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Consumers who eat during a trip to a shopping centre spend 12 percent more per visit, according to findings from Coniq, Europe’s CRM and Loyalty provider.

Research has found that shoppers who take advantage of the food and beverage offerings at shopping centres spend an extra 35 minutes in the centre on top of the time taken to eat, and they also visit 25 percent more stores and spend 12 percent more per visit.

In addition, Coniq adds that food is also a great platform to get to know customers better, as brand engagement with food and beverage brands is particularly high, with 80 percent of customers saying that they would sign up to a loyalty scheme if one was offered by a restaurant that they enjoyed going to.

Ben Chesser chief executive and founder at Coniq added: “By capitalising on food as a key strand of a CRM strategy, malls can understand the demographics of a catchment, the frequency of spend and the relationship between specific brands, using this data to drive spend and strike the right tenant mix.

“Although more and more of our interactions take place digitally today, shopping centres continue to serve as social meccas where people meet. In fact, it seems that the amount of time spent on digital screens might just increase our need for physical interaction.”

The latest data comes from research taken from over 700,000 transactions in 15 centres across nine European countries to highlight the growing importance of lifestyle offerings, such as food, drink and cinemas in shopping centres.

The Crown Estate confirms additional Rushden Lakes phases

The Crown Estate has confirmed the unconditional purchase of three further phases of Rushden lakes from LXB Retail Properties Plc to add an additional 215,000 square foot of space at the retail and leisure destination.

The three additional phases of development will bring the total size of Rushden Lakes to more than 445,000 square foot. LXB is already on site with the future phases, with stores expected to start opening in 2019.

Phase two will see the creation of a new leisure development, offering more than 150,000 square foot of space, and is comprised of 11 restaurants, a 14-screen multiplex cinema from Cineworld, and five leisure units with Rock Up, the climbing and adventure centre, the latest to confirm its space.

In phases three and four an additional 65,000 square foot of retail space will be added across two developments, within which Wren Kitchens has confirmed a new 12,000 square foot store. Additional new stores confirmed for phase one of Rushden Lakes include Jack Wills, Superdry and Card Factory.

Rushden Lakes to grow to more than 445,000 square foot

Once all phases are completed, Rushden Lakes will be home to over 40 retail units, 18 restaurants, five leisure providers, a 14-screen cinema, a boathouse and The Nene Wetlands Visitor Centre, and the total parking provision will increase to more than 1,900 spaces.

Hannah Milne, director of regional retail at The Crown Estate, said: “Rushden Lakes is the first destination of its kind. This innovative new centre has proven incredibly popular with shoppers and we are delighted to be furthering our investment.

“Future phases of Rushden Lakes will continue to transform customer and shopper expectations, and set the standard for other destinations to aspire to.”

The first phase of Rushden Lakes opened late July.

Image: Courtesy of The Crown Estate

Black Friday is expected to contribute towards 20 billion pounds spent online in November, according to e-commerce consultancy Salmon.

The month of November is also expected to be the first 10 million pound mobile month, based on Salmon’s own data from last year and IMRG showing 51 percent of online orders were made through mobile on Black Friday.

However, Salmon’s own data has also shown that cart abandonment between November 1 – 14 has increased by 4 percent, showing an increasing trend in consumers adding to their baskets but waiting instead for the Black Friday sales to purchase. This has led to a drop in conversion rates since November 1 signalling that a higher percent of sessions are not placing orders.

James Webster, head of managed services at Salmon, said: “Retailers should by now have put in place the proper planning, due diligence and system testing on their websites to cope with the Black Friday rush.

“The bargains are no longer confined to just one day though, or even one week necessarily. As companies such as Amazon stretch their deals further back to a fortnight, retailers should be preparing early to create an ongoing experience and grow that invaluable customer base and loyalty, pipping their competitors to the post.”

The e-commerce consultancy are also predicting that Black Friday could soon become a month-long phenomenon that will overtake December as the biggest shopping month of the year, as retailers compete for a slice of the new ‘peak’ trading season.

