AO to sell CE

Following its successful stock market debut in February, which saw its value reach £1.6 billion, has announced that it will launch a “market-leading TV proposition before the end of summer 2014″. This will comprise an own-brand TV range at “unbeatabe prices” coupled with an “awesome” delivery service. The company will also be selling AV products, including home-cinema speakers, soundbars and a PVR.

For the full story see:

Latest LDC data on shop vacancy rates

Figures released on 9th May by The Local Data Company show that the shop vacancy rate dropped in April to its lowest level since July 2010. The rate fell by 1% to 13.5% in the month (compared with April last year when the rate was 14.1%).

However, despite this encouraging sign, there remain 51,491 vacant units across UK towns, shopping centres and retail parks.

We are sponsors of the British EMRAs

We are proud to be sponsors of the British EMRAs, the Electrical Manufacturing & Retailing Awards. There are numerous awards for Manufacturers and, for Retailers:

Electrical Retailer of the Year
Leading Design – Cooking Product
EMRA Sales Star – Consumer Electronics
Leading In-store Display
EMRA Multi-Channel Award
Leading Induction/Training Programme for Sales Staff

Each entrant will be scored on the aggregate of points awarded by the EMRA panel plus votes received by Get Connected Magazine readers. We look forward to finding out which retailers have won the awards, and are hoping that at least one of our customers will do very well. The awards will be presented at Twickenham Stadium this Thursday.

For further details see:

Tesco pulling out of CE

Tesco has announced a £1 billion turnaround plan after the horsemeat scandal dented its UK sales. The group posted a 1% fall in UK like-for-like sales in its first quarter, raising questions over its recovery which had appeared to be improving at the end of its financial year.

Chief executive Philip Clarke insisted the turnaround remains on track. It includes pulling out of unprofitable consumer electronics products, which “take up a lot of space and don’t make much money”. Mr Clarke said the shift away from consumer electronics was expected to have a big impact on sales, but was “all part of the plan”.

LG’s ambitious plans

LG has announced its commitment to the independent channel with a number of exclusive premium products and ambitious plans to target Europe with a range of energy-efficient and smart home appliances such as its Eco-Hybrid washer-dryer and A+++ rated refrigerators. It aims to become the No. 1 home appliance brand in the world by 2015.

Cromwell customer Robert Gillman was guest of honour at LG’s recent conference in Berlin. Gillmans are the first UK retailer to have an LG shop-in-shop installed, and Robert Gillman said he was proud to be a LG partner and looked forward to the brand’s continued success.

ERT Awards – give them a go!

Euronics and retra want as many retailers and manufacturers as possible to enter the ERT Awards. You can enter via this URL:

Carphone Warehouse buys back Best Buy stake

At the end of April, Carphone Warehouse announced that it had conditionally agreed to acquire the 50% of its European joint venture with Best Buy that it did not already own for £471 million. The deal will complete in June, with £341 million paid in cash. In addition, Best Buy will take an £80 million stake in Carphone Warehouse, and £50 million will be paid in two equal instalments on the first and second anniversaries of the deal’s completion. This ends the five year joint venture.

Mobile shopping grows, but could do better

According to a survey of 1,000 UK smartphone and tablet users conducted by e-commerce and digital marketing solutions provider EPiServer, almost two-thirds of smartphone and tablet users access websites on a daily basis and more than a half shop via their mobile device at least once a week.

However, half of shoppers are encountering problems with the mobile e-commerce experience. The biggest problems are site upload speed; having to navigate both horizontally and vertically to view the page; difficulty logging in; links that are too small; and inability to easily complete transactions. The study suggests that retailers risk losing significant business by not meeting these mobile expectations, with 54% of consumers leaving the mobile site when they run into difficulty and over a quarter (28%) turning to a competitor.

Further details on:

Panasonic made a loss again

Panasonic has announced a net loss of ¥754.3bn (£4.8bn) for the year to March 31st 2013, nearly matching the previous year’s record loss of ¥772.2bn (£4.95bn). It said the electronics industry continued to be “severe”, with sluggish demand in flat-panel TVs, especially in Japan. For 2014, it predicted a net income of ¥50bn.

Hughes: further expansion

Cromwell customer, Hughes Electrical, has expanded again – acquiring the business and premises of Plummer Bros in New Road, North Walsham, Norfolk. It will replace Hughes’s current store in the market place in about 10 months’ time.

The new store will have 1,700 square feet of retail space, allowing for the display of a much broader range of products. It will also provide a dedicated warehouse for the Click & Collect service available via the Hughes website, which is developed by Cromwell.

Hughes’s MD, Robert Hughes, said: “This represents a significant investment for us and we are confident it will be a real boost for North Walsham… we firmly believe there is room for successful companies to expand in this area as long as they continue to provide outstanding customer service and make their stores pleasant places to visit. This year, we have already doubled the size of our outlets in Lowestoft and Cambridge, as well as opening a new store in Spalding.”