Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category

Gunwharf Quays welcomes regional debut outlet store for Ghost London

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Landsec has announced that iconic British womenswear brand, Ghost London, has launched a new 1,624 sq ft unit at Gunwharf Quays, the brand’s first outlet store in the region.

Located between global fashion retailers Belstaff and Calvin Klein, the Ghost London Gunwharf Quays outlet features the brand’s trademark contemporary vintage feel across all designs, including bridal and ready to wear clothing. Ghost London is known for its feminine aesthetic, modern silhouettes, and signature garment dyed pieces, and has opened with an up to 50% off offer across its inventory.

Gemma Casey, Senior Portfolio Director at Landsec, commented: “Gunwharf Quays thrives on authenticity and heritage, qualities Ghost London has in abundance. As an established fashion house with over three decades of trading, it is a great step for the brand to be opening an outlet store, and it is testament to Gunwharf Quays that we have been able to introduce this regional debut. With guests returning, and able to enjoy the complete offer at Gunwharf Quays, Ghost London provides yet another reason for people to shop safely at the premium outlet.”

Nadia Gohir, Digital Marketing Manager at Ghost London, added: “This is a new chapter for Ghost London, and a great opportunity to take our brand to a new audience. The retail line-up at Gunwharf Quays is second-to-none and complements our brand perfectly, and we are delighted to be opening our latest outlet here, as we see the safe return of customers to bricks and mortar retail.”

Kick Game launches first store outside London in Birmingham’s Bullring & Grand Central

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

UK rapper and artist Mist joins Kick Game to celebrate the opening of a new sneaker-specialist store in Birmingham, the first outside of London for the fledgling business 

This week, UK sneaker and streetwear specialist – Kick Game – opens their first store outside of London, in the famed Birmingham Bullring & Grand Central. The store manager, 32, is West Midlands born James McKerdy and the store is creating 10 jobs for local sneaker experts.

To celebrate the brand’s third store opening in 12 months, Kick Game has partnered with British rapper and songwriter MIST who launched the store this bank holiday with a surprise ‘Shopping for Sneakers’ appearance. The new store had impressive queues for the 90 minutes ahead of Saturday’s official opening, as well as queues all weekend with a constant stream of customers obeying social distancing and capacity guidelines. Kick Game gave a special offer to their new store’s first official customer and DJ Gavin Omari DJed in-store.

Kick Game is a UK-based premium footwear and apparel retailer offering the rarest and most exclusive sneakers from leading brands. With two retail stores in London – Covent Garden and Mayfair’s iconic Burlington Arcade – Kick Game’s Birmingham outpost is the first venture outside the capital. The new store is home to an assortment of in-store activations and experiential programming with A-lister collaborations and sneaker reveals in the pipeline, including exclusives for the Bullring store.

Alicia Thompson, Managing Director at Kick Game says: “We are thrilled to be continuing our store expansion with this new store opening. The Bullring & Grand Central is one of the most iconic shopping destinations in the UK and it marks a momentous milestone for our brand, it champions the in-store retail experience that has been so missed in recent months. Our online business has done very well over lockdown, but the physical and experiential retail experience is a huge part of our strategy – and what our customers love. We cannot wait to welcome customers into our new Birmingham store this weekend”.

Earlier this year, Kick Game partnered with supermodel Jourdan Dunn and emerging artist Eva Apio, to launch a charity campaign celebrating International Women’s Day. The two icons hosted a social auction of rare hand-signed Kick Game trainers to champion female style and “sneakerheads” globally and raise proceeds for Young Women’s Trust – a feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women and offering support to those living on low or no pay who want to build a better future.

This month, Money Can’t Buy Happiness rapper and entrepreneur Fredo announced a multi-million pound deal with Kick Game. The partnership deal will see Fredo hosting a number of events and launches at Kick Game stores over the next few years. Kick Game co-Founder Robert Franks, called the deal “Ground-breaking”, stating that: “Kick Game’s revenue over the last 12 months has grown from £2million to £15million, placing us as potentially one of the fastest-growing companies in our sector. This deal is ground-breaking for a business of our kind

Kick Game Birmingham store opening times in line with Bullring opening timings on the website.

Managing information to deliver authentic personalisation

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Jake Athey, VP of Marketing and Customer Experience at Widen

Personalisation. Everyone is talking about it, most people acknowledge that it is important, but very few are doing it well.

When it comes to serving customers today, the challenge isn’t just how to do it well online, it’s how to manage it so well across all the online channels, that the brand remains consistent, and the customer experience is personalised. No mean feat. But for those retailers who are doing so successfully, sales conversions are high and brand loyalty is solid.

Our online world is based on, and gives us access to, a plethora of information. That might be customer information, product data, or a product’s digital assets. Or most likely, a combination of all of these things. And the challenge retailers face is how to manage all of this information — in all of its forms — to ensure the right details and content hit the right customer, on the right channel, at the right time.

The good news is that it’s not an insurmountable challenge. But it requires both the right strategy and the right tools.

The right strategy
When we’re looking at strategy in this case, what we are talking about is having a comprehensive multichannel strategy. One that takes into account and plans the management across every single customer touch point. And at its core, this strategy will leverage information from both customer and product to deliver insights that ultimately lead to sales.

Which brings us to the second part of the solution. In order to get — and effectively use — these insights from the wealth of information and data available, you need to have the right tools in place.

The right toolset will ease the purchasing process: from identifying a product, and checking it’s in stock, through to buying it and having it delivered to your home at a convenient time. But with a growing number of customer touchpoints and expanding banks of digital information, marketers have to be increasingly sophisticated in the way they engage and serve content to their audiences.

Technology at work
Technology plays a pivotal role in creating a central source of truth for content and product data, ensuring that information is consistent, no matter where it’s being used along the customer journey. Providing the same information to all teams at every point in their workflow allows them to create meaningful customer interactions. Digital asset management (DAM) software, for example, helps a company by providing an asset hub for its brand photos, product images, videos, marketing materials, and other assets.

Alongside this asset hub, a product information management (PIM) solution provides a single location to collect, manage, and distribute all the information that is crucial for communicating product attributes such as descriptions, colour options, or product dimensions. By capturing everything in one source, integrated product information is displayed consistently in all locations, keeping everyone and every channel on the same page.

As the retail landscape continues to evolve at pace, the role of technology in managing customers, experience and personalisation will only continue to gather importance. For the retailers who meet this challenge head on and deliver a truly personalised experience for customers, the opportunities are plentiful and the future looks bright.

Record week in trading history for The Boulevard as Northern Irish retail opens up

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Northern Ireland’s outlet retail destination has reported a record first week of trading following the hugely anticipated easing of local lockdown restrictions.

The Boulevard, owned by Lotus Property, welcomed the largest number of visitors to the scheme in its entire trading history, heralding good news for its tenants as turnover taken ranked among the top five trading weeks since the scheme opened; and most importantly, represented the highest turnover achieved outside of a Christmas trading period.

With sales up a staggering 108% year-on-year and footfall up 73%, compared like-for-like to the same week in 2019, the May Bank holiday weekend and the week following, proved a huge success for the scheme and its tenants.

For the tenants themselves, many have confirmed The Boulevard stores were among the best performing in the district, country and even Europe – with many trading top in their region comparable on the same May Bank Holiday period in 2019.

Chris Nelmes, Retail Director at The Boulevard said: “Experience on the site has been nothing short of amazing and customer turnout has exceeded all expectations. We knew from previous lockdowns that anticipation to get back out to enjoy a physical retail environment was high but we were also aware that there still may be some trepidation and caution among visitors.

“This week’s footfall and sales figures combined however, has been truly phenomenal and we are really encouraged that it continued all week long – even in the face of bad weather. We can attribute this to our investment in ensuring the scheme is viewed as a safe and comfortable shopping environment for all, to attract shoppers in the first instance, encourage longer dwell time and repeat visits following a positive experience.”

Alastair Coulson, Managing Director of Lotus Property, commented: “As landlords we are hugely encouraged by the confidence being shown by the Northern Irish consumer – something we have always known to be a strong incentive when retailers have considered The Boulevard as their next location. This has only become strengthened post-pandemic as customers show a preference for a physical shopping experience. Our ongoing investment in The Boulevard as Ireland’s most exciting retail destination has paid off, when we see the trading figures being enjoyed by so many of our tenants.

