Monday, 15 December 2014

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

Wrigley has a busy year ahead for its Extra brand. It will incorporate Orbit peppermint and spearmint variants gum under a rebrand as Extra. The brand area also hoping to engage a new generation of gum users with the launch of two new soft chew flavours of strawberry and bubblegum. These are designed for younger consumers and will be targeted as parents who want to help protect their family's teeth. The January 2015 launch will be supported by a 16-week TV campaign as part of a £15m investment.

End of Orange Wednesday

The mobile company EE is to end its Orange Wednesday cinema deal. The offer, which allows Orange and EE customers to get two cinema tickets for the price of one on Wednesdays, was launched more than 10 years ago. The company said that customers' viewing habits had evolved and it was "time to move on", with the promotion ending on the last Wednesday in February 2015. With more and more people watching films on their tablets, phones and TVs at home, the number of people using the Orange Wednesday deal has declined. Also Telecoms giant BT is in exclusive talks to buy EE - Britain's largest mobile network group - for £12.5bn.

Apple's Broken Promises

Apple is the most valuable brand on the planet, making products that everyone wants - but how are its workers treated when the world isn't looking? Panorama goes undercover in China to show what life is like for the workers making the iPhone 6. And it's not just the factories. Reporter Richard Bilton travels to Indonesia to find children working in some of the most dangerous mines in the world. But is the tin they dig out by hand finding its way into Apple's products? See it Thursday 9pm BBC1.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Best Places to Work

Want to work for a company with a great culture, excellent career prospects and flexible working hours? Then, you should consider applying to Google, John Lewis, Jaguar Land Rover and Accenture, according to their employees.These companies are some of the best employers in the UK, according to a survey of their workers by Glassdoor. What would you consider to be important as an employee?

The Paddington Effect

Marmalade sales have soared following the release of the Paddington Bear movie. Sales of Robertson's Golden Shred were 24% higher in the week after the movie launched. The brand begun rolling out a new label in October which features the marmalade loving Paddington who is synonymous with marmalade. The film has conjured nostalgia for those who remember the bear from their childhoods, but it has also meant that it has introduced the product to a whole new younger audience. Robertson's is the leading brand in the £40m marmalade market.

Christmas Spending

Residents of North Yorkshire are Britain’s biggest spenders when it comes to Christmas presents, according to a new survey. More than half the householders in Scarborough are likely to spend up to £1,000 on gifts this year.overall festive spending in the UK is on the up with a recent survey from YouGov suggesting that the average household spend for the period is over £50 higher than last year at £822. The survey also found that most shopping was done during mid-December but over a quarter of people would leave it until the last minute and do it on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


The changeable UK weather can have a significant impact on retailer performance. When the weather changes, retailers risk losing millions through low stock levels, empty shelves and disappointed customers. It can lead to unexpected fluctuations in store footfall and sales, shortages in availability, and impact on the costs and efficiencies of the whole supply chain - this is particularly true for fresh, chilled and seasonal products. On-shelf product availability matters - if the UK food grocery sector had 100 per cent availability all the time it would be worth an additional £1.1 billion. Customer loyalty can also be improved - as customers that cannot buy their favourite product three times in succession are likely to change where they shop.

Every Little Bit of Profit Helps

Dave Lewis insisted the long-term benefits to Tesco’s customers will outweigh the short-term effect on shareholders as he announced another profit warning as he revealed nearly a thousand staff have been retrained to prevent a repeat of its £263 million accounting fiasco. Lewis predicted profits for the country’s biggest supermarket could be just £15 million in the UK in the second half of the year. Full-year profits will now be no more than £1.4 billion, a fall of 57 per cent on last year, with UK profits expected to be down by a staggering 96 per cent.

Create Your Own Taste

McDonald's has announced major changes to its menu as sales continue to slide, including an expansion of a test that lets people build their own burgers by tapping on a touchscreen. Industry executives and analysts have noted the growing demand for customised orders, particularly among people in their 20s and 30s. They also note people are showing greater concern for the ingredients in their food. The customised burgers take longer to prepare and are more expensive, and it's not clear whether people will be willing to wait longer or shell out more money for a burger from McDonald's.

