It’s a tough old world on the high street, as we’re constantly being told, but there is one strand of retail that does appear to be thriving. The virtual high street, of course. According to February’s e-Retail Sales Index from IMRG and Capgemini, overall spend on the internet in February was 20% up on the same month last year. Indeed, UK online retail sales for January and February alone are worth more than £10 billion. Fashion did even better, with clothing footwear and accessories sales up a staggering 34% year-on-year. Even the Head of Online Selling at John Lewis, Jonathan Brown acknowledged: “Fashion led the way, outperforming 2010 by over 50%.
So is it that easy?
iPad fever abounds in the world of retail right now. And it’s easy to see why, with the world cooing over the introduction of Apple’s newest baby. Best Buy has just announced that they are considering iPads (other devices are available) for their staff to use as sales tools. We’ve got one client about to roll out something similar. Today, a new client has called to ask for advice on using iPads for CRM activities and for business in general.
When is it the right thing to do and when is it pure gimmickry? Will it just give them an image makeover in the eyes of their customers or will it actually contribute to the bottom line?
After yesterday’s controversial declarations from the big banks, today’s bonus news focuses on the John Lewis Partnership, who have announced that they are sharing £200m with their employees after a 20 per cent leap in profits during 2010. Does anyone resent this?
The owners of Primark, Associated British Foods, reported this week in their trading update that despite performing well over Christmas there has been a ‘noticeable slowing down of UK consumer demand’. Their year-on-year revenue has grown by a healthy 11%, but this is probably a result of opening ten new stores in the past year, rather than simply continuing to grow their customer base.