MarketLine Blog

Posts about Retail

Beckham’s Target: Posh on a budget

MarketLine

As common household names, celebrities are always being discussed; especially in modern society. The Beckham family is no different, although their fame has stems from football and music to the latest venture of fashion. Victoria Beckham has recently partnered with Target, a US retailer to sell her range of cheap designer clothes for all age ranges and all sizes. Whilst this range is extensive, it is set to only be available for a limited period of time, with online access as well through victoriabeckham.com creating a global customer base. The… Read more

The Digital Age: A Hackers delight

MarketLine

Online storage is a huge leap forward in technology, allowing files to be accessed from anywhere without the need to send them via email. Files can be shared in a much simpler fashion and can be locked to ensure that any changes made are present in a single file as opposed to numerous versions of the file. This online system serves as a backup for companies and customers. A network of banking telecommunications (SWIFT) has been the target of numerous hacking and data leaks over recent years, serving to reduce… Read more

East meets West. The battle for supremacy in India’s e-commerce market

MarketLine

While China and the US currently dominate in terms of e-commerce spending, India is one of the world’s fastest growing internet markets. It is also the fastest growing country in the Asia Pacific region in the retail e-commerce space. The rapid pace of growth of e-commerce in India creates a huge potential opportunity and attracts not only local players but foreign e-commerce giants, like Amazon and Alibaba. The largest local players, Flipcart and Snapdeal, initially seen as the dark horses in this race and attracting serious investment, are now losing… Read more

Physical Book Vs. E-Book: Traditional book not ready to die out just yet

MarketLine

There has been much debate in recent years regarding the physical book vs. the e-book. Many commentators have outlined a sad situation in which the traditional book is dying out as the rapidly growing proliferation of digital technology replaces it. However, the situation is not quite as clear-cut as this. While it is undeniable that there have been declining book sales in recent years, this is not necessarily wholly linked to the explosion of e-books in the market. E-books are undoubtedly a more convenient way to store and carry around… Read more

Tesco-Booker: The Squeeze on Small Businesses

MarketLine

Tesco, one of the largest retailers in the world, is the most dominant supermarket in the UK market. Its recent announcement to merge with Booker was a surprise to all. Booker occupies a very different area of the market, primarily offering bulk-purchase supply to small retailers, both independent and franchised stores under brands it owns, such as Londis and Budgens. At first glance then, this seems an odd target for Tesco; to merge operations with a company whose target market is so different to its own. Indeed, no one considers… Read more

Sky high golf equipment prices counter-productive

MarketLine

Sales of golf equipment have fallen noticeably in recent years, with the sport’s traditional markets of the US, Europe, and Japan particularly affected. Falling participation levels are driving a fall in equipment sales as people baulk at the price of golf and slow play issues make a sport for which many simply do not have time in a society that demands people spread themselves thinly hard to access. This has impacted manufacturers with TaylorMade-adidas in particular experiencing severe problems. A constant churn of new equipment has led to a need… Read more

Next alone in its Christmas disappointment

MarketLine

The Christmas trading period is the most important time of the year for retailers, accounting for a significant proportion of a company’s sales and profit. In January 2017, numerous UK retailers revealed their Christmas 2016 trading results, with many high street retailers hailing the festive period a success. A notable exception to this was Next PLC, which revealed it had faced a difficult Christmas trading period and warned of a problematic retail environment in the UK as a whole. On 4th January 2017, Next was the first high street retailer… Read more

Once Upon A Time At Christmas… The John Lewis Formula

MarketLine

Advertising has been an increasingly important aspect in modern day business with companies spending millions on advertising campaigns. Every now and then, an advertising campaign can capture the imagination of the people watching which helps to increase the profile of a brand substantially. In the UK, one such example is that of the John Lewis Christmas advertisement. From 2007 onwards, John Lewis has evolved its Christmas adverts into something of a Christmas tradition. Every year, people anticipate the release of the new advert speculating on what it may contain with… Read more

Nike: England sponsorship deal in jeopardy

MarketLine

In modern sport, funding is a large key to success and in no sport is that more apparent than football, the ultimate game of the haves and have nots. International football has not escaped the phenomenon with England plowing in money as if it is an endless resource while Ghana’s players insisted on cash only payments at the 2014 World Cup amid fears that they would not be paid otherwise. Wembley Stadium, world-leading salaries and a state-of-the-art football center do not come cheap and the money has to come from… Read more

Sports Direct: Working conditions scandal fallout must be managed to minimize damage

MarketLine

Recent revelations about Sports Direct’s working practices have been largely made via exposé reporting from The Guardian. Secret filming in the company’s Shirebrook warehouse led to claims of a culture of fear, pay of less than the national minimum wage, unpaid after-hours work, and questionable punitive practices. This was then followed by written reporting and interviews with workers, both from the warehouse and from stores. Although terminology like ‘Victorian workhouse’ and ‘Gulag’ is sensationalist and unwarranted, Sports Direct was forced to respond to the claims in a bid to limit… Read more

Sainsbury’s trialing one-hour delivery service

MarketLine

Supermarkets in the UK have faced a tough marketplace in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. All of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets have seen their market share eroded by the discounters, which led to a debilitating round of price wars in which profits were eroded. As such, there… Read more

Supermarkets facing up to the discounters; Asda left behind?