Abercrombie & Fitch Boss Resigns

Mike Jeffries, the controversial chief executive of US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, has resigned. The once-popular teen clothing chain has struggled in recent years, as young people's shopping habits have changed.Abercrombie's sales have slipped as teenagers have turned away from its sporty, preppy style towards "fast-fashion" chains like Forever 21 and H&M. Shares in the company have declined by over 22% in the past year as the company has missed earnings forecasts and sales targets. Mr Jeffries has had to apologise for comments which he indicated the retailer's clothes should only be worn by thin and attractive people.
Abercrombie & Fitch Boss Resigns

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Plain Packaging Driving Up Sales

Plain packaging for cigarettes was introduced in Australia on December 1 2012, and placed all control over tobacco product packaging into the hands of the government. The legislation banned the use of all branding, colours or trademarks, replacing the lot with disturbing images and dire health warnings. The name of the brand is also displayed in standardised text. Despite this introduction there has been evidence of a marked increase in youth smoking and tobacco smuggling rates in Australia. Also remarkably, the volume of cigarettes sold also went up for the first time in decades. 

Small Business Saturday

UK shoppers are being encouraged to "shop small" to support Small Business Saturday, which aims to boost smaller enterprises. The event, now in its second year, is backed by hundreds of trade organisations and more than 60 local councils are showing their support by waiving parking charges for the day. Last year, independent businesses took £468m across the UK on the day and #SmallBizSatUK trended on Twitter all day.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

"Cutest" Ever Advert

United Biscuits-owned McVitie's has launched the "cutest ever Christmas ad", making up for lost time as it's the first Christmas ad in more than three decades for its Victoria selection box. McVitie’s said it has invested more than £1 million into the ad, which will air this evening on E4, and run for three weeks.

Luxury Blunder

Mulberry has confirmed its ill-fated decision to go upmarket pushed it to a half-year loss but a return to its lower-priced roots is now "bearing fruit". The British firm best known for its handbags had aspirations of a more exclusive luxury position tried to raise its prices but they were shunned by customers. To now better compete they have brought in a range priced at £500-£800 but still face pressures from many other brands that offer the look and feel of luxury at a fraction of the price.

Harry's Chicken Set To Cross The Road

Harry Ramsdens new range of chicken at home products are set to be made more widely available after a successful trial in Tesco. The range made its debut in 500 Tesco stores and after several months of successful sales the range is set to be stocked by several large wholesalers including 30 Makro stores, 140 Booker Cash & Carry outlets.

Smell You Later

A new fabric has been created using Harris Tweed that will permanently give off the smell of whisky. The cloth has been developed by Heriot Watt University's School of Textiles and Design in Edinburgh and Galashiels. The "smart fabric" has been developed for Johnnie Walker Black Label and Harris Tweed Hebrides. The scent called Aqua Alba has been designed to replicate aromas released from a glass of whisky, known as the nose of the liquid. Fabric technologists in Galashiels developed the prototypes which will enable Harris Tweed Hebrides to offer products using this technology in future. What smell would you release from what clothing item?

By Royal Appointment

The Duke of York visited students from Whitley Bay High School and Studio West School, who are taking part in a nationwide enterprise competition run by the Peter Jones Foundation. The royal, who is patron of the charity, met students who have created new business ventures - ranging from a graffiti-inspired cake company to a school-based community café - which they hope to showcase at an awards ceremony in London in February.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Unilever Scoops Up Gelato Brand

Unilever has snapped up artisan brand Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, as it looks to tap into the growing gelato market. They acquired the brand for an undisclosed sum to ramp up its presence in the category. Positioned as a premium brand, Unilever said Talenti is made with "the finest" ingredients and uses "artisanal methods". Packaged in a clear plastic jar, it comes in 30 flavours including Sea Salt Caramel and Sicilian Pistachio. It will sit alongside Unilever’s ice cream portfolio and brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum. The Talenti brand was founded in 2003 and is expected to turnover $120m in 2014. 

