Retailers' sales growth highlights difficulty in explaining retail performance
Research by PWC shows that almost three-quarters of stores on the high street either had sales on last week or were advertising promotions in their windows. This is up significantly on 2009’s 40%.
Although some of this is due to recent poor trading conditions, summer sales are being contracted into a shorter time window because of the Olympics. Some retailers, especially department store chains are trying to clear old season stock before the games, when many high spending visitors will be coming to London.
This helps to explain Debenhams' announcement this week that sales grew 3.9% in the 16 weeks to 23 June - a climb of 3.1% on a like-for-like basis.
Retail performance during the second and third quarters of this year will make it challenging for analysts to precisely attribute positive retail results in order to make future projections. How much sales, Easter, the Jubilee and the Olympics obscure the real impact of the poor economy upon retailers is difficult to ascertain.
John Lewis looks to expand Click and Collect service
My article earlier this week about advantages of Click and Collect to retailers and customers coincides with news that John Lewis is looking to extend its own service. Interestingly, according to comments by John Lewis’ Managing Director Andy Street at the British Retail Symposium 2012, this may include creating partnerships with companies other than John Lewis and Waitrose.
John Lewis has not disclosed who these companies may include, but given its respected brand, the department store will need to choose its partners carefully.
Retailers missing out on opportunity to integrate Facebook into owned sites
Research by nToklo shows how half of the top 100 retailers by group sales do not offer their customers recommendations through their website. While over 90% of these have a Facebook presence, one third of these do not use integration technologies such as Facebook Connect.
As we highlighted in our Social Media Behaviour Index research, when brands integrate Facebook into owned media, they are able to encourage interactions between people and between customers and the brand and thereby provide a more rewarding experience. They are also able to glean extra data brands can use in their CRM.
Hovis features in Tesco’s first ever hackathon
Tesco held its first ‘hackathon’ last week. What’s a hackathon? An event in which software developers collaborate intensively over a short period of time to create something.
Tesco.com Hackathon saw 10 teams of developers compete to create a new application or service in 24 hours. They then had to present to a panel of Judges, with the winning idea being rolled out for use by Tesco customers.
The winning idea was an app through which people can scan a product’s label or packaging via their smartphones, and then receive recipe ideas and the option of adding them to your dotcom basket.
Tesco to open longer during Olympics to meet flexible demand
Research we undertook recently showed that Tesco customers are more likely than the average shopper to want to watch and celebrate the Olympics this year. This is likely to mean extra shopping trips and a desire to fit shopping around Olympic events.
For these reasons, Tesco announced on Monday that more of its Extra stores would be open 24 hours a day during the Olympics, and that it will extend opening hours of some of its Metro stores depending upon local demand.