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Retail Round Up

Amazon rewards shoppers who walk out of stores

Online giant Amazon is to reward consumers who leave bricks-and-mortar stores without making a purchase. Starting tomorrow in the US, an Amazon promotion using its mobile price comparison app, Price Check, will offer discounts of $5 up to a maximum of $15 to customers who scan products in-store but then buy from Amazon. Traditional US retailers have reacted angrily to the initiative, maintaining that Amazon is turning their shops into showrooms for its own business. Amazon’s venture will also allow it to gather useful competitor pricing information.

Wiggle to focus on stores and M&A following sale

Cycles etailer Wiggle is to push the button on store openings and company and brand acquisitions after being acquired by private equity firm Bridgepoint in a £180m deal this week. Wiggle, which sells bikes as well as cycling and triathlon gear online, is embarking on a new growth strategy that will include opening its first shops in the next 12 to 18 months as it pushes its multichannel offer.

Ex-Uniqlo man becomes Body Shop UK boss

Cosmetics specialist Body Shop has hired former Uniqlo director Simon Coble as its new UK boss. Coble left Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo, where he was UK chief executive, in July and joins Body Shop as general manager on January 1. He replaces Paul Kimberley, who moves to the US to head up The Body Shop’s Americas business as managing director.

Google is named the ‘simplest brand'

Google has been named the world’s “simplest” brand in a survey that shows consumers are willing to pay a premium for simple communications and experiences. Unsurprisingly, utilities firms such as EDF Energy and Npower ranked bottom as complex billing structures and poor customer services frustrate consumers.

Boots plans bespoke loyalty offers at till

Boots plans to introduce personalised coupons at tills for its 17 million Advantage Card members The retailer will roll out the targeted promotional coupons at all 2,500 UK stores in an attempt to reward Advantage Card customers with offers that reflect their shopping habits following a trial.

High street sales are the worst for six months

The high street registered the worst performance in six months in November, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium. Like-for-like sales fell 1.6% compared to November last year, while total sales increased only 0.7%, demonstrating that despite Christmas approaching, shoppers are still keeping a tight rein on spending. This puts even more pressure on the high street to draw in customers over the festive period.

Tesco says latest sales fall is ‘actually quite good’

Tesco today reported a fall in sales for the third quarter of 0.9 % - and denied its £500m Big Price Drop campaign had backfired. The UK’s largest supermarket blamed a dive in consumer confidence to levels last seen in 2008 for the sluggish performance, citing rising unemployment and wages falling in real terms against increasing living costs. The third-quarter figures mirrored a similar fall in the previous three-month period and follow a 0.1% decline in the first quarter of 2011.

Boparan back in buying mode with Brookes Avana deal

Premier Foods has sold own-label chilled foods and cake business Brookes Avana to 2 Sisters Food Group for £30m. The move follow’s Premier’s announcement in October that it would focus investment behind eight brands and deleverage the business by disposing of selected businesses. Brookes Avana reported a trading loss of £13.3m in the six months to 25 June following the business’s chilled food division, RF Brookes, losing a major contract to supply pies to Marks & Spencer.

Household giants fined £310m over French detergent cartel

Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Henkel have been fined a total of almost £310m for their roles in a cartel that fixed washing powder prices. French competition watchdog Autorité de la Concurrence fined the three businesses a total of €361.3m yesterday after finding that they – and Unilever – liaised between 1997 and 2004 to set prices and promotions in French grocery. Unilever avoided the penalty after reporting the collusion.