May: Daily Retail Update

It has been a difficult few weeks for the retail industry with high streets turned into ghost towns due to the closure of non-essential stores as a result of lockdown measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. While the beginning of May sees the UK remain in quarantine, there are some signs of light at the end of the tunnel, with a number of brands beginning to reopen their online operations and Downing Street allowing some non-essential retailers to begin using their stores for click & collect operations.

This month, the UK holds onto hope that lockdown will be lifted and the population can begin to get used to the new normal, while businesses will play an important part of kick-starting the UK economy. But with predictions of an upcoming recession, many companies are likely to struggle in the coming weeks and months.

In this daily update, Essential Retail will summarise the key stories of the day and provide links to further insight and features on topics impacting the retail industry this month.

Friday 29 May 2020

Covid-19: The government has outlined changes to the furlough programme to encourage employers to share the cost of the of the retention scheme. From August, employers will be asked to pay NI and pension contributions. From September, the government will pay 70%, while employees will be asked to pay 10%, and from October employees will be asked to pay 20%, while the government pays 60%, before the scheme is due to close by the end of the month.

The scheme will also become more flexible from 1 July, for instance, businesses could ask employees to work two days a week and pay them for those days, while they remain furloughed for the remainder of the week.

Commenting on the news, Helen Dickinson, chief exec of the BRC, said: "The Government has listened to the industry by bringing forward the ability to furlough part-time workers from July as retailers manage their workforce in the phased return to operations. This is in direct response to the BRC’s ask of HM Treasury. We look forward to having clarity soon on how extremely vulnerable colleagues and those that are shielding or have childcare obligations will be affected in the long term.”

One Stop: The Tesco-owned convenience chain has extended its supply chain partnership with Relex and plans to further integrate its warehouse and retail operations using the Finnish supplier’s technology. This initiative aims to enhance forecasting and automatic replenishment for its 900-plus wholly-owned and franchised locations.

Covid-19: The online mattress retailer, Eve Sleep, has said that sales have been in line with expectations during the four months up to 30 April 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It added its eCommerce model had enabled it to adapt quickly to the crisis, and acknowledged it benefitted from less high street competition during the lockdown.

Economy: Cloud support and cybersecurity will be the jobs in most demand over the next six to 18 months, according to a new survey. CIOs and executives from a wide range of sectors detailed their views on the tech labour market, hiring, corporate investments, and work-from-home practices over the next 6-18 months, as part of the study.

Covid-19: The international arts and crafts platform has reported a significant spike in sales and traffic during the pandemic. The figures suggest either new hobbies were either beginning or reignited in lockdown.

Covid-19: The Direct Selling Association has recorded a significant increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales amongst its members during April. This included The Body Shop’s direct selling division, which had a year-to-year increase in turnover of 65%.

Cybersecurity: The UK eCommerce sector could lose £5.9 billion through severe data breaches each year, according to a new study from cloud solutions company iomart. The figures are based on the average cost and frequency of cyberattacks in the eCommerce sector.

Thursday 28 May 2020

Covid-19: During today’s Downing Street briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that plans set out on Monday to lift the lockdown can proceed because the five key tests the government set out last month are currently being met.

This includes outdoor retailers and car showrooms re-opening from 1 June, and all other non-essential retailers being able to re-open from 15 June. However, Johnson cautioned that the latter is conditional upon the five tests continuing to be met in the coming weeks as well as retailers implementing updated government guidance on social distancing and hygiene standards in shops.

Boohoo: The online fashion house has announced the acquisition of the remaining 34% of shares in its Pretty Little Thing (PLT) subsidiary. The deal sees the group take full control from minority shareholders Umar Kamani and Paul Papworth.

Audi: The motor manufacturer has launched a joint venture (JV) company alongside consulting group Capgemini with the aim of driving digital transformation in the automotive industry. The new XL2 JV will focus on the use of tech titan SAP’s S/4HANA and cloud services in the auto sector.