Unseasonably late winter to hit Black Friday fashion sales

London - Black Friday 2017 shopping frenzy is set to kick off today and although British shoppers are expected to spend 10.1 billion pounds during the week, fashion retailers will have to up-end their sales approaches as a late start to winter weather may impact their sales.

Sales of casual outerwear and accessories, which normally are flying off the shelves during this time of year have stagnated due to the unseasonably warm weather. Which is why more fashion retailers are set to use Black Friday and the holiday shopping period to help clear their inventories for more desired stock.

Fashion retailers, such as Zalando, H&M and Asos have already begun discounting, with the German etailer offering flash sales in its premium, sports, winter and partywear sections in the run-up to Black Friday on November 24. Asos is offering up to 60 percent off of selection jackets, knits and denim while H&M is offering 30 percent off selection basics and denim as well as free delivery.

Sellouts of outerwear items, such as jackets and coats, were down 40 percent in October, despite a 7.6 percent increase in new arrivals year-on-year, according to data from retail analytics company Edited. Although there was an 18.7 percent increase in thicker, warmer coats, like quilted and puffer jackets, discounts and sellout rates are currently lagging behind in comparison to last year. With Black Friday campaign starting on Friday, fashion retailers are expected to drop prices.

For example, there as a 66 percent increase in the number of times coats were mentioned in retailers newsletters in October 2017 compared to 2016. "Retailers couldn’t have anticipated this year’s warmer weather, and therefore stocked according to 2016 sales," commented Katie Smith, senior retail analyst at Edited. "By scrutinizing the data in real-time to understand this discrepancy, retailers can make immediate changes to their strategies during the year’s pinnacle shopping season."

Photo: Zalando

In Pictures: Birkenstock's debut UK flagship store in Covent Garden

London - Footwear label Birkenstock has opened its first company-owned UK flagship store on Neal Street in London's famed Covent Garden.

The debut store opening follows on from pop-up Birkenstock Box concept stores opening in Milan and Berlin this summer, as well as a pop-up in Barneys, New York. Birkenstock's UK flagship store, located in Seven Dials, spans 60 square meters of retail space on the ground floor. The store offers 250 shoe styles for women, men and children, making it the largest in the UK, as well as Birkenstock bags, legwear and accessories.

Birkenstock opens first company-owned flagship store in London

Hover your mouse over the photo below to learn more about Birkenstock's newest store In Pictures: Birkenstock's debut UK flagship store in Covent Garden

"It is an essential part of our global retail ambition to open our own stores in strategic, high traffic locations and vibrant neighbourhoods. London is a key market for Birkenstock and we are thrilled to open our first store in the artistic and historic Covent Garden neighbourhood," said Oliver Reichert, CEO of Birkenstock in a statement. "This London opening follows a few months of ephemeral stores, our Birkenstock Box concept, which allows us to develop a global retail experiment with key partners." In Pictures: Birkenstock's debut UK flagship store in Covent Garden

The store's interior features materials such as leather and cork, key materials for the brand, throughout. Key design elements include an oversized footbed installation which has been sculpted into a concrete and framed in leather. Display units are layered with felt, another main material for Birkenstock, which are held together with brown leather straps.

In Pictures: Birkenstock's debut UK flagship store in Covent Garden

The 243-year old footwear brand aims to continue expanding by engaging directly with consumers through its pop-up and own store openings. The footwear brand has also been entering new product categories, launching its own skincare label and beds earlier this year. Birkenstock has also been investing in its own e-commerce after it stopping selling its footwear via Amazon due to counterfeiting issues.

Photos: Courtesy of Birkenstock

John Lewis accused of plagiarizing its Christmas 2017 ad

London - Consumers across the nation may look forward to John Lewis's Christmas ad each year, and this season 'Moz the Monster', which aired last Friday was no exception. However, John Lewis has now been accused of plagiarism following the debut of the ad, which features a large, fluffy, under-the-bed monster befriending a boy.