“We are further encouraged by the continuous feedback from customers that has revealed The Boulevard is viewed as one of the safest, most inviting shopping environments on the island of Ireland as a result of its ground level outdoor mall, zero touch point free car parking and the health & safety initiatives confidently implemented by our onsite team as we navigated how to deliver an award-winning retail experience in a post-Covid world.”

Lotus Property purchased the scheme, formerly known as The Outlet in 2016, rebranding to The Boulevard in 2018.

Carnaby Launches Vibrant Colour Pop Rainbow Installation

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Carnaby reveals a brand new rainbow installation throughout the 14 streets with two bright shimmer disk rainbows arching over the world famous Carnaby Street. Marking the start of new beginnings, the sequin rainbows symbolise positivity and hope and bring playful pops of colour to London’s West End. Made up of 40,000 shimmer sequins, the rainbows will stay in place throughout the summer to bring love, joy and happiness to visitors. Rainbows are a natural phenomenon and mean something different to everyone, with each colour representing a distinct meaning from peace and harmony to spirit.

The rainbow doesn’t stop there… 51 giant hanging light bulbs are suspended in the sky at Ganton Street. The much loved installation lights up in a rainbow of colours, creating a spectacular light display. Newburgh Street, Kingly Street and Foubert’s Place will be bathed in multi-coloured and pink festoon lights and the Giant Plug on Ganton Street is an award-winning piece of urban art that shines out with a series of colourful lights.

In Tennison Court, just off Kingly Street, discover an amazing light show that turns your shadow into a wonderful series of rainbow colours. Known for colourful shop fronts, Carnaby leads on it’s Instagrammable spots including the hard to miss neon pink building on the corner of Foubert’s Place and Kingly Street.

Colourful communal tables and benches have been installed on Carnaby Street, Newburgh Street and Ganton Street providing up to 200 seats that anyone can use to enjoy a takeaway meal without booking, from 11am to 10pm.

Shaftesbury’s Head of Group Marketing and Communications Karen Baines says: “As London emerges from the lockdown cocoon, the rainbow installations in Carnaby are there to help create a brave new uplifting mood to welcome visitors back. Along with the amazing retailers and restaurants, Carnaby is all about creating great experiences and is the West End’s most photogenic hotspot”.

Carnaby is world famous for its colourful brands and their exciting products, and to celebrate the stunning installations some of Carnaby’s shops, cafés and restaurants have created their own rainbow products and dishes.

Image credits: Dave Parry.

Two London locations announced for little dobbies

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

© Chris Humphreys

Dobbies Garden Centres, a UK garden centre retailer, has announced the next two little dobbies stores that will open this year: Chiswick High Road and Westbourne Grove.

The new little dobbies stores will be the first London locations, following on the success of Edinburgh and Bristol. They will be stores 72 and 73 across the Dobbies’ estate.

Graeme Jenkins, CEO at Dobbies, said: “We are very pleased to be announcing our first London-based little dobbies stores, reflecting our continuing ambition to develop and grow the business.

“The little dobbies format is proving very successful, offering the Dobbies’ experience in towns and cities. It has been created to meet the growing demand to shop local from a growing number of gardening and houseplant enthusiasts.”

The stores will open over the course of June and July. They will be horticulturally focused with a carefully curated range of houseplants, as well as convenience and sustainable gardening products, complemented by a range of selected gifts and seasonal products.

For further information visit

imageHOLDERS wins esteemed Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2021

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

imageHOLDERS, a specialist company in self-service kiosk B2B IOT innovations, is celebrating a landmark win during its 18th year of success. The Dorset-based firm has been recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, in the International Trade category.

Now in its 55th year, The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are granted for outstanding achievements by a UK business. Winners have reported benefiting from worldwide recognition, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale. As part of the win, the imageHOLDERS team will be presented with the award by one of The Queen’s representatives (a Lord-Lieutenant either virtually or physically), plus will be able to fly The Queen’s Awards flag at its main office, and use the emblem on the company’s marketing materials, as well as being given a Grant of Appointment (official certificate) and a commemorative crystal trophy. The awards are valid for five years.