Adidas: The sportswear brand has partnered with Allbirds to significantly reduce the footwear industry’s carbon footprint. The collaboration aims to find more sustainable methods across the entire manufacturing and supply chain and also targets the development of a sports performance shoe with the lowest carbon footprint ever.

Covid-19: Card payments have increased by three-quarters during the Covid-19 pandemic due to consumer fears over handling cash, new data from PayPoint has found. This crisis has rapidly accelerated a long-term trend towards card payments.

Booksellers Association: The group has announced today it is stepping in to acquire the stock control system from troubled industry wholesaler Bertrams. The move aims to provide a boost to independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland.

Covid-19: Tesco is introducing a 3D imaging system across it stores in Ireland to help it manage customer numbers and queuing. The system will track the numbers entering and leaving stores, and inform customers via a screen when it is safe to enter or they need to wait.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Covid-19: John Lewis has unveiled plans for a phased re-opening of its stores following the announcement that non-essential retail shops in the UK can start opening again from 15 June. Its Poole and Kingston department stores will open on 15 June, followed by 11 others on Thursday 18 June in line with social distancing guidelines.

Covid-19: New data from ChannelAdvisor and research firm Dynata has revealed 42% consumers plan to shop online more frequently even when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have ended. The analysis suggests that there will be a permanent shift to eCommerce as a result of the crisis.

Boohoo: The online fashion house has refuted claims it had overstated cash levels flowing through the business made by British short seller Shadowfall. It has issued a statement following a 12%+ drop in the group’s share price on Tuesday prior to it making a recovery later in the day.

Covid-19: Two separate studies released by Nielsen and Kantar have revealed a huge surge in online grocery shopping during the Covid-19 crisis. Nielsen found that online grocery spend totalled £1.2 billion in the four weeks ending 16 May, and a substantial rise in consumers shopping online for the first time was observed over recent weeks in both sets of data.

Nespresso: Using blockchain technology, Nespresso is making its sustainability data publicly available. It traces the Nestle-owned brand’s AAA Sustainable Quality Programme coffee from farms in Zimbabwe all the way through to the Nespresso production centre in Switzerland.

Google: Nearly half of all eCommerce-related searches on Google never result in consumers clicking through to a retail or other website. This is according to Searchmetrics, which said these findings tie-in with retailers who are not seeing the same volume of traffic from organic searches as before.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Farfetch: The online fashion marketplace is looking to develop more tech expertise as part of its latest 'Plug-in' student and graduate programme, with most of the opportunities for this year’s intake in the field of technology. Those chosen for the scheme are set to be placed in the company’s engineering, data, and product teams based in Portugal.

Covid-19: Deliveroo has initiated a collaboration between legal, property and restaurant industry specialists to help small and independent restaurants survive over the coming months. This follows research it published finding that half of small and independent restaurants will go out of business in one to three months if the current situation continues.

Covid-19: Home and garden items have been the most popular products for lockdown home delivery according to research published by the Royal Mail. It found that 41% of respondents have received a parcel of this nature during the Covid-19 crisis.

Covid-19: Aldi is introducing a traffic light system to control the number of shoppers entering and leaving its UK stores during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, following a successful trial. The automated technology will inform customers of when they can enter stores based on individual customer limits that are in line with two-metre social distancing rules.

Monday 25 May 2020

Covid-19: The government has announced that non-essential retailers will be able to reopen their doors on 15 June. Open air markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen two weeks earlier on 1 June. 

Friday 22 May 2020

Covid-19: UK consumer confidence fell to its joint-lowest level since the global financial crisis in 2009 in early, according to GfK’s index. The market research company said consumers are “battered and bruised” due to a huge increase in unemployment and warnings of a severe recession emanating from the crisis.

Covid-19: LinkedIn has revealed it is observing high demand for retail jobs as a result of Covid-19, with delivery drivers, warehouse operatives and retail assistants currently in the top five most applied for roles in March and April. This reflects new the new job opportunities being created due to the growth in eCommerce during the crisis.

