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Online Retail News In Brief (15 November 2017)

By IMRG

In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Singles’ Day smashes its own record

This year Chinese online shoppers spent over $25bn USD on Singles’ Day, the annual Chinese online retail discounting event held on 11/11.

One notable discount on offer was a lifetime supply of baijiu liquor. 12 bottles a month for the rest the purchaser’s life were available for 11,111 Yuan, roughly £1,275. The normal price for such a supply would be 99,999 Yuan.

For some time now, commentators have been wondering whether Singles’ Day could make it to the UK. Some of our members have tackled the question, as Pitney Bowes did in a recent blog. It certainly appears to be marching overseas, with a few notable retailers launching UK-based dedicated campaigns this year, though concerns about the clash with Remembrance Day poses challenges for a smooth import of Singles’ Day into the UK without requiring a degree of cultural interpretation.

Nisa takeover deal to go ahead

Despite the threat of a block by rebel shareholders, the takeover of Nisa by Co-op is set to go ahead, subject to the approval of the Competition and Markets Authority, whose verdict is expected in March 2018.

Nisa shareholders are set to receive an upfront £20,000, with their share of £137.5m to be paid over four years.

Mary Portas not quite saving the high street

The government-backed project by Mary Portas to prevent the closure of high street retail stores, which enjoyed a £1.2m public grant, has seen the closure of over 5,000 shops in the project’s towns.

Despite the support, Portas blamed the government for the failure: “It feels like there was this great splash from Government, that they were getting behind businesses. But they can't say that and then treble rates - they need to think about the effects on business.

"We need real policy change. Business needs to be at the heart of planning as the Government decides what kind of country we want to live in because the high street is the heart of every community. With rising wages and increased import costs rates is the one area that can be sorted out by Government."

New answers to fashion dilemmas?

New technologies and ventures are emerging to help shoppers choose styles and sizes when shopping for clothes.

‘Fashion advice app’ Style Counsel allows users to upload photos of themselves in the changing room, for crowd-sourced advice on potential outfits in minutes.

The Amazon Echo Look is a camera and app that will offer algorithmically determined recommendations and comparisons for outfits.

Burberry to focus on upmarket positioning

Burberry intends to withdraw from retail outlets that do not have a sufficiently upmarket profile. The fashion retailer is reassessing its brand positioning, while its half-year results showed like-for-like sales up 4%, and it takes a series of cost-saving measures, including the relocation of 300 jobs out of the capital.

How to take on the industry titans

IMRG strategy and insight director Andy Mulcahy joined Criteo’s John Gillan and Daniel Bobroff of Coded Futures on an Essential Retail podcast to talk about collaboration, and how it could be the key to retailers’ success against the titans of online retail.

Double Decker Delivery?

Go-Ahead is in negotiations with online retail logistics providers to use bus depots as delivery hubs. The move is in response to the Mayor of London's draft transport strategy, which highlights congestion caused by online retail delivery vehicles. The development could lead to the use of London buses in the fulfillment chain.

Out of the woods?

Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe pronounced last week that the pound was “probably through the worst” of its weak spell.

“Food price inflation as measured by the government is around 2% and inevitably the things that we import - so they tend to be things like fresh foods - get a little bit more expensive on the back of that. But we're probably through the worst, if the truth be told, and actually even today's prices are about the same as they were two years ago, so we as a business have done a very good job of protecting our customers from the more extreme challenges of inflation and the currency movements."

Scottish butcher makes sausage baby for Andy Murray

John Hill, a butcher from Andy Murray’s native Dunblane, has created a tribute to the tennis star’s second daughter with a model of a baby made out of Lorne sausage meat.

Image: The Sun

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