This royal recognition is validation of the effort and dedication the whole imageHOLDERS team has contributed over the last few years, particularly considering a turbulent 2020 during the global pandemic. The award will help raise the profile of imageHOLDERS as a brand as well as increasing awareness of how its products can benefit companies around the world, while also spurring the team on to continue to innovative and deliver the highest possible service and products to its clients.

imageHOLDERS was founded in 2003 to support companies with design integration and product development of digital technologies – at the time this was primarily kiosks, plasma screens and digital print. When consumer tablets hit the market in 2012 it was then clear the market had matured and the team reimplemented the original business plan with focus on self and assisted B2B tablet-based solutions that add productivity to business. Over the past seven years, imageHOLDERS has evolved a modular system spanning from phone enclosures to 70” touch screens kiosk and digital signage hardware. The team tailor each order to the customers exact requirements ensuring that they get a fit for purpose solution that adds value to their business.

CEO Adrian Thompson had this to say about the award win, “As a business, we are very honoured to be recognised with this award. imageHOLDERS was set up to provide businesses with innovation-led kiosk solutions that provide real value to our customers.

The award is a recognition of the team effort and culture that runs through the business’s veins to deliver to customers, wherever they are in the world, and help solve their problems.

I am very proud that a small firm in Dorset can achieve great things internationally; when you harness imagination, technology and have a great team behind you”.

Hospitality and leisure SMEs anticipate 21 percent revenue increase as restrictions continue to ease

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

  • SMEs are now more optimistic than pre-pandemic, predicting a 9.8 percent increase in revenue this quarter compared to Q1 2021 – jumping to 21 percent for the hospitality and leisure sector
  • 85 percent of SMEs are planning to invest over the next 12 months by adding staff, new equipment or technology, and ramping up their marketing
  • As restrictions continue to ease, restaurants, pubs and bars expect to busy, with a quarter of hospitality and leisure SMEs anticipating high demand
  • Brits heading out will need to be organised: hospitality and leisure venues expect customers will need book at least five days in advance to secure a reservation

With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease across the UK, new research from Barclaycard Payments finds that SMEs predict a 9.8 percent rise in revenue this quarter compared to Q1 2021 – marking the highest anticipated increase since the SME Barometer was launched in February 2020.

The research, which polled over 670 senior staff working in UK SMEs, also shows business sentiment is starting to look more positive, at 110 points out of a possible 200**. This is up from a low of just 79 points in Q2 2020, and means SMEs are back to the same pre-pandemic sentiment levels of 110 last seen in February 2020.

85 percent of SMEs plan to invest in their businesses over the next 12 months, mainly by recruiting staff, investing in new equipment or technology, and upping marketing efforts. After a tough year for many jobseekers, a reassuring 47 percent of SMEs also expect to increase their staff over the next year.

Over half (51 percent) of SMEs expect an increase in revenues from 17th May, when the next stage of restrictions will be lifted. This is supported by Barclaycard Payment’s acquiring data, which shows that hospitality and leisure SMEs saw the number of payments processed up 105 percent in the last week of April, compared to the first week, following outdoor hospitality venues opening from the 12th April***.

Looking ahead, SMEs are forecasting an 18 percent increase in revenues a year from now, with the hospitality and leisure sector expecting a 42 percent boost. Many SMEs have an optimistic (33 percent) or neutral (40 percent) outlook for the UK economy, which increases to 51 percent optimistic and 36 percent neutral about the prospects for their own businesses.

Customers must book ahead to secure a bookings

Over a quarter (29 percent) of hospitality and leisure SMEs expect to see higher demand between now and 21st June, when most restrictions are expected to be lifted, compared to pre-covid. This is due to customers being less likely to go abroad (79 percent), pent up demand after months of lockdown (66 percent), and visits to hospitality venues to meet up with family and friends (65 percent).

Hospitality and leisure venues taking reservations are currently booked at half (49 percent) of their capacity, with more than a third (35 percent) expecting customers will need to book at least five days in advance to secure a reservation for mid-June.

