It’s hard to believe we’re already in July; where has the first 6 months of the year disappeared to?!
As we pass the halfway point of 2015, let’s look at some of the retail stories we could not have predicted on New Year’s Day, and the trends that are likely to shape the months ahead.
- The demise and (sort of) rise of Tesco
2014 wasn’t a great year for Tesco – and 2015 didn’t start well either, with the company announcing the biggest ever loss in its 96-year history in April. However, once incoming CEO Dave Lewis got his feet settled under the table, things started to improve for the supermarket chain, which defied analyst predictions to post lower-than-expected sales falls in June.
- Cheaper by the dozen
There’s just no stopping shoppers’ appetite for low-budget bargains; in May, the Local Data Company announced that Aldi and Lidl are now opening at least 5 UK stores each week – growing at twice the rate of the Big Four supermarkets – while Iceland and Farmfoods are also rapidly increasing their retail footprint.
Poundland is proving another unstoppable force, entering into talks with regulators to acquire fellow discount brand, 99p Stores.
- Apple Pay hits the UK
July is an important month for the UK payments industry, as Apple Pay hits shop floors and restaurant tables for the first time. Though consumer awareness of mobile wallets remains conservative, the fact that major corporations such as Boots, Costa, New Look and Nando’s have signed up to the service, indicates that the industry expects great things in the long run.
- The £1 takeover
A pound can’t get you much these days: 1.3 Mars Bars, half a bottle of shampoo… an entire retail chain?!
That’s exactly what private consortium Retail Acquisitions paid for BHS in March, as Sir Phillip Green offloaded the struggling retail chain from his Arcadia Group.
Despite its name, Retail Acquisitions has a lack of experience in the sector, and its early plans include heavy-handed measures such as the potential closure of BHS’ flagship store on London’s Oxford Street. Watch this space.
- Retail delivery take-Uber
Uber takes the title of 2015’s most controversial company to date, with disgruntled taxi drivers in France and the USA protesting against the service within the last few days. However, it’s not just the travel sector that Uber wants to change; it has reportedly joined forces with the likes of Tiffany and Hugo Boss to pilot a luxury goods home delivery service for designer shoppers.
Over time, Uber’s aim is to combine retail fulfilment and passenger services, to bring down the cost of transporting goods – definitely one story to keep an eye on.
- Honey, I shrunk the high street
They say size doesn’t matter, but everything seems to be getting smaller in 2015. Supermarket chains have turned their attention to the c-store market, while another traditional big box retailer – Ikea – has announced its first UK foray into small format stores.
Even larger retail space is being divided and conquered; Asda has teamed up with Decathlon to launch a ‘store within a store’, while Argos will be rolling out a number of collection points within larger Sainsbury’s supermarkets.
Which stories have defined your retail year to date? Tweet us @Vodat_Int with your views.