ZX Spectrum Is Back

Retro Computers is looking for £100,000 in funding to start production to relaunch the iconic ZX Spectrum as a new home gaming console, the Sinclair Spectrum Vega. The handheld games controller which plugs straight into the TV will include 1000 games from the 1980s. If the investment target is reached the first 1,000 Vegas will cost £100 each and will be available in April. More than £33,000 has been pledged at the time of writing already with 60 days left to go.

Record Breaking Sales

Amazon says it has recorded sales of around 64 items every second on so-called 'Cyber Monday', one of the busiest days for online shopping.The first two Mondays of December tend to be the busiest as people begin shopping on the internet for gifts. John Lewis reported the best week of trading in its 150-year history and had reported it had sold an average of one tablet computer every second and a flatscreen 40-inch TV every minute throughout Black Friday.The British economy has become increasingly dependent on consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Innocent 15th Birthday

Innocent has commissioned a series of artists to design their very own smoothie bottles in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the brand. In 1999 three friends from uni decided they wanted to create something that would make it a little bit easier for people to do themselves some good. In this time they have managed to serve over a billion portions of fruit and veg to people all over Europe. They also give away 10% of their profits to charity which has lead to support of 53 charitable projects, in 24 countries across 4 continents - and helped benefit 530,000 people directly. 

E-Paper Watch

Sony has developed a watch made from e-paper as part of an initiative to experiment with the use of the material for fashion products. One of the predictions for next year is that fashion is going to play a huge part in shaping the tech industry. The watch face and straps have an e-paper display - comparable to the technology used in e-book readers such as Amazon's Kindle.It means the watch can alternate between several different styles of watch face and strap design & has a battery life of 60 days. Other e-paper experiments being worked on by Fashion Entertainments include shoes, bow-ties and glasses.

Lobster Wars

Lobsters, caviar and venison have long been described as a premium luxury food but due to a glut of Canadian lobster, discount supermarkets are competing to offer the best value on the crustacean. Both Asda and Iceland are selling whole cooked frozen lobster for £5 with Lidl stocking it for £5.99. Britain currently imports 2,600 tonnes of lobster last year compared to 1,900 tonnes in 2009.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Business Birth Boom

UK businesses were created at the fastest rate in almost a decade last year as confidence increased against a backdrop of economic recovery. The business “birth rate”, which measures new companies as a proportion of all enterprises, was 14.1% in 2013, the highest since records began in 2004. The proportion of business “deaths” fell to 9.7%, the lowest level since the financial crisis took hold in 2008. All great news for entrepreneurs and UK business!

Tuck Shop Teen Tycoon

A 15-year-old budding entrepreneur has received the support of the stars of TV's Dragons Den after he made £14,000 selling sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks to school pals in the playground. Tommie Rose, a student at Buile Hill High School in Salford, Manchester, was saving up the money to pay for his tuition fees. His business was so successful he even employed two friends to help run it, paying them £5.50 a day.

Black of the Que

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are set to get retailers back into the black after a mild autumn which has lead to poor sales. The queues online have already started to form for some of the online stores with Currys closing their website last night and placing customers in a queue. With limited stock and huge demand it will be a fight to get the best deals!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Get Ready for Black Friday

Experts are predicting this week ‘Black Friday’ will hit the record books as customers flock to the internet to buy Christmas gifts.British shoppers are expected to spend £363 million shopping online. The American concept was introduced to Britain by sites like Amazon in 2010. Black Friday is named after the day of frenzied shopping in the US after Thanksgiving when retailers traditionally started making a profit.

Underground Argos

Argos has opened its first Underground store 'Argos Collect' which has been designed to give customers convenient access to 20,000 products as they travel around the transport network. Around 4.2 million journeys are made on London Underground every day and it is the digital customer that they are aiming these stores at who want the convenience of click and collect.The new Cannon Street store covers only  roughly the size of a large kitchen in a typical family home. It will be open from 07:30 to 19:00 Monday to Friday, and 09:00 to 18:00 Saturday.

The Un-Magical Journey

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has vowed to act after the Christmas attraction he helped to create was forced to close because of complaints. Hundreds of messages were posted on the Magical Journey's Facebook page after it opened. A number of users complained about the price of admission - the top price for a child is £22.50 - and accused the management of misleading the public.

