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Retailer

Regional shopping centres ‘key’ to boosting Primark’s US profile…

Approximately one year after launching across the pond, Primark’s finance director, John Bason has told the trade fashion publication, Drapers that small, regionally-based shopping centres will ‘play a key role’ in building the value retailer’s reputation in the US.

Since opening large-format stores in cities such as Boston, Associated British Foods, Primark’s parent company, has recently opened three more stores located in regional malls in Willow Grove Park, Philadelphia; Danbury, New England; and Freehold Raceway, New Jersey and Bason has declared the company will continue to search for similar locations.

“The [smaller stores] are doing very well for us,” Bason told Drapers. “People are now aware of Primark, and that’s something we are really working on. It’s all about getting people through the door. Once they are in, they love our prices and our product. It’s important for us to be in these centres as the high street is much less dominant in the US compared with the UK, Germany or France.”

Bason has also shared plans of extending its current Boston store’s selling space by 20 per cent, as well as opening another three US stores in the next financial year.

 

Read more from Bason here

Guest Blog, Guy Moates: Coming next after Pokémon Go? The future of augmented reality as a retail space planning tool…

Pokémon Go has propelled augmented reality (AR) into mainstream culture. Users have downloaded the gaming app multi millions of times, since its launch in July 2016.

But while it might be fun to play, it’s the AR technology underpinning the Nintendo product that is really exciting the business world.

AR superimposes a computer-generated image on a real-world perspective to create an interactive, composite view.

This technology has huge potential as a powerful tool for business – not least the retail planning sector.

The exciting prospective is how AR can merge actual and virtual in-store worlds, imposing new products, signage, equipment, branding and visual merchandise into an actual setting.

We are currently working with a number of companies in the retail sector who have spotted the exciting potential of augmented reality. Each company is using AR to address a specific business challenge and as a result are seeing tangible benefits and a return on investment.

So what are the potential advantages of augmented reality?

  • AR can merge an actual and virtual in-store environment making potential changes easier to understand and visualise.
  • Traditionally, retailers have used mock stores or artists impressions to help them judge whether or not to sign off new designs and concepts. AR has the potential to improve this decision making process and take it to a new level.
  • The technology is available right now and is considerably less expensive than mock-ups.
  • It’s far more realistic than full 3D visuals or virtual reality because staff can physically visit stores and use their tablet to walk visually through an augmented reality version of any changes.
  • Or staff can use StoreView® 360° panoramic store surveys to walk through potential changes on screen without moving from their office desk.
  • Retailers can engage with the expertise of their in-store colleagues and managers. This will mean they feel more involved as well as making better use of their local knowledge, such as line-of-sight or security.
  • The technology is particularly useful for scenarios such as convenience store symbol groups where business development staff can show prospective store owners how their store might look with a new fascia.

Although it has just moved into public consciousness, AR has been around for many years and is now emerging from its experimental era to become a truly useful tool for retail space planners. The bets are on that it is likely to play an ever increasing role in future.

 

Guy Moates works at C A Design Services with 7 out of the UK’s top 10 retailers. The company provides a range of retail services including store planning, survey, software development and visualisation services including augmented reality based on their StoreView® technology. If you would like to explore how you can use Augmented Reality to improve your Store Development process please get in touch with Guy – gmoates@cadesignservices.co.uk.

Lush staff to make German move in light of Brexit vote…

According to a number of reports, the Brexit vote has prompted the UK handmade cosmetics retailer, Lush, to move its staff to Germany following the possibility of an uncertain future following the Brexit vote.

With the company claiming to have expanded production at its Dusseldorf factory for the European market, Lush initially announced the relocation plans back in June; saying it would look at safeguarding all sales, multinational workforce and production by moving these operations to the continent.

A spokesperson for Lush said in a statement: “While this was always the plan – to make products for Europe in Europe (alongside our Croatian factory) – the reality of the Brexit vote has meant we have done it with a bullet. Many of our staff still have uncertainties about what the Brexit deal will mean for them and continue to wait anxiously for this to be revealed.”

Nine staff members have already made the move to Dusseldorf, and a further nine are expected follow suit in the near future.

New survey votes Amazon as UK’s top retailer…

Already experiencing an impressive 2016, with the launch of its AmazonFresh service and the announcement of 1,000 new permanent jobs to be created within the company this year, data compiled by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has declared Amazon as the UK’s favourite retailer.

A quarter of the 1,000 respondents voted for Amazon to claim the top spot, followed by John Lewis with 14 per cent backing, Marks & Spencer with 10 per cent and other retailers such as Asos and eBay clinching to top 20 status.

Contradicting its ever-increasing popularity, it’s surprising to find that Apple received just one per cent of the overall vote, as the DMA indicates a ‘disconnect between the power of the brand and Apple as a retail brand’ and many consumers purchase Apple products through other outlets.

Read more on the DMA’s ‘Customer Engagement’ research here