Children's author and illustrator Chris Riddell took to social media to highlight the similarities between John Lewis celebrated Christmas advert and his book Mr Underbed. The former children's laureate notes the resemblance between the two monsters, which are both large, furry and bed with large noses. He also points out the opening sequence of the advert, in which a young boy laying in bed is awoken by a snoring monster shaking his mattress before emerging, is very similar to that of his book.

John Lewis accused of plagiarizing its Christmas 2017 ad

"The idea of a monster under the bed is by no means new but the ad does seem to bear a close resemblance to my creation – a big blue unthreatening monster who rocks the bed and snores loudly," said Riddell, who is also a political illustrator for the Observer to the Guardian. "Needless to say, I think Mr Underbed is a lot more appealing than Moz, but of course, I’m biased. I’ll be fascinated to hear John Lewis’ thoughts on the matter."

The Christmas campaign was created by advertising agency Adam&Eve, who have worked together with the department store over the years, creating previous holiday ads such as 'Buster the Boxer', 'Man on the Moon' and 'Monty the Penguin'. The two-minute-long advert was made by Oscar-winning screenwriter Michel Gondry, who directed Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind. It features a cover of the Beatles song Golden Slumbers by Elbow and cost approximately 7 million pounds. John Lewis has responded to the accusations, noting that the story of a monster under the bed is not a new concept. "The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years," said a John Lewis spokeswoman. "Ours is a Christmas story of friendship and fun between Joe and Moz The Monster, in which Joe receives a night light which helps him get a good night’s sleep. The main thrust of our story is utterly different to Chris Riddell’s."

Images: courtesy of John Lewis

Calvin Klein partners with Amazon to launch exclusive holiday store

Calvin Klein and Amazon Fashion are teaming up to launch Calvin Klein X Amazon Fashion holiday retail experience, available for customers to shop now through December 31st. The company said a statement that this experience will include pop-up shops in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as an online brand store on Amazon.com/mycalvins.

”We are proud to collaborate with Amazon Fashion on this exciting retail concept,” said Cheryl Abel-Hodges, Head of Calvin Klein Underwear and President, The Underwear Group of PVH in a statement, adding, “It is our goal to deliver an immersive and content-driven shopping environment to the consumer, and we are thrilled to introduce this experience to Calvin Klein and Amazon shoppers, both online and offline, just in time for the holiday season.”

Calvin Klein partners with Amazon to launch exclusive holiday store

Calvin Klein to launch pop-ups, online store with Amazon

The company added that this first of its kind initiative between Amazon Fashion and Calvin Klein will include exclusive styles available only to Amazon customers at the pop-ups and the online brand store. The pop-ups will be located in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and in the city of Santa Monica in Los Angeles. Each location will sell Calvin Klein underwear products, including men’s and women’s underwear and loungewear offerings, while the online brand store will offer an expanded selection of both Calvin Klein underwear and jeans.

The pop-up shops will allow the customer to make purchases by scanning a bar code in the Amazon App and having their items delivered to their home, or they can even purchase in-store. Fitting rooms will contain AmazonEcho devices, which will allow shoppers to ask Alexa various questions about the Calvin Klein product and experience, control lighting features, and play music of their choice.

“The holiday season is one of the most important shopping times for our customers, and we are delighted to team up with Calvin Klein to provide a fun, interactive experience that connects our customers to product in an engaging way,” added Michelle Rothman, Vice President at Amazon Fashion.

Calvin Klein ties up with Amazon to woo customers

The customization stations at the pop-up stores will also allow shoppers to have their purchased Calvin Klein underwear personalized with special embroidery. Content creation spaces will encourage shoppers to create their own unique, sharable social media clips. Lounge areas will connect shoppers between the bi-coastal shops via video calling on the AmazonEcho Show, allowing them to interact and share content in real time.

The company further stated that throughout the holiday season, the shops will host special events with notable personalities, including supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Klossand comedian and author Lilly Singh.

Picture credit:Calvin Klein

Remus Uomo opens debut store in England

Menswear label Remus Uomo is set to open its debut standalone store in England this Friday.

