Sunday, 22 April 2018

Mixed Fortunes on the High Street

Debenhams has reported another slide in profits and sales after freezing weather in late February temporarily closed 100 stores in the UK whilst new stores are opening on UK High Streets at their lowest rate in seven years, research suggests. But that doesn't mean things are going awry for everyone. There are still some retailing bright spots. Associated British Foods, owner of Primark, has hailed the clothing chain's UK performance as "remarkable" after a boost in like-for-like sales. Retailer JD Sports also reported a rise in sales, which it said was "an excellent result". Chains on the UK High Street have been facing a combination of a squeeze on incomes and rising overheads. Prezzo, New Look and Carpetright are among the big names that have been struggling recently.

Cadburys Coconut

Cadbury announced its coconut version of its classic Dairy Milk and we’re wondering why it took so long. If you love Bounty, then you’ll love the new milk chocolate offering, which boasts coconut flakes underneath its velvety surface. And because you really shouldn’t be munching on a tiny single bar, it comes in a 200g family block size. More for everyone (or for you if you’re not in the mood to share). But because all the good food is available everywhere except the UK, the coconut chocolate bar will only be available in New Zealand. For those who can’t wait for it to be launched here and if Bounty just isn’t cutting it, then you can head to Amazon where it’s also being sold.It might be a bit more than the stuff you get in the supermarket, at £8 a pop, but shipping to the UK is free on the website.

Coca-Cola Frozen

It’s good news for many then that Coca-Cola is launching the world’s first official Coke slushy. Coca-Cola Frozen Lemon has been eight years in the making, but is only hitting the market in Japan for now. Available in pouches, the idea is that consumers will be able to massage it as much as they like to get their preferred level of crunchiness.  It will be sold both frozen and unfrozen, allowing customers the option to take the pouches home and freeze them themselves. The company is so confident about its new packaging, however, that it’s launched frozen Fanta pouches too.

Buy It Now!

Britain’s inventors, makers, and licensees of products are being given the chance to sell their new wares in front of potential customers and the buyers of major retailers in new Channel 4 series Buy It Now presented by Brian Connelly. Pitching anything from toys to clothes to gadgets, each seller has only 90 seconds to get the customers interested – and retain them when they reveal the price of their product – as the customers will be parting with their personal money for the product. This audience are in effect a market research group for a handful of professional buyers for large, well-known retail organisations who are watching the seller and the customers. If the seller makes a sale to the audience they get the opportunity to do business with the retailers, if not they are spun off the revolving stage, making way for the next seller.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Sugar Tax Starts

The "ground-breaking" sugar tax on soft drinks has come into force in the UK. Ministers and campaigners believe it has already proved to be a success with many firms reducing sugar content ahead of the change. But others say it is still too early to judge the impact. Leading brands such as Fanta, Ribena and Lucozade have cut the sugar content of drinks, but Coca-Cola has not. The introduction of the levy means the UK joins a small handful of nations, including Mexico, France and Norway, which have introduced similar taxes. Reaction to the new tax has been mixed with many consumers arguing that government should not interfere in what they consider to be a personal choice. All age groups are consuming too much sugar, with teenagers the worst offenders.  They get a quarter of their sugar intake from soft drinks.Estimates by the Treasury based on market data suggest 50% of manufacturers have reduced the sugar content of their drinks. Earlier this year Coca-Cola announced it will cut the size of its 1.75l bottle to 1.5l and put up the price by 20p. The company said it had decided not to change its classic recipe because "people love the taste and have told us not to change".

Ruby Chocolate KitKats

The chocolate coating is an Instagrammable lurid lipstick pink with the promise of a unique “intense fruity taste”. UK consumers will next week be the first in Europe able to buy NestlĂ©’s four-finger KitKat, made with so-called ruby chocolate from specially selected cocoa beans. KitKat is the first major brand in the UK to feature this innovative but “naturally coloured” new chocolate, made from ruby cocoa beans grown in the Ivory Coast, Ecuador and Brazil.  It was created by Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut - the world’s largest cocoa processor - which spent more than a decade unlocking and experimenting with the beans’ colours and flavours. The flavour is described by the company as “a tension between berry-fruitiness and luscious smoothness” but no extra colours or flavours are added to create the pinky hue, which instead comes from a powder extracted during the processing. It is not as sweet as milk chocolate, according to its creators, with a lighter flavour instead. Ruby chocolate – a fourth chocolate after traditional dark, milk and white – has been attracting huge interest from chocolate connoisseurs throughout the world.

Teenage Tycoons

Meet the teenage entrepreneurs making millions between them. Akshay Ruparelia is 19 and has an online estate agency valued at £12m. Kate and Annie Madden are 17 and 16 respectively and their supplement to prevent stomach ulcers in horses is used by five royal families around the world. Henry Patterson is 14 and his children’s books and merchandise sell in 60 countries globally. Listen to their top tips that have helped them become teenage entrepreneurs.