that retailer’ discounts would be worse than last year,” said Richard Lim, Chief Executive, Retail Economics.

“Fading demand for Black Friday is not necessarily a bad thing for retailers who would rather see incremental spend spread across the whole of the Christmas season than discounted sales pulled forward at the expense of future demand. It also eases pressure on capacity constraints for retailers who have previously struggled with crowded stores, failing websites and poor customer experiences.”

Photos: Courtesy of Gant, Arket and Diesel

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

Luxury fashion label Marni has launched a new retail concept focusing on accessories, to boost its bags, shoes, eyewear and jewellery collections, which currently account for more than 40 percent of its annual turnover.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

To highlight its accessories, Marni has unveil four new retail concepts in Rome, Paris, Madrid and Shanghai within key department stores that focus exclusively on leather goods, eyewear and jewellery, as well as its bags, which have reported an increase in sales of more than 50 percent since 2016.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

In Rome, Marni accessories are located at the ground floor of the just inaugurated La Rinascente Tritone store, while in Paris the concession is within Printemps Louvre, and in Madrid, Marni has opens its accessories area in the El Corte Inglés Castellana. In addition, Marni has opened in the Grand Gateway 66 mall at the centre of the dynamic Xujiahui commercial district in Shanghai.

In Pictures: Marni launches accessories concept

All the concessions reflect the Marni retail concept, which plays around with “linear geometry, sophisticated marble inlaid flooring and witty handling of delicate colours that contrast with bolder hues” said the brand in a press statement.

Images: courtesy of Marni

Salvatore Ferragamo new European website goes live

Luxury brand Salvatore Ferragamo has launched a new flexible and multi-functional website in Europe, following initial testing in the US and Canada.

The new website, which offers quick product viewing and user-friendly navigation, has a focus on product and imagery, and highlights the brand’s penchant for innovation, said the luxury label. It utilises an easy, linear approach across the site that takes visitors to the catwalk to showcase Ferragamo fashion collections including menswear, womenswear, and accessories.

In addition, new, integrated e-commerce and omnichannel functions also give shoppers direct access to boutique products and the chance to order online and collect their purchases at the store of their choice.

Salvatore Ferragamo new European website goes live

The website’s architecture and layout has also specifically been designed to optimise the e-commerce functions for all types of devices, from smartphones to tablets.

“We wanted to combine the contemporary modernity and style of today’s Ferragamo with the brand’s intrinsic legacy,” said Eraldo Poletto, chief executive of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group. “Salvatore Ferragamo is constantly evolving and our web division has managed to capture it and make it even easier to use on the new website, with a clear, elegant and dynamic language that speaks to users with vibrancy and colour.”

The website was initially launched in the US and Canada, and is now being rolled out across Italy and Europe, as well as China. The new makeover will the roll out across the rest of Asia, Australia and Latin American by the end of 2018. When the rollout is complete it will cover 28 countries around the globe, offering Salvatore Ferragamo products in 13 different currencies.

Images: Salvatore Ferragamo website

Lululemon to set up shop at Tunsgate Quarter Guildford

Athletic wear brand Lululemon is set to open a store at Tunsgate Quarter, the new 80,000 square foot retail and restaurant development in Guildford town centre.

The yoga and fitness brand is set to open a 1,815 square foot store which will feature its entire range in addition to offering weekly complimentary yoga and fitnesses classes led by local trainers. Lululemon joins a growing line-up of brands, including Cath Kidston and the White Company, in signing on at the new retail development.

“This latest announcement demonstrates the consistent quality of the exciting line-up we’re creating at Tunsgate Quarter,” said Chris Daly, Senior Leasing Manager at Queensberry, property firm. “Lululemon is very much in line with the unique retail and leisure destination we’re creating in Guildford. The community is at the heart of this scheme and we know Lululemon will appeal to Guildford’s local and wider catchement.”

When complete, the new Tunsgate Quarter will feature 18 stores and 8 restaurants. Property owners Queensberry aim to create an expanded leisure hub, embracing independent retailers adjacent to the scheme, as well as adding a series of new stores to the high street retail choice while offering visitors a spectacular view across Guildford Castle and gardens.

Photos: Courtesy of Queensberry

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Asos expands same-day delivery to Leeds & Manchester

London - Asos has expanded 'Asos Instant', its same-day delivery service to customers in Leeds and Manchester. The move follows on from the successful launch of 'Asos Instant' in London six weeks ago, and comes ahead of Black Friday and the Christmas trading season.

The same-day delivery service is now available to customers in selected Leeds, London and Manchester postcodes on orders placed before 10 am Monday to Friday. The service costs 9.95 pounds, slightly less than the original 12.95 pounds and packages will be delivered by CitySprint's On the dot service between 6 and 10 pm on the same day. Asos aims to roll out the service to additional cities in the new year.