Located at Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham, the 800 square foot store is set to offer the brand's formal tailoring as well as its casualwear collections for Autumn/Winter 2017. Prices for Remus Uomo are set to range from 45 pounds for a shirt to 359 pounds for a suit. Remus Uomo first store opening in England comes after the menswear specialist opened standalone stores in Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast, Ballymena and Galway.

"This store in Nottingham’s premier retail street will showcase the collection to its fullest potential and demonstrate the distinctly Italian sense of cool which gives Remus Uomo its stylish appeal," said Donald Finlay, Remus Uomo director to Nottingham Post. "The store is carefully designed to match the brand ethos of understated sophistication and we’re excited to be bringing our trademark design-led, quality menswear to the streets of Nottingham."

In honour of the new store opening, which created six new permanent jobs, Remus Uomo has launched an online competition, which will see one winner given a three-piece suit from its AW 17 collection. Remus Uomo was founded in 1991 by Finlay and his brother Richard in Ireland. Over the past 26 years, the menswear brand has grown and is currently available at more than 350 independent retailers and department stores across the UK and Ireland.

Photo: Remus Uomo, Facebook

London's West End prepares for Christmas sales surge

Retailers across the nation may be struggling to attract shoppers during the vital Q4, but London's West End continues to boom, thanks to its unique mixture of stores as the shopping district predicts a positive Christmas trading period.

Sales in West End are expected to increase 1.5 percent to 2.61 billion pounds during the six week Christmas season, as international shoppers are set to take advantage of the weaker pound following the Brexit vote. Retailers located along London's busiest shopping streets are likely to enjoy a Merry Christmas and are predicted to see an average taking of 51.1 million pounds per day, or an expected 5.1 million pounds per hour during the peak holiday season.

West End sales set to grow 1.5 percent to 2.61 billion pounds over Christmas trading period

The Christmas trading season has long remained the cornerstone of the UK retail trade calendar, and the West End is no exception, as this period can account for up to 25 percent of retailers total annual trade. Which is why a number of larger retailers, such as Selfridges, have moved up their plans for the festive season. The iconic department previously made headlines when it opened its dedicated Christmas store in July, 147 days before December 25, as other retailers followed in suit.

"Christmas is not a time for cutting back," said Joe Station, Head of Marker Dynamics at GfK, in the West End Christmas Tracker Report 2017. "It’s the time of year where hearts are stronger than heads. I’m sure we’re about to witness record footfall from both domestic and international shoppers all looking to hit the West End for that Christmas magic. As ever, it will be the stores that can supply the best choice, glitz and glamour that will triumph. The search for a new, different and immersive experience will draw the crowds."

Both international and local shoppers have begun to come to West End in larger numbers, lured in by the weaker pound, a trend which is expected to continue over Christmas. Of the 200 million visitors coming to West End annually, 25 percent are international tourists who spend approximately 3.5 billion pounds every year, according to New West End Company. Sales made by non-European visitors increased by 28 percent between the month of July and August, as Chinese visitors splashed out during their annual Golden Week.

The West End district, which consists of 25 streets including Oxford, Bond and Regent Street, has continued to perform well over the year, despite economic and political uncertainty, with 65 new store opening during 2017, including UK firsts, such as Polish retailer Reserved, Arket and Weekday.

Photo: Uniqlo

La Perla rolls out 'Try & Buy' service

London - Luxury lingerie label La Perla has launched a new service which lets customers try on items at home before committing to buying them.

Online shoppers are now able to try on selected items from La Perla's range before making a final decision on their purchases. Items eligible for this new service feature the 'Try & Buy' button on their product page. Customers are also able to filter all 'Try & Buy' products on all product category pages on La Perla's website.

After placing their order via the new service, shoppers have a trial period of 48 hours to decide if they wish to keep their items or return them, after which La Perla will charge the customer via the method of payment provided.

La Perla's 'Try & Buy' service is currently available to all customers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and the US. The lingerie and ready-to-wear label aims to roll out the service to all 40 markets where it has an online presence in the near future.

Photo: La Perla, website