Tesco is expanding its network of ‘dark stores’ as it focuses on the potential of internet shopping.
The supermarket already has four online-only stores in London but more openings are planned. Already in the pipeline are stores in Crawley, set to open next year, and Erith, near Dartford, to come in 18 months, while Tesco managers are now looking for sites in the Birmingham and Manchester areas.
Ken Towle, the online food and internet retailing director at Tesco, told The Telegraph that the retailer’s dark stores were now in its top 10 sites by revenue. He said that Tesco aimed to have “tens but not hundreds” of dark stores, marking a significant expansion of its online infrastructure.
At the same time, Tesco is slowing its store opening programme at a time when in-store revenues have seen falls – like-for-like sales were down by 1.5% in June. The Guardian, meanwhile, reports that chief executive Philip Clarke said last week that web sales were providing “all the growth we have in our core food businesses these days”. In its report on yesterday’s store visit to a new Tesco store in Bishop’s Stortford, it cites Tesco predictions that sales will double to more than £5bn in the next five years.
Tesco is currently working to turn around its UK business at a time when sales in this country are falling. In January it gave its first profits warning for 20 years.
Keytree has developed an application that delivers a 3D shopping experience with tailored products in your own home using Microsoft’s device
British software company Keytree has created a new application that lets you virtually browse the shelves of a store when you’re standing in front of the TV. ‘Store Trek’ uses the Microsoft Kinect to deliver a 3D shopping experience that crosses the divide between in-store and online, combining the best of both. It delivers tailored virtual shelves in a store layout driven by a personalization engine you would normally have in an online store.
You can walk around and the shelves will automatically adjust to provide an immersive and engaging experience. You can reach out to a product to add it directly to your basket if you want to purchase it. This cloud-based ecommerce solution could be used to shop for your groceries from Tesco or browse products from Amazon and eBay. You can see ‘Store Trek’ in action in the video below:
Australia’s clothing brand Lorna Jane is the first retailer to use a SocialEyes mirror to connect in-store shoppers with the Facebook community
Lorna Jane, Australia’s premier women’s fitness clothing brand, has recently launched a social media initiative called SocialEyes, linking its in-store shoppers with the Lorna Jane Facebook community of over 250,000 women.
Lorna Jane’s 21-year history of continuous growth, sprouting more than 120 stores and $100 million in annual revenue, highlights the company’s savvy brand management in a niche market. The brand message promotes a healthy, active lifestyle – stylishly outfitted, of course, by Lorna Jane.
Besides outfitting women to be active, Lorna Jane Clarkson, the company’s founder and creative director, has also built up an enthusiastic community that supports the message of the brand as well as the clothing. The community’s enthusiasm is exemplified by the personable presence and story of Lorna Jane herself, who creates open channels of communication with shoppers through blogs, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and now a book called “Move, Nourish, Believe.”
Debenhams today said a 40% rise in online sales in its latest financial year was confirmation that its multichannel strategy was working.
New of the fast growth, ahead of a market average of 13%, came as the multichannel department store also unveiled a 2.6% rise in total sales and a 1.6% rise in group-like-for-like sales, excluding VAT, in the year to September 1, in an end-of-year trading update.
Debenhams said that visits to Debenhams.com were up by more than 50% in the period, a change that it said was “driven in part by extremely strong growth in mobile channels (up 27%).” Internationally, the company now delivers online purchases to 67 countries and trades in Germany through a dedicated website.
The company said pre-tax profits were expected to be ahead of last year, and that its international business had also enjoyed good growth.
John Lewis today said its multichannel focus had helped to boost its sales and profits in the first half of its financial year.
The John Lewis Partnership, which includes both Waitrose and the John Lewis chain of department stores, today reported an 8.7% lift in gross sales to £4.4bn and a boost to pre-tax profits of almost 60% to £145.5m. The department store chain John Lewis saw sales grow by nearly 12.8% to £1.6bn with operating profits up by 188.6% to £45.6bn. Its sister company Waitrose, the supermarket, saw sales rise by 6.6% to £2.8bn and operating profits by 28.9% at £142m.
Chairman Charlie Mayfield said factors including one-off events such as the Diamon Jubilee and the lead-up to the London 2012 games had helped the company achieve “excellent results”. But a more long-term factor at work was the growth in sales and profits as a result of developing its multichannel operations.
“Multichannel sales made a vital contribution across both John Lewis and Waitrose and we extended the reach and appeal of our offer with the extension of Click & collect to most Waitrose shops,” said Mayfield.