Covid-19: New figures from the ONS have shown that online spending as a proportion of all retail sales reached a record high for the second month running in the UK in April, at 30.7%. However, in the first full month in which non-essential stores were closed as a result of lockdown measures, overall retail sales fell by a record 18.1%.

Covid-19: Luxury fashion brand and retailer Burberry has reported that its annual pre-tax profit fell by 62% year-on-year to £169 million in the year ended 28 March 2020, as Covid-19 held back its global business. This is despite its earlier progress in selling more leather goods and accessories under new creative director Riccardo Tisci.

Covid-19: UK grocer Waitrose has this week started running its 'Wine Tasting At Home' service virtually, in light of the continued social distancing restrictions prompted by Covid-19.

Covid-19: The Royal Mail has found that 45% of UK adults have been receiving more parcel deliveries since Covid-19 lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March, highlighting the surge in online purchasing during the pandemic.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Home Chef: The US-based meal kit and food delivery service has announced it had a data breach after 8 million of its user records were sold by a hacker on a dark web marketplace.  

Ted Baker: The fashion retailer has appointed Anthony Cuthbertson as its global creative director, a newly created role. Cuthbertson will join from Topshop, where he is currently its global design director.

Clarks: The shoe retailer has announced up to 900 job losses as it takes the next steps in its business turnaround plan.

Pets at Home: The pet retailer managed to cross the £1 billion sales line in its FY20 trading which closed at the end of March. But increasing strain from Covid-19 shopping habits is like to impact next year's bottom line. 

Co-op: Co-op has partnered with Buymie to provide same-day home grocery deliveries and full personal shopping services to 200,000 households across Bristol. #

Caffè Nero: The coffee chain has announced a new partnership with food delivery service Uber Eats, which takes the coffee chain into the world of eCommerce for the first time.

Learn how Lush is adapting its operations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Moonpig: The online card company is offering 25,000 free postcards to customers as part of Mental Health Awareness Week. Between 20-24 May, customers can use the code APPFREEPC to order a postcard to send to someone they feel is in need of support. Up to 5,000 cards will be available each day, with Moonpig customers only paying for postage. 

Covid-19: Dixons Carphone has partnered with Age UK to provide 500 free tablets with mobile network connectivity to some of the most vulnerable older people left isolated by the pandemic. The initiative aims to help elderly people connect with friends and family, access important guidance and advice on staying safe and healthy, and keep up to date with current news and information about coronavirus.

Moonpig: The online card retailer is launching a week long awareness campaign from today to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which encourages people to reach out when they are struggling and raise awareness of hidden cues when communicating with friends and family. Moonpig will be offering 25,000 free postcards during the week to encourage people to say the things that matter.

Facebook: The social media giant has announced a significant social commerce play, with the launch of Facebook Shops, Instagram Shop, and a range of live shopping features. Facebook Shops has now launched in the US, allowing businesses to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram.

Covid-19: Asda has revealed it had a huge surge in demand for online deliveries when the Covid-19 crisis struck the UK in mid-March, receiving over 3,500 visits per minute during the week commencing 18 March. It also reported a like-for-like sales increase of 3.5% in the period from 1 January and 31 March 2020.

Majestic Wines: The drinks retailer Majestic Wine has expanded its partnership with food delivery service Deliveroo. An additional 50 Majestic stores are now accessible on the Deliveroo app, bringing the total to 80 across the UK.

Covid-19: M&S has outlined its plans to significantly expand its eCommerce capacity as it seeks to reshape the business in light of Covid-19. The grocer reported a 21.2% decline in profit for the year ended 28 March 2020, results the retailer partly attributes to the Covid-19 crisis.

