Monthly Retail Round-Up - May 2018

Some of the best articles from the world of retail and its supporting industries.

Monthly Retail Round-Up - May 2018

Dressipi brings you a round-up of the top retail news this May to keep you up to date.

1) Sainsbury’s Argos Merger with Asda

The announcement of an agreed merger between supermarket rivals Sainsbury’s and Asda came at the beginning of May. In a joint statement reported in Drapers, the two supermarkets stated, “The retail sector is going through significant and rapid change, as customer shopping habits continue to evolve. Bringing Sainsbury’s and Asda together will result in a more competitive and more resilient business that will be better able to invest in price, quality, range and the technology to create more flexible ways for customers to shop.”

Another Drapers article highlighted that, “Both are significant players in the clothing market: Asda ranks 5th by value with 3.5% market share and Sainsbury’s 15th with 2.1% in 2018, according to Global Data.” This merger has created one of the UK’s largest grocery and clothing groups, however, Sainsbury’s Tu and George @ Asda will remain separate brands. Supermarket fashion has rapidly grown in recent years due to low prices and convenience and is putting pressure on high street value retailers such as Primark.

George @ Asda was one of the first supermarket fashion brands, launching in 1990, with other supermarkets following such as Tesco’s F&F in 2001 and Sainsbury’s Tu in 2004. Supermarket fashion now accounts for £3.1bn annual clothing sales in the UK (Figures from Kantar WorldPanel, reported in City A.M.).

2) Zara Unveils Futuristic Store

Zara’s flagship store in Westfield Stratford has reopened after months of refurbishment. A temporary, online-only store had been in its place since January, where shoppers could buy and collect online orders. Zara wanted to carry on this concept of integrating their digital online experience with their physical stores so, in addition to Women’s, Men’s and Kid’s, Zara have included a fourth section ‘Online’. Reported in Drapers, this Online area includes:

  • A till dedicated to returns
  • Two automated online order collection points

“Shoppers scan QR or PIN codes they receive when they place orders online. Behind the pick-up point, a robotic arm collects trays and organises the packages optimally according to their size, and delivers orders in seconds.” These robots can handle 2,400 orders at a time, and customers can collect purchases ordered in-store on the same day if ordered before 2pm. The futuristic store also includes:

  • Interactive mirrors which detect the garment being held up by the customer, offering information on the garment, as well as options to complete the outfit.
  • Employees with iPads, advising customers on products and accepting payments on the spot.
  • A self-checkout area with a scanner that automatically recognises the product being purchased (no barcode scanning involved!).

According to Fashion United, this high-tech store is, “Specially designed to transform the customer experience by offering a seamless shopping experience using innovative technology.”

3) ASOS Instant

Drapers reported that, “ASOS has announced the arrival of its same-day delivery service ASOS Instant in Birmingham, after successful launches in London, Leeds and Manchester.” If you place an order before 12pm, Monday to Friday, customers could get this order that same day, costing you only £9.95.

Fashion United highlighted, “More than a quarter of Brits shop online once a week.” Delivery is important with the rise of online shopping, with a spokesperson for Royal Mail Parcels saying in a statement, “Consumers are looking for convenience” (Fashion United). ASOS’ delivery system has a huge number of convenient options such as delivery subscriptions, next-day delivery, click and collect, one-hour delivery slots and free returns.

4) Royal Wedding Boosts Retail Sales

After poor retail sales over the last few months and Easter, the good weather, “has helped boost footfall and sales” as reported in Drapers from the BDO’s high street sales tracker. External factors have a huge influence on retail sales - the sunshine, May bank holiday weekends and the Royal wedding have helped boost sales (especially in occasionwear).

Back in 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding also had a positive effect on sales with the UK occasionwear market growing by 1.1% between March 2011 and March 2012 (Figures from Kantar WorldPanel, reported in Drapers). By the end of August, Springboard predicts that the Royal Wedding:

  • Is set to boost retail sales across the UK by an estimated £195.5 million (+0.2% uplift).
  • Will increase footfall by an average of +0.3%.
  • Non-food which includes fashion will reach £48.9 million as a result of the much talked about ‘Meghan Effect’.

We hope you enjoyed the round-up. Please feel free to get in touch with any stories you feel would be of interest.

Banner Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash