NCC Load Testing – proof we can take the strain

With several thousand end-users totally reliant on our solutions to run their retail, e-commerce and m-commerce operations, it is vital that our infrastructure is resilient. For that reason, we decided to carry out a number of carefully planned and structured load tests to ensure that our e-commerce operations could deal with the expected peak in web traffic in the run up to Christmas 2013. We appointed the load testing specialists from NCC Group’s Web Performance division, and the tests were conducted in three phases: mid and late October and at the end of November on the website of one of our largest customers. We are pleased to say we passed with flying colours.

If you are interested in the details, NCC have published a case study on the entire testing process and its outcomes:

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:

Retra Golf Day success

We were delighted to have been able to support retra by fielding two teams in the retra national golf day which was held at Brocket Hall on Wednesday 11th September.

Cromwell Team 2, comprising Mark Howes and Ali Badcock (both Cromwell), Simon Cox (Hughes Electrical) and David Baggott (B. Slaney) played exceptionally well, winning the team competition.

Cromwell Team 1, comprising Sonu Kundi (Cromwell), Andy Pallant (Hughes Electrical), Robert Gibbs (Gibbs Home Electronics) and Mike Saunders (Chantry Television) played hard but didn’t have such a good day.

Highlights of the Cromwell players can be seen on this video compiled by Mark Howes:

Our own Marathon man

Dave and Wendy McLaughlin Edinburgh Marathon

Our fittest employee, Dave McLaughlin, continues to run, and run. On 21st April he ran the London Marathon in a time of 3:53:52, and then on 26th May both he and his wife, Wendy, ran the Edinburgh Marathon. Wendy was first home in a time of 3:55:03, followed by Dave in 4:04:52.

Dave’s next run is in 18 days’ time on 21st July: the National Lottery Anniversary Run. This is a bit of a rest as it’s a mere 5 miles. The course will traverse the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Newham, London before ending on the track inside the Stadium. Dave’s been practising doing the Mobot especially for the finishing line photo.

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.