Covid-19: Westfield has unveiled plans for the re-opening its two shopping centres in London once the UK government gives the green light for non-essential stores to open. This includes the extensive use of technology to help ensure the safety of customers and its 30,000 retail staff.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Covid-19: UK Environment Secretary, George Eustice, has announced the launch of the website 'Launch for Britain', as part of efforts to encourage UK citizens, particularly those currently on furlough, to help pick fruit during this year's harvest. Eustice explained that only around one-third of seasonal workers from abroad are expected to arrive for this work this year due to the Covid-19 crisis. 

Covid-19: Topps Tiles has reported a three-fold increase in online sales during Covid-19, but had a significant overall revenue decline in this period due to its store closures. It also recorded a revenue decline in the 26 weeks up to 28 March 2020.

Dixons Carphone: The Elkjøp-owned business, a subsidiary of UK-based consumer electronics group Dixons Carphone, has completed the roll out of Lexmark’s Publishing Platform for Retail (PPR) to manage content for creating both printed signs and labels. The initiative enables staff to create content and print signs and labels to any laser printer, large format plotters for posters, or small thermal printers.

Covid-19: N Brown, the parent company of JD Williams, Simply Be, and Jacamo, has revealed sales dropped by 25% year-on-year in the last six weeks, during the coronavirus pandemic. However, the homewear brand said its trading had improved from the levels experienced in early March.

Just Eat: The online food delivery company has criticised the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)’s decision to provisionally clear Amazon’s investment into food takeaway platform Deliveroo, arguing the decision was based on “incorrect or misleading data”.

Monday 18 May 2020

Covid-19: Online shopping will be significantly boosted in the long-term as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, new research from GlobalData has shown. The study found that many consumers, including those previously sceptical of eCommerce, will continue avoiding the high street in favour of online shopping even when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Covid-19: Aldi is trialling a rapid online grocery delivery service with Deliveroo in the Midlands. If successful, the service will be rolled out across more of its stores in the UK by the end of 2020. Customers can choose from over 150 Aldi items on the Deliveroo app, with delivery taking as little as 30 minutes.

Ted Baker: The retailer has named David Wolffe as its new CFO, with immediate effect. Wolffe has taken a permanent position on the board having worked at Ted Baker on an interim basis since January.

Covid-19: Digital out of home (DOOH) media owner Ocean Outdoor has announced plans to introduce touchless advertising screens across the UK. Ocean will use Ultraleap’s mid-air haptics technology, meaning its displays and interfaces can be triggered by natural hand interactions.

Covid-19: Apple has announced safety measures it is putting in place for when its stores reopen following lockdown. This includes providing face masks to customers, and it will focus on curb-side product pick-up, and a one-to-one Genius Bar-style service.

Covid-19: The John Lewis partnership will from this week deliver care packages to mental health trusts as the retailer continues efforts to help the health sector during the Covid-19 crisis. Working in partnership with the British Medical Association, the initiative will ensure healthcare staff in this sector have the supplies they need during a long shift.

Friday 15 May 2020

Puma: The global sports brand has announced two new partnerships aimed at boosting its green credentials. The company has teamed up with the BA fashion course at London-based design school Central Saint Martins (CSM) to explore more sustainable technologies for use in textile manufacturing, and it is has worked with digital fashion pioneer The Fabricant to create its latest marketing images.

Boohoo: The online fashion retailer has raised almost £200 million in funding to enable it to quickly take advantage of any merger & acquisition (M&A) opportunities in the global fashion industry over the coming months, amid the uncertainties for many retailers in this sector due to Covid-19.

Lidl: The supermarket chain has installed lockers in 24 of its stores across the UK, allowing customers to pick up and return online orders from and to third parties within its shops, accessing the lockers with a QR-code on their smartphones. This initiative aims to ensure customers maximise their trips to Lidl and reduce the need to make additional journeys.

Covid-19: The Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC) has launched an online map and directory to help keep consumers aware of the independent shops and small businesses that remain open for business during Covid-19 in the UK. Retailers can also use the platform to give customers details of their service during Covid-19, such as whether they are open fully, by appointment only or as an online/delivery only basis.

