ERT Awards now open

The 6th annual ERT Awards are now open for retailers and manufacturers to enter, sponsored by Euronics, Retra, Blomberg, Miele, Panasonic, Roberts, Samsung and Sony.

The Awards will be made at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden on 14th October.

To enter go to www.ERTonline.co.uk/awards. The closing date is July 15th.

Supermarkets = one-stop shops

Research from Santander 123 cashback credit card has shown that 16% of shoppers now use supermarkets as ‘one-stop shops’ for food and non-food items. 98% of shoppers buy some non-food items from supermarkets, mostly for convenience, competitive prices and to take advantage of rewards and loyalty points.

Most frequently purchased non-food items were clothing and accessories, followed by household electrical appliances and CDs, DVDs or video games. 60% of shoppers would be happy to purchase big tickets items like a holiday or TV from a supermarket retailer if the price was competitive.

Jumbo TVs and soundbars doing well

Anja Kraus from GfK has reported that jumbo TV’s and soundbars are driving the CE market. In challenging times for the TV market, currently down 14% in value, jumbo TVs have seen 13% value growth. Soundbars also continue to perform. In general, audio “connected” devices such as internet radio, docking mini speakers and connected audio systems are doing well.

‘Omnichannel’ approach growing

Figures from the British Retail Consortium show that online sales grew by 6.6% during March while retail sales as a whole grew by 3.7%.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, commented: “Fundamentally, online retailing is still strong but in March it outperformed overall retailing by the smallest margin we’ve recorded… The fact that many of us are about and about or spending time with family can have an impact on online sales over Easter, but there may be another factor in play. Increasingly, retail searches that customers start online finish with them buying in stores. This ‘omnichannel’ approach could be one reason behind the narrowing gap.”

Government to investigate retail

The all-party Department for Business, Information and Skills (BIS) Committee has announced plans to hold an inquiry into the UK retail sector. It will look at the Government’s support for the retail industry, including the response to the Mary Portas Review. Chaired by Labour MP Adrian Bailey, the BIS Committee has asked for written submissions by April 15 on:

- Progress made in implementing the recommendations of the Portas Review;
- The impact of online sales and direct sales on high-street retailers;
- The skills needed for a successful sector;
- The regulations and costs affecting the sector.

Retail sales up in February

Retail sales rose 2.6% in February compared to the same month last year. UK shoppers spent a total of £6.3 billion a week in the month compared to £6.1 billion in February 2012. The Office for National Statistics said the growth was driven by an increase in spending on non-food items, particularly computers and technology products. Online sales also rose and accounted for 9.7% of all retail spending excluding fuel.

4G to give massive boost to retail

Ebay is predicting that the arrival of universal 4G in the UK could boost the retail economy by around £1.8 billion over a year. It is referring to a study undertaken by retail analysts Conlumino, which reveals that the major frustrations for UK mobile shoppers are speed (50.3%) and reliability (49.6%). Universal 4G will help to overcome both these problems.

Olivier Ropars, senior director of m-commerce for Ebay Europe, said: “It won’t just turbo-charge the way we shop. It will truly give us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. That means an extra £1.8 billion of consumer spending up for grabs. Retailers must act now and think about the virtual shop window, to turn this huge opportunity into an exciting reality.”

Gillmans opens 1st LG “Shop-in-Shop”

Cromwell customer Gillmans has launched the first ever LG shop-in-shop concept in Gloucester, showcasing laundry, dishwashing and refrigeration appliances in an LG branded space within the store. LG’s Direct Drive technology is being demonstrated with a cutaway appliance and a video.

Owner and managing director Robert Gillman says: “We are delighted to have been chosen by LG for the first LG shop-in-shop. As a family-run business, we always pride ourselves on giving great value, first-class service with great brands. LG fits into this concept perfectly.”

TV Trends

Latest research from GfK reports that since 2004, 60 million flat panel TV sets have been sold in the UK. However, sales are falling year-on-year. The 43+ sector is the only part of the market to see growth, increasing 10% in volume in 2012 over 2011.

The trend towards large screen sets is boosting the uptake of premium features, with more than a third of the TV market value in 2012 coming from 3D TV sets.

Mark Hamilton, GfK account manager, says: “Looking at December 2012 sales, the flat TV market surpassed 60 million units over its lifetime. With the 2012 onslaught of large-screen activities including the European Championships and the Olympics, we have seen strong continued uptake of 3D and smart TV features. This alone accounted for 35% and 44% respectively of the total market value in 2012. Though the inclusion of these features as standard in most high-end sets means that a number of these will be passively purchased, this does not necessarily reflect the number of consumers actually using these features.”

Argos closes TV shopping channel

Argos is to close its TV shopping channel which it launched in June 2011 on BSkyB. A spokesperson said: “As Argos works towards delivering its ambition to become a digital retail leader, the business has to focus its resources on priority programmes to deliver the key milestones announced to the City in October 2012. Through the process, the future of the Argos TV trials has been assessed and the proposal is to cease operations.”

Argos owner Home Retail Group announced last October that it would be closing or relocating 75 stores over the next five years as it transforms itself from a catalogue business to a leading digital retailer. Home Retail Group aims to generate £4.5 billion of sales for Argos by 2018 and plans to invest £100 million a year in the business over the next three years.