MarketLine Blog

Posts written in October 2014

Earning its stripes: the success of Sports Direct International

MarketLine

Sports Direct International Plc. has been one of the outstanding financial successes in UK high street retail over the last 10 years. The sports apparel and equipment retailer has grown rapidly, hastening the demise of former market leader JJB Sports into bankruptcy in 2012, and entering the FTSE 100 in September 2013. The business is often considered to be unconventional, principally due to its bold retailing strategy and the role of founder and controlling shareholder Mike Ashley. Nevertheless, its unprecedented growth to become the market leader in UK sports retail… Read more

Natural sweeteners market – Stevia

MarketLine

The global diet soda beverage market has been on the decline for the last six years. The last 10 years were hard for producers of diet drinks, especially carbonated ones. In March 2014 the diet soft drink market declined further, by about 7% compared to February’s figures with Coca-Cola recording a 6% decline and PepsiCo hitting almost 7% decline in volume terms. Stevia’s leaves are remarkably 300 times sweeter than plain white sugar while containing no calories, has been heralded as the answer to changing diet habits. Global stevia sales… Read more

Halal: The new organic

MarketLine

The global halal market, which includes products and services complying with Islamic laws and regulations, was valued at $1.7tn in 2012, growing faster than other consumer markets despite the recent global recession. At a time when many Western markets are reaching their saturation point, Muslim consumers are becoming a target audience, and the halal market is emerging as one of the fastest growing consumer segments in the world. Despite the common belief that the term “halal” is limited to meat and poultry, opportunities in the halal market go way beyond… Read more

Nokia on Heaven’s door? Microsoft ditches the Nokia brand in favour of Lumia

MarketLine

Following the $7bn acquisition of Nokia’s device business in September 2013, Microsoft has officially begun to phase out the once ubiquitous phone brand. Microsoft has begun the withdrawal in France, where the Nokia Lumia social media accounts have announced they will become Microsoft Lumia in due course. This is not a sudden arrest in the brand however; Microsoft has been gradually phasing out the Nokia brand on devices and apps, and redirecting traffic from websites to Microsoft Mobile. The Nokia brand was still being used on products which launched only… Read more

What do Google and Apple’s latest devices tell us about the tablet market?

MarketLine

It has been a big week for new tablet releases, with both Google Inc. (Google) and Apple Inc. (Apple) revealing new devices that could become market leaders. Notably, Google announced the Nexus 9, an 8.9-inch tablet manufactured in partnership with HTC, alongside a new phablet, the Nexus 6, manufactured by the previously Google-owned Motorola on October 5, 2014. A day later, Apple took to the stage to announce the iPad Air 2, its latest flagship tablet, as well as the iPad mini 3, an update to its range of smaller,… Read more

Natural sweeteners market – Stevia

MarketLine

The global market of diet soda beverages has been on the decline for the last six years. The last 10 years were hard for producers of diet drinks, especially carbonated ones. In March 2014 the diet soft drink market declined further, by about 7% compared to February’s figures with Coca-Cola recording a 6% decline and PepsiCo hitting almost 7% decline in volume terms. Stevia’s leaves are remarkably 300 times sweeter than plain white sugar while containing no calories, has been heralded as the answer to changing diet habits. Global stevia… Read more

British Cycling releases another comprehensive study: But will it fall on deaf ears?

MarketLine

There is generally a major problem in UK cities with transport, pollution and health problems. Whilst these are not specific to the UK alone, it has been suspected for a long time that investing heavily in encouraging people to cycle, will go a long way to relieving some of the worst of these problems. In London for instance there has been a concerted effort to get people on to bikes and it has taken major investment, to put in place a vast scheme of easily accessible rental bikes and cycle… Read more

Increasingly stringent government regulations will change the face of the energy consumption sector

MarketLine

The energy consumption sector accounts for total energy consumption over a range of different end uses, such as industrial, transport, residential, and commercial. The issue of energy consumption is a contentious one, due to its inextricable links to contentious issues such as pollution and emissions, climate change, and the environment, as well as issues related to usage of nuclear power and fossil fuels. An ongoing debate about nuclear power as a source of energy remains. Proponents argue that nuclear power is safe and sustainable, and one which reduces carbon emissions,… Read more

Improved quality and packaging narrows gap between private and branded products

MarketLine

Consumers are becoming increasingly inquisitive about where their products are being manufactured. Private labels now have a similar quality to other renowned brands; and more consumers are now aware that many private label ‘generic brands’ foods are actually made by the same companies that produce higher priced name brands. Such Knowledge has aided growth in this sector. As discussed in the MarketLine case study, Supermarket private labels: growth following economic downturn, supermarkets are changing consumer perception. Consumers are not having to compromise on the quality of products if they purchase… Read more

Independent retailers and restaurants are small but growing organic food sellers

MarketLine

Sales of organic food through independent outlets rose by 6.9% in 2013 to a value of £513m (approximately $801m). Independent outlets include box schemes; farm, health and wholefood shops; farmers’ markets; and online purchases. Most independent retailers have seen strong growth: a Soil Association survey found that 75% grew, with three quarters of these retailers reporting sales growth of more than 10%. Only 6% experienced a decline in sales. Home delivery schemes have been doing particularly well: sales grew by 11% in 2013 to reach £193.6m (approximately $302.6m). Abel &… Read more

El Taxico: Madrid and Barcelona clash with Uber

MarketLine

Two of Spain’s largest cities have launched punitive measures in order to combat the rising popularity of the ridesharing app. Uber launched its services in Barcelona in April 2014 and Madrid in September 2014, and has been met with fierce resistance from local taxi drivers. Barcelona effectively banned the app in June 2014, and Madrid has implemented an equally hostile policy response only a month after introduction. Fines will range from EUR 4,000 to EUR 6,000 and could rise to EUR 18,000 plus seizure of the vehicle if there are… Read more

Wonga to write off debts of 330,000 customers

MarketLine

In an unprecedented move, Wonga has today announced that is to write off the debts of around 330,000 customers who are in arrears of 30 days or more. The controversial UK payday lender has, for some time, been battling a negative public image that has seen it portrayed as something of a ‘predator on the poor’ in certain sections of the media. Wonga was embroiled in its most major scandal yet in June of this year, when it was revealed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had ordered the company to… Read more

Pop-up stores no longer a novelty?

MarketLine

A pop-up store is defined as a retail outlet that is created temporarily in a location for a short period of time. The first pop-up store was established by Russ Miller, with his company Vacant, in 1999. The case study Pop-Up Stores: A growing retail strategy’, describes how Miller was inspired to create the pop-up concept following a trip to Tokyo. The company wanted to test the theory that consumers would be eager to purchase limited-edition merchandise from niche retailers. The idea was that stores would open for a set… Read more