Thursday 14 May 2020

Covid-19: Sainsbury’s is making its e-bike delivery service outside of London for the first time, across 20 UK cities. This will enable groceries to be delivered within an hour via bike to around 3.2 million households as the supermarket expands its online delivery capacity to cope with increased demand during the Covid-19 crisis.

Covid-19: Data released by the IMRG shows that online retail sales grew by 23.8% year-on-year in April, a 10-year high. It reflects a “seismic shift in purchasing patterns“ with consumers adapting to life under Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Covid-19: Online sales for Watches of Switzerland increased by 45.8% in the six weeks up to 26 April 2020, exceeding expectations. The figures should help the retailer navigate the current crisis, with its UK and US stores closed due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Legislation: The Scottish parliament has voted a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) into law, which aims to boost recycling rates of single-use drinks containers in the country. Coming into force from 1 July 2022, it is expected the legislation will have a significant impact on retailers’ in-store operations and procedures.

Covid-19: WHSmith has recorded a 400% increase in online book sales in the last month, but saw total group revenue decline by 85% year-on-year during April due to Covid-19. This was revealed in an interim results announcement for the six months ending 29 February, which showed its trading profit grew by 11% in that period.

Covid-19: Waterstones has provided details of several digital services it is launching for its staff to support them in lockdown while the business’s stores are temporarily closed due to the coronavirus crisis. This includes its online, on-demand fitness class provider InstructorLive to give its employees free access to a digital workout and nutrition platform announced last month.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Covid-19: Morrisons is introducing Speedy Shopping for customers doing smaller ‘basket’ shops at all of its stores. The initiative will enable these customers to queue for less time outside stores as well as checkout quicker inside.

Covid-19: Wickes has announced that a further 106 stores will reopen from tomorrow following the successful trial opening of six stores that have social distancing measures. The DIY retailer plans to reopen the remaining 108 from 19 May in a phased reopening plan.

T.M Lewin: The menswear retailer has been purchased by private equity firm SCP, it has been reported. T.M Lewin has seen sales drop as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, with its 66 UK stores closed as a result of the lockdown measures.

Covid-19: UK retail sales decreased by 19.1% year on year in April according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. This represents the sharpest monthly drop since the BRC began monitoring sales activity in January 1995.

H&M: The global retail fashion group is set to launch its house of brands online in several new European territories in the coming days, including Croatia, Lithuania and Latvia. Customers in these countries can sign up and subscribe to the brands via their individual websites to receive a welcome offer, the day before the launch.

Covid-19: Decathlon is introducing mobile self-checkout technology across its 81 stores in Germany to allow customers to scan and pay for items via their smartphone, reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission. The move will be watched by non-essential retailers in the UK, with stores potentially able to open from June.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Covid-19: The UK Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has said that consensus has been reached with unions and business regarding guidelines for safe working as employees prepare to return to work in the coming weeks and months. This includes in the retail sector, with non-essential stores potentially able to reopen from 1 June according to the plans set out by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday. During the daily press briefing, Sharma said the guidance outlines practical steps for employers when workplaces reopen, including retail stores, to help keep staff and customers safe, including a Covid-19 risk assessment.

Sharma added that businesses will be asked to contribute towards the government furlough scheme from July, following the earlier announcement by Chancellor Rishi Sunak that the scheme will be extended until October.

Covid-19: Lidl has launched a WhatsApp chatbox to enable customers to know when stores are at their quietest, thereby helping reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection. The initiative is available to customers in Ireland, who simply need to send a message to Lidl via the chatbox about the time and day they intend to shop.

Covid-19: B&Q and Screwfix parent company Kingfisher have reported a fall in sales of 24% in the three months up to 30 April as a result of the decision to close stores for several weeks during Covid-19. The group has begun reopening stores in recent weeks however, and seen sales pick up as a result.