How The Other Half Live

Here is a list of 16 ridiculous everyday products that are targeted at a very niche but wealthy customer. Would any of these actually sell? Which one would you want to buy if you had the money?

Friday, 21 November 2014


The kind of customers McDonald's attracts in India is very different from other countries. Research shows that in 2003, of 100 meals that people ate in a month, only three were eaten out. McDonald's introduced a 20 rupees (20p) burger called Aloo Tikki Burger, it was essentially the McDonald's version of street food. The price and the taste together, the value introduced, was a hit. It revolutionised the industry in India. Now eating out has gone up to 9-10 times per 100 meals and McDonald's in India has more than 320 million customers a year. There are still families with young children who frequent it. But diners also include many young people, aged between 19 and 30, with no kids.Adapting McDonald's for the uniquely Indian market was a big expense when he started but it has paid off in the long term.

Big Apple, Even Bigger Billboard

Google has become the first company to rent to the world's largest and most expensive digital billboard in Times Square, New York. The billboard is eight storeys high and is estimated to cost $2.5m (£1.6m) to hire for four weeks. The screen, which is the size of a football field, is mounted on the side of the Marriot Marquis hotel. Around 300,000 pedestrians are estimated to pass by the billboard every day. Times Square's brightly-lit billboards are some of the most iconic and well-known outdoor advertising spaces. The billboard was turned on on Tuesday and will host Google ads till January 2015.

Silverlink Expansion

Almost 50 new jobs will be created if expansion plans at Silverlink Shopping Park are given the go ahead. Property firm The Crown Estate has unveiled intentions to extend the North Tyneside retail park in a £29m redevelopment scheme that will see a host of high street names join the existing line-up of shops and restaurants. The proposal will see the Travelodge hotel replaced with extra retail space for four extra units.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Top of the Chocs

Sainsbury's are selling "in the region of 5,000 per hour" of the chocolate bars they have created to support the Royal British Legion. The bar that features in the advert is retailing for £1 with 50p going to the charity, which includes all the supermarkets profits plus a donation from Sainsbury's. The advert however has received 240 complaints with many feeling the exploitation of emotions to promote the firm is wrong and it is disrespectful to those involved in WW1. On the other hand John Lewis' Monty advert has only had one complaint from a viewer worried it would encourage people to buy penguins for pets.

No Nectar Left

Sainsbury’s has announced they will be halving the number of nectar reward points it offers. On the 11th of April 2015, Nectar users will only receive one point for every pound they spend in-store or online. They will also stop rewarding customers with a point for every bag that that they reuse, but will get a point for every litre of fuel they purchase. With 19 million users of the nectar rewards system, it was sure to cause some anger with their customers, but what is surprising is that they introduced this at a time where sales are falling, and their share price has dropped by 7%.
By Ollie Spencer Year 13

Fawlty Towers

A couple were fined £100 by a Blackpool hotel after they wrote an review on TripAdvisor describing it as a "rotten stinking hovel run by muppets". The couple later found their credit card had been charged £100, with the hotel stating its policy was to charge people for "bad" reviews. The policy has since been scrapped and the couple have been refunded their money. The Broadway Hotel is a budget hotel and charge as little as £15 a room a night, they are currently ranked 858 out of 894 hotels in Blackpool.

Argos Going Tinder

Argos has borrowed the "swiping" concept pioneer by the dating app tinder to help launch and modernise its new gift finding app - Argos Gift Finder. The app allows the user to narrow down the gift choices for you and or friends by seeing what you do like and what you don't. The swipe to like function uses an intelligent filtering system which the more that it is used the smarter it becomes. With almost a quarter of sales coming from mobile devices it is clear this a clever move from Argos.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A Terrible Place To Work

Sports Direct have yet again been in the news this time it was The Labour leader who has attacked chain Sports Direct for being "a terrible place to work" because of its high use of zero-hours contracts. Ed Miliband said: "Zero-hours contracts are the way Sports Direct employs the vast majority of its workforce - 17,000 out of its 20,000 workers."Zero-hours contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work and on flexible and unpredictable hours. They do not include maternity or sick pay, nor give employees the right to claim unfair dismissal.

