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This week’s top retail stories - 24th September 2010

by James Callander August 31, 2011

Marketing Week

B&Q elevates marketing to the board

B&Q has appointed top Asda Marketer Katherine Paterson as Marketing Director; a position that is also to join the board for the first time since 2008. According to UK CEO, Euan Sutherland, Katherine joins B&A at an exciting time when the “strategy is all about making it easier for customers”. Marketing will clearly play an important role in this development.

Women head to the web for brand connection

Recent research by Yahoo! shows that women are increasingly looking to the web as their main means of connecting with brands. More than 3000 women interviewed said they found it the best way of interacting with their top brands, while 54% said that it was their main channel for interacting with the world. With 61% of women choosing to shop online, 63% using the web to get affordable food information and 42% saying that they use the web to find jobs or career advice, it’s clear that women of all ages are increasingly reliant on the web at all levels.

Debenhams features real women

Debenhams is launching a new ad campaign featuring older women as part of its push to ensure its advertising correctly reflects the diversity of its shoppers. The new campaign follows Debenhams’ decision to ban airbrushing in all advertising material. The ads will feature women in their 40s, 50s and 60s and will appear in-store, online and in print. Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and diversity campaigner, says the advertising is “a business savvy move” and shows Debenhams as really “ready to change things”.

Retail Week

Blockbuster to sell electricals

Blockbuster UK is to start selling mobile phones, iPods and TV sets alongside the selling and renting of DVDs and games. This month the retailer trialed selling TVs in 10 UK stores, and will expand it to a further 25 branches soon.  The retailer is also in discussions with mobile phone companies about selling phones in stores from next year. The new look electronics stores will be based on a model used by Xtra-vision, a former Irish subsidiary of Blockbuster UK, which it sold last year.

Debenhams uses older models to target ‘forgotten women’

Department store Debenhams is featuring older models in its new ad campaign which the retailer claims is an industry first. The models, in their 40s, 50s and 60s, are being used to target what the retailer called “forgotten women”, who Debenhams said are “neglected in terms of fashion advice and styling tips” even though they are “the ones with the fuller purses”. The campaign, which will run in stores and online, highlights three looks; Power Dress, All Woman and Casual Cool. Shop windows will convey each look along with tips from fashion commentator Caryn Franklin.

Asda purchase of Netto cleared by OFT

Asda has been given the green light to acquire Netto after the Office of Fair Trading cleared its takeover of the discount grocer. The stores will trade under the new Asda Supermarket fascia. However Asda must sell 47 out of the 195 Netto stores, a number at the high end of Asda’s expectations. The retailer said it “can meet these obligations” and “expects to complete the conversion of the Netto stores by late summer 2011 as planned”. The Walmart-owned group said that it will expand its network of 26 smaller stores to more than 170 in next year.

The Grocer

Sainsbury’s revamps Taste the Difference premium line

Sainsbury’s has re-launched its Taste the Difference premium own-label range including a range of more than 1,000 products includes hundreds of new or improved lines, as well as revamped packaging. Products added to the range include 26 new beers, wines and spirits; apple and blackcurrant crumble mini cakes; spicy pear and apple chutney; and ultimate smoked back bacon. A new Taste the Difference Bistro range has also been introduced, offering desserts made using premium ingredients such as Cornish camembert; lamb shanks with red wine jus; and pork belly with vintage cider. The re-launch will be supported by a new advertising push, including a new Jamie Oliver TV ad that breaks tonight.

Clarke to take Tesco online in China

Philip Clarke, who will take over as chief executive in March, told the Financial Times he wanted to expand the supermarket’s online offer around the world. The push will begin in Poland next year, following by online debuts moves in Shanghai and the Czech Republic. Higginson, Tesco’s head of retailing services, is to spearhead the initiative. The news comes with UK’s largest supermarket in the frame to snap up a raft of Carrefour stores in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Asda overhauls own-label in bid to up quality

Asda has unveiled a sweeping overhaul of its own-label range and pledged to “drive as hard on quality as it does on price”. The supermarket is launching 500 new own-label products and has reformulated another thousand in what it called “the single largest own-label re-launch in UK retailing history”. The revamp sees its standard own-label range brought under a new banner, ‘Chosen By You’. The Smart Price value range and Extra Special premium tier are unaffected by the change. Hailing “the most significant food development at Asda”, the supermarket said 40,000 consumers had taken part in nine months of quality tests around the UK to improve the standard range. The move comes after Andy Clarke last month said the supermarket had not focused enough on the quality of its food.

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