What's fresh

Retail Round-Up May 6th 2011

Poundstretcher snaps up Alworths stores

Value retailer Poundstretcher has acquired 15 of the 17 Alworths stores following the collapse of the ‘son of Woolies’ variety retailer. The deal saves the majority of the 235 jobs jeopardised or lost as a result of Alworths’ demise at the end of March. Administrator Leonard Curtis said it has sold the “entire business to Poundstretcher”, although it is unclear if the intellectual property has been bought along with the stores.

Rivals circle Focus stores after its collapse into administration

Rivals of Focus DIY are circling the retailer’s stores after it called in the administrators on Thursday. Ernst & Young said it is “seeking offers for the sale of the business as a going concern”. DIY giant B&Q is thought to be among those interested in snapping up stores, while Homebase is also likely to run its slide rule over the properties. Other retailers such as Asda have previously bought some Focus stores, while The Range has expressed interest in stores and stock.

Footfall suffers as royal fever grips nation

Shopper numbers slumped on the weekend of William and Kate’s nuptials but food and garden retailers were boosted by wedding fever. Experian figures showed footfall plummeted 33% on the Friday of the nuptials. Saturday and Sunday also suffered, when footfall fell 10.2% and 11.1% respectively. However, some retailers said royal wedding fever generated good sales. Waitrose’s sales for the week ending April 30 surged 23.1%. M&S champagne sales were at their strongest since Christmas 2008, while its ‘royal ring’ replica is its best selling ring ever.

Morrisons still wary despite beating first quarter forecasts

Morrisons has posted stronger than expected first-quarter sales but still said it remained “cautious” about the year ahead given the drop in shoppers’ disposable incomes. Like-for-like sales excluding fuel increased by 2.5% from a year ago in the 13 weeks to 1 May, beating forecasts. The retailer’s Biggest Ever Price Crunch promotion at the start of the year boosted trade, as did its Fuel Britannia and Let’s Celebrate campaigns around Easter and the Royal Wedding.

Diageo spots stronger second half ahead

European sales continued to fall for Diageo in the past three months but the Guinness and Smirnoff maker issued an upbeat assessment for the remainder of 2011. With emerging markets again providing much of the growth, third-quarter sales were up 7% despite European sales falling 3% in the period to 31 March. Diageo said trading in “the second half of the year was proving stronger than the first”, with higher prices in markets including the UK helping its performance.

TV debut for Sainsbury’s Tu

Sainsbury’s has kicked off the largest-ever advertising campaign for its Tu clothing range. The expanded summer range made its TV debut last night in an advert featuring the strapline ‘Clothes you can’t wait to wear’. Tu is now the UK’s seventh largest clothing label, according to recent data from Kantar Worldpanel. Sainsbury’s recently agreed a deal with TV fashion guru Gok Wan to design a number of new women’s items.

Lynx launches social media app

Unilever’s Lynx brand has created an app that aggregates social media content for friends that want to produce a digital record of a get together. The Lynx Stream has been developed to aggregate Facebook, Twitter and mobile activity including video and pictures into a combined stream that can be shared via social media the next day.

LG group marketing and brand chiefs out in restructure

LG Electronics’ group marketing and brand chiefs have left the electronics company as part of an overhaul of its marketing operations. The group marketing director and head of brand marketing roles, held by Paul Trueman and Paul Meadows respectively, have been cut from the firm’s UK and Ireland business.