Multichannel sales grew by almost 50% at Dixons Retail in the first 12 weeks of its financial year.
The electronics retailer, which owns brands including Currys, Dixons.co.ukandPC World, today said that UK and Ireland multichannel sales, those transactions that involve both stores and online, rose by 48% in the first quarter of its financial year, while group multichannel sales were up by 39%.
Such growth outstripped its overall business, primarily rooted in stores, where, in the 12 weeks to July 21, the company reported a 2% growth in sales. Underlying sales in the UK and Ireland were up by 6%, while like-for-like growth rose by 7%. Sales were “challenging” at Pixmania, where underlying sales were down by 12% and in Southern Europe, underlying sales fell by 13%.
Sebastian James, chief executive, said: “While it is still early in our financial year, I am encouraged by the start we have made across the group. We have had a real boost from a busy summer of events in the UK and our Northern European operations continue to go from strength to strength.”
Marks & Spencer has unveiled a host of in-store innovations as it opened its second biggest shop at Cheshire Oaks.
Described as “the future of retail” by M&S director of retail Steve Rowe, the 151,000 sq ft store has been almost two years in the making and showcases all of the initiatives, particularly digital ones, on which the retailer is pinning its hopes for the future.
The two-floor shop, the second largest in the estate after the flagship Marble Arch store in London, features a cathedral-like curving wooden roof.
Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland said: “It is not about building a huge store, it’s about building a shopping experience.”
Robb takes Leslie Patton and Bryan Gruley on a tour of his Austin (Tex.) store, with its three types of kale and devoted foodie clientele.
What did you learn from the recent recession about selling groceries?
It was a lot of humble pie, because our sales experienced a drop that I have never seen in 32 years of retail. Customers left us in droves. We also learned that there were some very loyal customers who loved Whole Foods (WFM), people who said, “I like what you stand for. I like coming here. I like this experience.” That was very affirming. I think the realization was that we’ve got some customers, and we need to make sure we know who they are. So instead of chasing every customer out there, we started doing customer discussion groups. We were growing for growth’s sake, which is not a good strategy. We were chasing the rainbow. We cut the growth in half overnight and said, “All right, slow down. Let’s make sure we’re doing this better and more thoroughly and more thoughtfully.” This company is a mission-based company. This company started to change the world by bringing healthier food to the world. It’s not about the money, it’s about the impact, and this company is back on track as a result of those experiences.
Dixons Retail today said it had spent £8m to take full control PIXmania, in a move intended to secure for the future the stability of the platform on which its multichannel business is built.
The acquisition, which is expected to complete today, sees the multichannel electricals retailer, which trades under the PC World, Currys and Dixons.co.uk brands, buy out PIXmania founders Steve and Jean-Emile Rosenblum for €10m cash (around £8m), while taking its stake in the business from 77% to 99%.
Dixons Retail said today that the move would give it “full day-to-day control” of the PIXmania business, on whose e-merchant platform Dixons’ multichannel operations are founded. It comes at a time when, said Dixons Retail, PIXmania’s other operations are facing “significant challenges.” PIXmania, which sells high tech products, reported a loss of £20m in the year to April 28, on turnover of £665m. Dixons said its strategy now was to “take the necessary actions to improve the performance of this strategically important business”.
Sebastian James, chief executive of Dixons, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to acquire substantially the remainder of the PIXmania business. PIXmania is the heart of our very successful UK multichannel business and this will ensure the stability and flexibility to continue to improve the experience for the customers of that business.
“PIXmania’s own trading business continues to face strong market headwinds and this move will also allow us to manage the company in line with the group’s wider strategy and take the decisive actions necessary to improve its performance.”
Dixons bought its existing 77% stake in PIXmania in April 2006 for €266m, then equivalent to £185m. An additional 1% is held by Club Fotovista, representing employees and former employees of PIXmania.
It was the first UK retailer to launch an e-commerce solution in the UK in 1996, but Toys R Us is coming to m-commerce slightly later, only now adding mobile to its omni-channel retail approach.
Toys ‘R’ Us Head of eCommerce Will White explains: “We were the first ‘bricks and mortar’ retailer in the UK to go online back in 1996, and since then we’ve made it our business to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to enhancing our customers’ experience with the latest technology. This mobile platform is a fundamental part of our commitment to omni-channel delivery – access to our products and promotions any time, anywhere. Our customers expect – and deserve – nothing less.”