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This week’s top Retail stories - October 30th 2010

by James Callander August 31, 2011

Retail Week

B&Q and Homebase voted worst online retailers

DIY giants B&Q and Homebase have been voted the worst online retailers in the UK. Both retailers scored two stars out of five on pricing and products in a recent survey by Which?. Both scored lowest from 78 retailers’ sites, with 52% for Homebase and 50% for B&Q. Beauty brand Lizearle.com came out top with 94%. The issues that seem to irk customers the most are delays, over-packaging and inconvenient time slots for delivery.

WHSmith Travel beats high street arm for the first time

According to some analysts, WHSmith could be on track to separate its travel and high street arms as early as this financial year. For the first time in the retailer’s history, its travel business generated more for the full-year bottom line than the high street business. The retailer has plans to open 12 more airport units, 50 hospital stores, 40 workplace stores in the next five years. They have opened 8 high street shops this year.

Asda breaks with tradition to launch Christmas loyalty scheme

Asda is launching a Christmas customer loyalty initiative in an effort to encourage early Christmas spend. The retailer unveiled its ‘A big thank you from Asda’ programme to reward customers with money-off vouchers for a wide variety of best-selling products. Those spending £40 or more will be rewarded with vouchers worth up to £40 in return. With Christmas fast approaching, Asda is hoping to beat off a repeat of last year where competitors Tesco and Sainsbury’s were perceived to have gained ground due to their loyalty schemes.

Marketing Week

Coca-Cola unveils Christmas ad campaigns

Coca-Cola Great Britain is unveiling its Christmas season activity, starting with the return of the traditional ’Holidays Are Coming’ TV commercial on 12 November and ending with a new “Snow Globe” ad. The multi-million pound festive campaign shows how people find happiness through the simple moments of connecting with friends and family, inspired by Coca-Cola  and has been created by McCann Madrid. The ad will run globally from 13 December after a month long trail with the 2010 version of the traditional ’Holidays Are Coming’ TV commercial.

P&G boosts share by increasing marketing spend

Procter & Gamble claims that its strategy of growing market share across all global markets is on track, despite registering a 6.8% decline in net profit. The owner of the Ariel, Gillette and Duracell brands says organic sales grew 4% in the three months to 30 September, driven by “broad-based volume and market share growth.”P&G is pushing to increase market share across the world and has marketed heavily to drive sales and volume increases. In a statement accompanying the results, the company confirmed that marketing investment grew again in its first quarter to support “product initiatives and build brand equity.”

La Senza looks to reposition to broaden appeal

La Senza is to overhaul its brand strategy and reposition as a quality retailer in an attempt to broaden its appeal to more consumers. The company wants to be perceived as a rival to more upmarket lingerie retailers such as Marks & Spencer. Marketing director Sarah Hawkins, who joined the lingerie retailer in September, plans to overhaul the brand’s marketing strategy, stores and advertising. The chain has appointed Karmarama to help with the repositioning. The agency will create a national TV, press, outdoor and digital brand building campaign in 2011.

The Grocer

Slow summer hits Heineken volumes

Heineken has blamed a poor summer in Western Europe for a fall in third-quarter volumes which have dropped by more than 4% in Western Europe. The Dutch brewer said “unfavourable weather conditions and low consumer confidence” was behind weak trading in the UK and the Netherlands, as well as claiming that England’s poor World Cup performance had contributed to sluggish summer sales. It also warned that cost hikes could be passed on next year, although price rises were likely to concentre on emerging markets.

Barcode app lets Tesco web shoppers scan on the go

Tesco has pioneered the UK’s first barcode reader for iPhone users. The addition to Tesco’s shopping app lets consumers add items to their online basket while on the go by scanning the products’ barcodes. The supermarket said the new technology was aimed at “busy parents and time-poor professionals”. “We’re always looking for ways to make life easier for customers and for busy mums in particular,” said tesco.com chief executive Laura Wade-Gery, “this is the perfect solution for iPhone lovers that are always forgetting to add items to their shopping list or haven’t the time to even write one.”

Danone Dairy appoints Fromage to UK MD role

Activia and Actimel maker Danone Dairy has appointed Bruno Fromage as the new managing director of its UK operation.  The aptly named Fromage is currently managing director for Danone Dairy Portugal and will take up his new role on 1 November. Fromage has worked for the Danone Group since 1983 in a range of managerial roles. “I am delighted to be moving to the UK,” he said. “It is an exciting market with huge potential.” Fromage will replace current Danone Dairy UK MD Marnix Eikenboom, who is to become VP Americas and northern Europe for Danone baby nutrition. One of Fromage’s first tasks will be to deal with the fallout from this week’s ruling by the European Food Safety Authority on probiotic health claims used by food manufacturers.

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