Summer remains challenging

Despite signs of optimism, potential challenges remain for the coming months. Of those who expect lower demand between now and 21st June compared to pre-Covid, many (37 percent) expect, after an initial burst, customers will hold back their spending until 21st June. Others are concerned that people now prefer to socialise and eat at home (33 percent) or will tire of social distancing measures (34 percent).

However, hospitality and leisure SMEs are prepared for customers once they fully open back up, and have invested in free hand sanitiser (65 percent), signs to remind customers about social distancing rules (61 percent), PPE for all their staff (53 percent) and training new staff or those returning from furlough (38 percent) ahead of May re-openings when most indoor restrictions lift.

Hospitality and leisure SMEs are also looking at ways to increase revenues after a difficult year including increasing prices (21 percent) and investing in improving outdoor spaces (16 percent). 

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “As restrictions lift, it’s reassuring to see the highest level of SME optimism since the SME Barometer launched, with expectations of a long overdue boost for the hospitality and leisure sector. With the confidence to plan ahead, small businesses have turned their attention to bulking up their workforce, as well as investing in technology and marketing. We’re looking forward to seeing this confidence translate into sales, and we continue to support small businesses as they further increase their stronghold in the UK economy.”

Kate Hardcastle MBE, independent expert, said: “Speaking to small business owners, while they’re excited to be back in action, there’s a natural cautiousness about interest dropping off after an initial burst of spending. However, the overarching feeling is one of hopefulness for the year ahead – and with that, a drive to invest in their business and people. What they need now is our support. As we hit the summer months, I would encourage us to all do our bit to help our local SMEs and support their recovery.”

*Hospitality and leisure SMEs include a range of businesses including pubs, restaurants, spas, gyms, theme parks, leisure centres and sports clubs.

**To measure SME sentiment, Barclaycard and YouGov have aggregated SMEs’ viewpoints on 10 key topics to create an overall index score out of 200, with anything over 100 indicating a positive outlook, while anything under 100 is negative. The breakdown of key topics is below, including the change in sentiment score for each category from the Q1 2021 Barometer.

***Taken from ‘all food & drink’ category which contains Restaurants, Fast Food, Pubs & Bars, which have seen an increase of 104.7% in week 17 (w/c 5th April) compared to week 14 (w/c 26th April).

thortful cards partner with Public Health England to help raise awareness of Mental Health

May 13th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Greetings card marketplace have teamed up with Public Health England to support their Better Health-Every Mind Matters campaign, encouraging people to look after their mental wellbeing during the month of May.

Whilst Mental Health Awareness Week takes place between 10-16th May, thortful want to dedicate the month of May to Mental Health Awareness.

As staying connected has been more challenging than ever in the last year, thortful have carried out new research which reveals that small acts of kindness, such as sending someone a card, can turn a person’s day around.

As part of the partnership, thortful’s creative community have produced an exclusive range of greeting cards called the  Are You Ok? collection – the perfect way to let someone know you are thinking of them.

Ranging from funny to thoughtful, and from poignant to slightly cheesy, all the cards of the Are You Okay? collection are sure to bring us closer to the people we love.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign is encouraging people to look after their mental wellbeing by taking a simple quiz to get their free personalised Mind Plan for NHS-approved ideas to improve their mental health and wellbeing. As part of the partnership, thortful will be encouraging people to get their own Mind Plan and visit the Every Mind Matters website to get more advice and support.

Commenting on the collaboration, Andy Pearce, co-founder & CEO of said “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Public Health England on a campaign that we feel so passionately about. We hope our Are You Ok? Collection will help people stay connected. In a time when many of us are still physically separated, a simple card can really brighten someone’s day.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Clare Perkins, Director of the Mental Health Programme at Public Health England, said: “The past year has made it much harder to be with our loved ones and we know that people have felt more stressed, anxious and isolated. As the world begins to open up, it is important to continue to stay in contact with loved ones and share how we’re feeling. We are excited to be working with thortful this Mental Health Awareness Week to help people stay connected and show support to loved ones, and direct people to our Every Mind Matters Mind Plan, which provides simple, personalised steps to help navigate these challenging times.”

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