Sainsbury’s: The supermarket has announced the appointment of former Unilever chief marketing and communications officer, Keith Weed, to its board as a non-executive director. Additionally, Tanuj Kapilashrami will be joining from Standard Chartered Bank as another non-executive director.

Covid-19: Dunelm has introduced a contact-free Click & Collect service across its stores in the UK. This includes the option for customers to have their items delivered to their cars in a store carpark if they do not wish to queue.

Covid-19: The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the UK government’s job retention scheme will be extended by a further four months, until the end of October. This will help retailers that continue struggle during the Covid-19 pandemic to be able to retain the jobs of their employees.

Moss Bros: The clothing retailer has announced it is reopening its eCommerce operations following its temporary closure in March due to Covid-19. It has also given a trading update, saying it is confident it has sufficient cash resources to continue trading through the second half of FY21 despite the lockdown.

Covid-19: Barclaycard has reported that consumer spending dropped by 36.5% year-on-year in April, essential spend by 7.5% and non-essential spend by 47.7%. The report shows the impact of continuing social distancing measures as a result of Covid-19.

Covid-19: The founder of online electricals retailer, John Roberts, said that he believes the coronavirus crisis has accelerated five years of online shopping behaviour changes “into only five weeks”.

Morrisons: The grocer said it has increased sales by 5.7% during the 14-week period from 3 February to 10 May. This is partly as a result of its expanded delivery capacity, which has exceeded the 60% increase it had originally planned for.

Monday 11 May 2020

Covid-19: The government is encouraging the public to wear face masks or coverings on public transport and in shops where social distancing would be difficult.

Covid-19: Starbucks is the latest chain to reopen its doors to serve takeaway coffee later this week. A phased approach will see 150 stores reopen at first. 

Covid-19: Following yesterday's lockdown update from the government, the industry has called for clarity on the plan for reopening retail stores. 

Morrisons: The grocer has expanded its partnership with Amazon. Morrisons goods will be available on Amazon Prime across the whole of London by the end of this month. 

FC Barcelona: The football club have launched an eCommerce store as part of wider plans to expand their retail operations.

Covid-19: Coffee chain Pret A Manger is launching its own range of ground coffee and coffee beans as it launches a retail strategic to coincide with the reopening of 70 branches for takeaway only.

Publicis Sapient outlines five things retailers will have to change in the coming weeks as the industry looks to reopen high-street stores. 

Sunday 10 May 2020

Covid-19: Prime Minister Boris Johnson said non-essential retailers could reopen from 1 June if continued social distancing measures ensure infection rates remain low.

Thursday 7 May 2020

Next: The clothing retailer has announced it will be opening a new concept, called The Beauty Hall, in five flagship destinations across the UK. This will enable it to bring its online beauty offering to life in place of the beauty halls in Debenhams’ closed stores in major Hammerson shopping centres.

Covid-19: Superdry has reported a 100% increase in eCommerce sales revenue in the last four weeks during the Covid-19 lockdown. However, it recorded a fall in sales in stores and online in FY20.

Zalando: The eCommerce fashion brand has stated it expects to achieve double-digit growth figures in 2020, following strong revenue growth in Q1 of this year and a strong performance in April despite Covid-19.

Covid-19: Books, stationery and toys retailer The Works has reported a 3.5% year-on-year increase in revenue for the full year to 26 April, with strong results prior to the Covid-19 lockdown. Since, then it says online sales have gone up more than three-times the equivalent period last year.

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Covid-19: The Hut Group (THG) said it is donating 3.5m units of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the health and care system in Greater Manchester. The retailer has sourced more than 25 tonnes of medical-grade PPE through its global supply chain and is airfreighting the goods to the UK.

McColl's: The group has announced Robbie Bell will be stepping down as its chief financial officer to take up an equivalent position at Holland & Barrett. It added that a search for Bell's successor is already underway.