MarketLine

Supermarkets in the UK have faced a tough marketplace in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. The impact on the big four supermarkets has been evident. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Morrison’s have all seen sales fall and profits eroded. Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Morrison’s all responded to the… Read more

Big retail takes control of Russian food market

MarketLine

The Russian food market is amongst the largest and most populated globally. As the population of 146 million people continues to grow, they are also buying more food. There are a lot of opportunities for further development, especially in the convenience segment, as the grocery retail market is significantly less saturated than in Western Europe. Changes in tastes and technology have opened up the sector to new suppliers and new ideas. However, after almost a decade of double digit growth, this over $300bn market has seen a significant deceleration recently… Read more

The dichotomy between H&M’s fast fashion business model and sustainable cotton

MarketLine

H&M is a fashion retailer with over 4,000 stores in 61 markets worldwide. The adoption of the fast fashion business model has been key to the company’s huge expansion since 2000. Fast fashion has a four to six week turnaround, much quicker than traditional collections which were released two to four times per year. As a result, clothing is more on-trend but it also more throwaway. The production of clothing has a huge environmental impact, particularly in the case of cotton. Cotton uses a huge amount of fertilizers and pesticides… Read more

Morrison’s: Can’t match up to the discounters?

MarketLine

From November 2, 2015, Morrison’s will be making changes to its Match & More scheme. The program will no longer include Match points on comparable shopping. The scheme, which was introduced in October 2014, gained widespread coverage in the UK for its promise to match the discounters, Aldi and Lidl, on price or refund the difference in the form of points, with vouchers being issued once enough points have been accumulated. While the other major supermarkets in the UK have their own price promise schemes, none have been brave enough… Read more

Pack your bags: England joins other UK nations in ending free plastic bags with caveats

MarketLine

England has become the final part of the UK to introduce a charge for plastic carrier bags in a bid to slash the 7.6 billion handed out annually. However, several caveats and exemptions may stifle the scheme’s success compared to other parts of the UK. Although some retailers (such as M&S and the German discounters Aldi and Lidl) have already introduced plastic bag charges, the government has moved to employ a strategy used in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which has reduced consumption of plastic bags dramatically. The 7.6 billion… Read more

Consumer Law: Shifting power from businesses to consumers

MarketLine

As of October 1, 2015 new consumer protection measures came into force in the UK. Under the Consumer Rights Act, customers are now entitled to a full refund on faulty goods for up to 30 days after the purchase. This area was previously rather sketchy, with consumers only being entitled to refunds for a ‘reasonable time’. A further measure has been the introduction of new protection for those purchasing digital content, allowing for a replacement on downloads that do not work. What’s more, if a digital download infects a user’s… Read more

Sorry for any inconvenience caused? Morrisons expected to sell off its M local convenience stores

MarketLine

Morrisons, Britain’s fourth-largest grocer, is in advanced talks to sell its convenience stores to investment firm Greybull Capital as new chief executive David Potts seeks to focus the business on its traditional supermarket estate. Greybull was working with a team of industry executives to take over about 150 stores that trade as M local and generate annual sales of about GBP 300m (approximately $494m). The convenience sector has become a primary focus for many UK retailers reeling from the discounter industry disruption, which has seen Aldi and Lidl wrestle market… Read more

UK High Street’s worst summer for six years

MarketLine

The UK high street has suffered its worst summer since 2009 amid concerns over a potential interest rate rise and unseasonably cold weather. According to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker, like-for like sales fell 1.1% in July, marking the third consecutive month of decline, the first time such a streak has been seen since the summer of 2009. Fashion retail was hardest hit in July, down 1.4% year-on-year, while lifestyle goods and homewares saw drops of 0.5% and 1.1% respectively. As analyzed in the MarketLine case study The UK High… Read more

Clothing retailer Gap’s expansion in India

MarketLine

Gap was founded in 1969 in San Francisco. The company’s products are sold under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athlete and Intermix brands. Gap has long been seen as the go- to- for young adults seeking affordable fashion. As explored in the MarketLine Case Study ‘The Gap, Inc. Strategies for a turnaround’ (Advantage subscribers click here to view the report or here for non-subscribers) the company has outlined a number of turnaround strategies including expansion in Asia, following volatile market growth in its domestic market for most of the… Read more