Wonga Cut

Payday loans company Wonga has agreed with Newcastle United football club to remove its logo from children's kit and training wear. But Wonga said that due to kit production schedules this would not be until the 2016/17 football season. The firm's new chairman, Andy Haste, said on his appointment in July that he would review the company's marketing.
Wonga Cut

Shrinking Christmas

Does the size of your favourite Christmas treats seem to have shrunk this year? Well, the good news is that they won’t make you any bigger, because those goodies really are getting smaller. The bad news, however, is that you’re paying as much as 25% more for less. A basket of 10 seasonal goods was tested and all had shrunk in size yet only two cost less. Why are businesses doing this?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Hellmans Not Happy

When does mayonnaise stop being mayonnaise? The multinational firm, which manufactures Hellmann's and Best Foods mayonnaise, is suing a Californian business for selling a plant-based alternative called 'Just Mayo'. Unilever claims the name is misleading, and that Just Mayo, which is sold in major supermarkets, is eating into its mayonnaise sales. When the condiment contains no eggs then Uniliver claim they cannot call it mayonnaise feel they are falsely advertising and creating unfair competition. 

No Ice Cream, No Cry

Ben & Jerry's are marking the 30th anniversary of Bob Marleys legendary album with a limited edition Satisfy My Bowl edition. Rolling out into stores soon it is a banana flavored ice-cream with caramel and cookie swirls and chocolate peace signs. The price will be £4.99 but a percentage of profits will be going to the I Love Project charity.

Golden Apple

Rumours have been swirling that Apple's gold smartwatch could cost as much as $5,000 (£3,150), according to senior company sources quoted by a French website. However the regular models will be more competitively priced. What type of pricing strategy have Apple used here?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sports Direct Gyms

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is to open a chain of cut-price gyms charging £5 a month with a £10 joining fee. It is the latest expansion of his Sports Direct business after it acquired up to 30 sites from LA Fitness. The retailer claimed it would "revolutionise the market" with plans to open 200 sites charging a fraction of its rivals' prices. A flagship gym is to open at Aintree on Merseyside next month alongside a new Sports Direct store, with another to follow at Keighley, West Yorkshire. What type of integration is this?

Waste Free Packaging

From edible water bottles to yoghurt encased in fruit flavoured skins, the packaging industry is getting creative, but psychological barriers persist. According to the government’s waste advisor Wrap, households in the UK threw out 4.2m tonnes of food and drink waste in 2012. Above is the WikiPearl which is a  soft, durable and water-resistant edible membrane, made from natural food particles, designed to protect a bite-size portion of food that it’s encasing. 

Bush Tucker Trial

Iceland is marking the return of the ever popular 'I'm a Celebrity...' TV show with roll out of its exotic frozen meat feast pack. They are looking to attract new and alternative customers with the lean and easy to prepare products. The launch comes as other retails such as Aldi & Lidl show interest in exotic meats which are proving a success due to their high protein and low fat contents.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Under My Air Umbrella

This is a real“invisible umbrella”, which takes advantage of the air flow as shelter from the rain. The innovative product is still in the development phase of production after raising over $100,000 start-up finance through Kikstarter. 

Inspirational Innovation

An affordable inflatable baby incubator, intended for use in the developing world, has won the prestigious James Dyson Award for design and innovation. The product - known as MOM - is capable of providing the same performance as a £30,000 incubation system but only costs £250 to make, test and transport. According to the World Health Organisation, 75% of deaths resulting from premature birth could be avoided if inexpensive treatments were more readily available.

All I Want For Christmas...

The annual Dream Toys Chart , from the Toy Retailers Association, features toys ranging in price from £7.99 mini-figures to a £99.99 dinosaur. Toys that have featured on the industry group's list in previous decades have included drawing set Spirograph in 1967 and the Nintendo Game Boy games console in 1991.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Monty The Penguin

John Lewis have released their advert for their Christmas campaign for 2015. With several tough acts to follow which have not only led to boots in the company sales but have also delivered number one singles it isn't an easy job. Monty’s Penguin is part of a £7m festive store campaign and has Hollywood pretensions. Monty and Mabel have been created using complex CGI technology “to look and behave exactly like real life Adélie penguins.” Take a look at the ad but also the merchandise the company is selling alongside.