Covid-19: The retail sector has been particularly heavily impacted by cybercriminals seeking to take advantage of the Covid-19 crisis, with proliferation of domain spoofing of major retail brands websites substantially increasing. A report by Mimecast has revealed that the retail sector remained the top attacked industry by cybercriminals in the period 6 January to 12 April.

Wayfair: The online homeware retailer has reported a revenue growth of almost 20% in the first quarter of 2020. It said its services have been used by millions of new customers during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Covid-19: Brompton Bicycle is the latest brand to deploy live video technology to connect customers at home with expert staff in store. By partnering with Go Instore the retailer will be able to use an HD video platform to talk shoppers through products and provide advice to accommodate the ‘bicycle boom’ which has occurred during lockdown

Covid-19: Ocado has reported a 40.4% revenue growth so far in Q2 of 2020. In a trading update, it has also highlighted the ways it has ramped up its delivery capacity, and given an update on its current cash position.

Covid-19: eBay's new CEO commends coronavirus efforts in his first address as boss of the online marketplace.

Regulation: A number of fast-fashion retailers – including Boohoo, I Saw it First, and Miss Pap – have been warned about their online conduct regarding countdown clocks by the advertising standards watchdog.

Covid-19: Halfords has pointed to an increased interest in cycling for boosting full-year sales.

Regulation: The CMA has blocked JD Sports' takeover of Footasylum.

Covid-19: The Card Factory has reported a surge in online sales of 268% while its stores remain closed in lockdown. The retailer has opened a second fulfilment site in Wakefield to deal with the increased online demand. 

Listen to this week's episode of the Retail Ramble podcast to learn how to innovate in times of crisis, with former retail CMO and CEO Ian Shepherd.

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Covid-19: Fashion retailer Reiss has announced new measures to help support the NHS frontline during the Covid-19 crisis. These include donating 10,000 masks to the Guys & St Thomas’s NHS foundation Trust and Barts Health NHS Trust and supporting Emma Willis, founder of the Style for Soldiers charity, in producing over 900 scrubs for surgeons with a fabric donation.

Waitrose: The grocer is opening a new London DC to double delivery capacity in the capital as part of its eCommerce investment as the retail approaches the end of its agreement with Ocado.

Covid-19: An Amazon Web Services VP has quit due to his “dismay” at Amazon firing the whistleblowers who claimed warehouse employees were frightened of contracting Covid-19 during their shifts.

Covid-19: Asos is ramping up its use of AR to provide a simulated view of products during the Covid-19 crisis, while allowing models to adhere to social-distancing restrictions.

Covid-19: Demand for home delivered meal kits sees a surge in sales for Hello Fresh with a 66.4% year-on-year increase in revenue.

Monday 4 May 2020

Covid-19: The Perfume Shop has announced it will continue to use online video technology to communicate with its consumers while its stores remain closed due to Covid-19.

Covid-19: Honest Burgers has created a Citymapper-style platform to pinpoint the most appropriate sites to reopen for its business in the current climate. 

Covid-19: A study by Foolproof suggests that consumers will be far less willing to interact with publicly available technology following the Covid-19 crisis. This means retailers may need to consider increasing investment in contactless technologies in stores to encourage customers to return to the high street.

Covid-19: New research from has explored UK consumer eCommerce activity during Covid-19, revealing that 37% say they are shopping more frequently online than pre-lockdown. This includes 40% of shoppers ordering grocery’s online, and the amount of DIY and home furniture items being ordered up by 34%.

Friday 1 May 2020

Covid-19: Electronics retailer has changed its mind on its decision to scrap TV advertising with a new ad airing on ITV this evening. The advert was created by's internal production team in two weeks, will reassure customers that it continues to deliver electricals safely to every UK postcode during the current coronavirus crisis.

Covid-19: US tech giants and retail players Amazon and Apple both reported a profit decline citing reasons associated with Covid-19.

All the content from the RetailEXPO Virtual Conference, powered by Essential Retail held earlier this week:

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