Year of the Dragon: Chinese firms storm the BrandZ top 100

MarketLine

The Brandz Top 100 for 2015 has seen impressive debuts and inexorable rises for a plethora of Chinese companies. Alibaba surged into the top 20 on its debut. The company become eligible following Alibaba’s debut on the New York stock exchange in 2014 with a record $25bn IPO and has beaten Amazon into second place of the retail market, ranked 14th overall and top of the retail category.  The next most successful debut was Huawei. Demonstrating China’s growing economic prowess and influence in the world, other firms made the top… Read more

Spieth Masters win great news for Under Armour

MarketLine

Jordan Spieth’s record-laden charge to Masters victory has made front and back page news and Under Armour is basking in the 21 year old Texan’s reflective glory. On his way to a joint tournament record 18 under par, Spieth broke record after record: best 36 and 54 hole scores in Masters history; most birdies ever recorded at one Masters; only man to ever reach 19 under par at The Masters; first wire-to-wire winner since 1976. The list goes on. If Spieth was the happiest man in the US on Sunday… Read more

Smartwatches – Samsung wise to stop the clock? Apple et al to gain advantage?

MarketLine

2015 promises to be an exciting time for the tech industry. Not least because it is being heralded as the year of the smartwatch, which is something 2014 could not achieve. 2014 did, however, witness many glimpses of technological advancement in the wearable technology industry, with many manufacturers turning their attention to smartwatches. There are fundamentally two types of smartwatch, a stand-alone smartwatch which houses a sim-card (and therefore requires a contract plan) and needs no connectivity to a smartphone in order to work, and a smartwatch that operates only… Read more

Xiaomi, not the Apple of China

MarketLine

2014 was an important year for Xiaomi, it saw the company become the world’s most valuable technology start-up, triple its phone sales, become the world’s fourth largest smartphone seller, more than doubling its revenue, and saw it expand to a number of new markets including India, the world’s third largest smartphone market. What makes the company’s performance all the more remarkable is that it has achieved this in less than five years of existence, and without a presence in any Western markets. A number of factors have contributed to this… Read more

Superfood powders are the latest alleged panacea of the health-conscious world

MarketLine

Superfood powders are marketed for their myriad of supposed benefits, from improved skin and increased energy, to preventing conditions and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and dementia. Superfood powders contain ground down superfoods, freeze dried and fine milled. Products which use the powders include the Super Elixir, boasts strong content and an equally eye watering price. Superfood powders have seen strong growth, although remain only a modicum of the wider market. Vitamix, a smoothie maker has also received celebrity endorsements and a loyal customer base despite its expensive price. Increasing… Read more

Colgate-Palmolive widens its product range to Muslim consumers

MarketLine

As the Muslim market continues to grow, the demand for halal products increases too and many companies are beginning to tap into this growing market. According to a Thomson Reuters report, the global halal (‘permissible’ or ‘lawful’) 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. Despite the most common belief that the term ‘halal’ is limited to meat and poultry, opportunities in the halal market go way beyond this… Read more

Supermarket price wars: A race to the bottom?

MarketLine

Grocery retailers in the UK have been experiencing the effects of a noticeable shift in consumer behavior in recent years. The recession, and the accompanying squeeze on incomes, has led to many consumers becoming shrewd in their purchases and increasingly looking to find the cheapest option. This has led to a climate in which discounters, and in particular Aldi and Lidl, have been able to thrive. Loyalty to supermarkets has been affected, with consumers more willing to shop around for their goods. This has had a detrimental impact on the… Read more

Vitamins and minerals sales have witnessed strong growth in recent years

MarketLine

The number of households purchasing vitamins grew in 2014 A survey into dietary supplement use has shown that the number of consumers buying these products has grown consecutively between 2012 and 2014. The survey found that growth was largely driven by male consumers, and that children’s multivitamin sales had experienced decline. TABS Group’s survey looked at 1,000 consumers’ purchases over a number of channels in the previous year ending April or May 2014. It was found that 75% of households purchased vitamins at least once in the year ending April… Read more

Fade to Black? Black Friday US sales dip while UK adopts the retail frenzy

MarketLine

Retail sales on Black Friday declined considerably in the US compared to last year while Amazon reported that the UK’s sales had surpassed its expectations. The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated on Sunday that spending over the four-day weekend would fall to $57.4bn, down 2.3% from $59.0bn in 2013. Although the number of consumers out over the Black Friday weekend has increased to 141 million from 139 million, their average spend is lower at $407, -4% on last year. Although consumer confidence in the country is at a seven year… Read more

Good business: can clothing supply chains be managed ethically?

MarketLine

In April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed with the loss of 1,129 lives, mainly of apparel manufacturing workers. The proximate cause was that four extra floors had been built without a permit, and that a building designed for shops and offices was being used as a factory. But the collapse was an extreme example of the poor conditions suffered by all too many garment workers in low-wage countries. The cutting and sewing of clothes is labor intensive and difficult to automate, so wages loom large in the… Read more