"We’re excited to be extending the reach of Asos Instant to Leeds and Manchester following its successful launch in London. It is illustrative of our commitment to exploring delivery options that provide convenience and choice for ASOS customers," said Matt Rogers, Delivery Solutions and Returns Director, Asos. Asos currently offers a series of UK delivery options, including next day delivery, Click and Collect, one-hour delivery tomes and free returns.

Photos: Asos

Christmas spending to drop for first time in 5 years

While it is still the most profitable time of year for brands and retailers, Christmas sales in 2017 are expected to drop for the first time in five years. A shift in consumers spending habits and rising inflation will mean careful spending this holiday season.

According to the Retail Gazette, new research compiled by HIS Markit for Visa suggests spending on Christmas getaways, clothing and household goods in November and December could dip 0.1 per cent.

The figure is set to increase for high street retailers who will be even more affected, with end of year sales expected to fall by 2.1 per cent, a third consecutive drop.

Online spend is expected to largely offset this drop, rising 3.6 per cent and accounting for a record 40p in every pound spend this Christmas.

“Looking back, consumers were in a sweet spot in 2016 – low inflation and rising wages meant there was a little extra in household budgets to spend on the festive period,” Visa’s chief commercial officer Mark Antipof said.

Online and mobile sales will see a growth this Christmas

“This year has seen a reversal of fortunes – with inflation outpacing wage growth and the recent interest rate rise leaving shoppers with less money in their pockets. Although overall sales are likely to disappoint, we expect some clear winners to emerge. Online and mobile are set to take a record share of Christmas spending.”

The news comes after worrying trading figures on retail spend were released last month, with more than one source reporting record breaking declines, driven by rising inflation and unseasonable weather throughout the month.

UK high street giants Marks & Spencer and Next both posted disappointing results in October, a worrying indication that Christmas will not fare any better.

Photo credit: Marks & Spencer website.

Sweaty Betty's going full speed ahead with their U.S. retail expansion, with their new Aspen store being a key part of their business. The store opens today, and will primarily sell ski apparel.

In 2016, skiwear made up of 35 percent of the brand's sales. “Having skied for more than 30 years, Aspen has always been a dream location of mine for Sweaty Betty,” said Tamara Hill-Norton, founder and creative director of the brand, to WWD. “With some of the best slopes and après ski in the world, it’s the perfect place for our new seasonal shop to open.”

Skiing never looked so chic.

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Price points for the ski line range from 30 dollars for technical ski socks to 730 dollars for an all-in-one ski ensemble. In a climate that is very temperamental for brick-and-mortar, Sweaty Betty has made it a focus with the opening of three physical retail locations. This fall they have opened two other locations including a London flagship and a Manhattan location in TriBeCa. Currently, Sweaty Betty has a total of 62 stores between the U.S. and U.K.

Often referred to as "a pricier Lululemon", Sweaty Betty has been able to find global success thanks to the global athleisure and athletic wear trend. In October, the company reported double digit sales growth, with an increase of 16.3 percent according to Retail Gazette.

Amazon loses its crown as the UK’s favourite retailer

London - Online giant Amazon has lost its crown as the UK’s favourite retailer to none other than M&S Simply Food, according to the annual Retail Proposition Index published by OC&C Strategy Consultants. After surveying 13,000 shoppers in the UK, the study found that quality perception was the single largest driver of change in the Index this year, which is how M&S Simply Food was able to cement its position as the UK’s favourite retailer.

Over the years M&S has been investing in strengthening shoppers’ positive perception of its service and food range, which is particularly important among those over are over 35, who account for 70 percent of the total retail spend. “M&S Simply Food has managed to build on its impressive track record of service and product range. Its rating as the UK’s favourite retailer is the clearest illustration that today’s British consumer demands quality above all else,” commented Matt Coode, Partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants.

Other single category retailers, such as Clarks, Ted Baker and the Body Shop were found to be the most successful in improving customers perceptions of quality, and as a result, have risen in the ranking this year. However, fashion retailer Jack Wills has been highlighted as the largest riser in this year’s Index, jumping from 101st place in 2016 to 18th place in 2017. The high street retailers success story has been attributed to improvements made in customer perceptions of its service, trustworthiness, and quality.

“The research this year reveals that shoppers are increasingly prepared to pay a premium for excellence, so retailers must think carefully about the level of investment in price and promotion versus quality and service to ensure their continued success,” added Coode.

Amazon, which dropped from 1st place in 2016 to 4th place in 2017, remains a clear favourite among millennials, who place greater emphasis on its breadth of product offering, dynamic retail offering and level of trust than those over the age of 35. Research indicates that millennial shoppers place more weight on low prices, ranges which are tailored to them and quality of mobile offer when making their retailer selections.

“The results from this year’s Index should serve as a call to action for the retail industry. Clearly, while the Amazon model has delivered unparalleled success in recent years, it isn’t bulletproof. As shoppers increasingly seek out quality, it presents real opportunities for those retailers that are able to build strong trusted relationships with their target customers and offer the right product and the right level of specialism.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon