Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category

Gym+Coffee continues expansion with new Clubhouse in Belfast

August 2nd, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Gym+Coffee continues to look to the future as it plans to double its staff across the company’s HQ and retail stores by the end of 2021.

Ireland’s athleisure brand, Gym+Coffee, has announced plans of continued expansion with a new clubhouse location in Belfast at Victoria Square. Opening its doors on August 7th, the store marks the company’s 10th clubhouse to date and the first in Northern Ireland as the brand increases its presence with retail spaces in the UK after two openings in London and Manchester in the last year.

The 2300-square-foot store features an interactive community wall amongst the brand’s vibrant collection of athleisure and activewear. The opening will create 15 jobs in the area which is part of the huge growth of the young company.

Co-Founder Diarmuid McSweeney said: “A store in Belfast has been long overdue and we’re thrilled that we can accommodate the demand from our customer base to open a clubhouse in the city. Much like our other stores, it will be more than a place to buy clothing but a hub for the community to meet, socialise and get active which will be even more in demand after over a year in lockdowns. The future plans for the brand are very much led by our passion to Make Life Richer and we’re excited to see that continue to grow globally.”

The brand hopes to double the current number of HQ staff to 50 employees by December of this year. In retail stores the current figure of 85 team members is expected to reach almost 120 by the end of the year following the opening of three new clubhouses. This will bring the total number of employees from 110 to 170 by the end of 2021, a number that is expected to grow to 250 by the end of 2022.

Coinciding with announced expansion plans the company has rolled out several leading benefits for its team members. This includes the launch of six months fully paid maternity leave for all full-time employees including retail store managers, an initiative that puts the brand far ahead of the industry standard. This will also be offered in the in the unfortunate circumstance that an employee experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth. Further new initiatives also include one month fully paid paternity leave for new fathers and a commitment to a hybrid working model which allows staff to work two days a week from home following the end of lockdown.

Shaftesbury announces the arrival of emerging sustainable vintage store, Dunno. Curated

July 30th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Shaftesbury announces the arrival of Dunno. Curated, a brand new vintage store that opened at 8 Berwick Street on the 27th of July. The store will contribute to the diverse array of independent brands in the area and boasts a spacious 460 sq ft.
Samantha Bain-Mollison, Retail Director, Shaftesbury says: “We are delighted to welcome Dunno. Curated to Soho. This refreshing new vintage store will offer visitors an exciting collection of exclusive vintage designs. As a brand they are committed to sustainability at every aspect of their supply chain, with this critical conscious approach they are a welcome addition to our portfolio of sustainable brands.”

Dunno. Curated Owner Dylan Cross says, “Soho is the single greatest community of creatives arguably in the world. At Dunno., our number 1 goal is to become a part of this community.”

Dunno. Curated is an independent, unisex store which offers specially curated vintage fashion with streetwear. The shop will bring an exciting new sustainable retail experience to the heart of Soho. The opening collection consists of handpicked vintage apparel, handcrafted reworked and upcycled workwear and streetwear, and a unique selection of rare sneakers.

Dunno. Curated’s ethos stems from the Parisian style, where to successfully curate an outfit from head to toe, you must look at an outfit holistically and not just the sum of individual pieces. Leaning into this idea, they have created the “Dunno: Head to Toe”, where customers are challenged to purchase an entire outfit in the store. Upon successful curation of an on trend outfit the customer will be gifted 20% off their next purchase and a polaroid picture will be added to the “Dunno Head to Toe, Hall of Fame.”

Dunno. Curated Owner Jamie Cameron says, “Dunno. Curated isn’t a vintage store. It’s a modern clothes boutique with vintage at its core.”

The vintage industry is recognised to be inherently more sustainable than the alternatives. However, Dunno. Curated refuse to be ‘sustainable by default,’ and are focused on going above and beyond at every point of the supply chain. From customer packaging to the materials used to build the store. Dunno. Curated believe in sharing ‘sources’, a belief which is not often found in the competitive vintage clothing industry. This belief aims to encourage younger generations to start selling vintage clothes for a sustainable future for the fashion industry.

Visit the store at 8 Berwick St, London W1F 0PP.

Joint agents Hanover Green Retail, Nash Bond and Cushman & Wakfield acted on behalf of Shaftesbury.

Oxford becomes DPD’s first all-electric city

July 30th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

  • All deliveries in the city will be made by electric vehicles from 27th July.
  • New Bicester eco-depot will have fleet of 40 electric vehicles to serve city.

DPD has confirmed that all future parcel deliveries in Oxford will now be made with only electric vehicles.  On 27th July, Oxford became DPD’s first all-electric city, with 9 further UK ‘green cities’ to be confirmed this year.

Vision 25 is DPD’s pledge to deliver ‘green’ to 25 major UK towns and cities, covering 25% of the UK population by 2025, and is backed by a £111m investment in electric vehicles. The initiative will deliver 42,000 tonnes of CO2 savings for the UK, or the equivalent of planting 170,000 trees by the end of 2025.

All Oxford parcel deliveries will be made from DPD’s new, state-of-the-art Bicester eco-depot. The huge new 60,000 sq ft hub at Symmetry Park is DPD’s first ‘net zero carbon in construction’ building, as regulated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC). The depot has a fleet of 40 electric vehicles, and they will deliver over 15,000 parcels a week right across the city.

The new facility was officially opened in June 2021 by double Olympic and nine times world champion track cyclist, Victoria Pendleton and is the most sustainable facility in DPD’s UK network.  Once fully operational, the depot could create up to 250 new jobs.

Vision 25 was announced in October 2020 and is part of a Europe-wide drive by DPDgroup involving 225 urban areas in 20 different countries. In the UK, the other 24 towns and cities included in the initiative will be; Birmingham, Bradford, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Reading, Sheffield, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent.

Vision 25 is part of DPD’s strategy to be the most responsible and sustainable city centre delivery company and a leader in the move to electric vehicles in the UK.  In May the firm announced the roll-out of a major new air quality monitoring programme across 6 of the biggest cities in the UK.  While in June, DPD agreed a deal with vehicle manufacturer MAXUS for 750 e DELIVER electric vans, which will take the firm’s total UK EV fleet to over 1,700 EVs on the road by the end of the year.

DPD’s Head of CSR, Olly Craughan, commented, “This is a landmark day for us.  To be able to say we can now deliver to a city the size of Oxford, using only electric vehicles, is a huge leap forward not only us, but for the sector as a whole. And we are on track to repeat this in nine more cities this year.  We’ve been working with electric vehicles for the past three years and we have learned a lot in that time.  As well as investing in the vehicles themselves, we’ve created a whole new smart delivery system around them, including the charging infrastructure.

“Bicester is the greenest and most sustainable facility in our UK network and it is right that we start the roll-out of our 25 green cities here, at a time when Oxford itself is taking a huge step with the Zero Emission Zone pilot due to be launched later this year. Our whole approach to sustainability is about joining up the dots beyond just buying electric vehicles.  And that means working with others on initiatives like city centre emissions schemes and measuring air quality.  With this approach, we will be helping reduce emissions one city centre at a time, starting with Oxford.”

Full details of all of DPD’s sustainability initiatives can be found on its dedicated green website:

Trio of retailers renew commitment to Liverpool ONE

July 29th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has announced three new deals with existing operators at Liverpool ONE.  Totalling over 25,000 sq ft of space, the signings with New Look, Skechers and Kenji are a robust show of commitment from brands to the destination.

New Look, the global fashion retailer, is relocating to a 20,000 sq ft flagship store (trading space 15,000 sq ft) on South John Street. Set to launch in autumn 2021, the spacious new location will be stocked with New Look’s signature trend-led pieces at accessible prices, in an inclusive range of fits and sizes.  From activewear to occasion wear, the store will offer New Look’s extensive womenswear collections, alongside its 915 collection for children and teenagers.

Skechers, the lifestyle and athletic footwear and apparel brand, has renewed the lease for its 3,578 sq ft regional flagship on lower South John Street, adjacent to Zara. Skechers’ Liverpool ONE store stocks the brand’s full product range for men, women, and children.

Completing the trio of brands continuing to commit to Liverpool ONE is Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand Kenji, which has signed to make South John Street its permanent home after a successful ten months of trading from its 1,500 sq ft unit. The concept store will continue to blend retail, leisure and hospitality into its mini-arcade format, alongside its high-quality collection of homewares, stationery and gifts.

A spokesperson at New Look commented: “Our new Liverpool ONE store is in a key location for our customers in the region. While the retail landscape continues to evolve, we believe a high-quality store experience will always be crucial to our success. We are pleased to be strengthening New Look’s offering at Liverpool ONE from this new location and look forward to welcoming customers from autumn.”

Alison Clegg, Managing Director, Asset Management, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, added: “Ensuring we are continually meeting the needs of our existing tenants and providing opportunities for long-term success is a key focus for Liverpool ONE. New Look has proven to be a strong performer for many years, so it is fantastic to work with the brand to reposition and enhance its presence. We are also pleased that Skechers and Kenji are endorsing their successful experience at Liverpool ONE with extended leases.”

New Look is currently trading from a temporary unit at Liverpool ONE on upper South John Street to ensure customer demand is met while its new home is fitted out.

Metis and CBRE acted for Liverpool ONE, while CBRE represented New Look and Kenji dealt direct.

Hawley Wharf Camden secures a knockout signing with Camden Boxing Club addition

July 29th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

London property investment company, LabTech, has announced the signing of independent boxing group, The Boxing House, which will be bringing its latest brand, Camden Boxing Club, to Hawley Wharf Camden, the new 580,000 sq ft mixed-use development in Camden Town.

Comprising two floors over ground and basement levels, Camden Boxing Club will span circa 6,500 sq ft, with two bespoke, double-boarded boxing rings, for a professional boxing experience. Aiming to inspire individuals of all levels about the art of boxing, Camden Boxing Club is set to open in Hawley Wharf Camden at the end of August. The new concept will join The Boxing House’s existing brand, Rathbone Boxing Club, which already operates in Fitzrovia, central London.

Camden Boxing Club offers authentic boxing, rather than boxercise or boxing-inspired classes. Tailored to every fitness and skill level, the new brand’s classes and personalised PT sessions are focused on developing new skills, learning new disciplines, and instilling a passion for the sport. The specific, technique-led sessions overseen by esteemed professional boxing coach, Adam Booth, are offset with luxury amenities, such as L:A Bruket toiletries and a sauna and steam room, bringing Rathbone’s welcoming ethos to Camden Boxing Club without compromising on creature comforts.

Commenting on the signing, Jonny Perkins, Retail Asset Manager at LabTech said: “At Hawley Wharf Camden we are curating a world-class destination, combining best in class retail, dining, leisure, offices and residential offers – a complete mixed-use community. Boxing is one of the fastest-growing workouts across the fitness scene, and Camden Boxing Club’s signing is on trend with what office workers and residents desire within their locality. When building our leisure offer, we have sought out operators that reflect the unique nature of both the local area and the emerging development, and Camden Boxing Club, with its passionate approach to skill-based boxing, fits this bill.”

Manya Klempner, Co-founder of The Boxing House, added: “At Camden Boxing Club we have taken the DNA of spit-and-sawdust gyms – the community, the training pedigree, the respect for the sweet science – and added some luxury trappings.  The secret to our success is truly understanding our patrons while still honouring the sport.  Since Rathbone Boxing Club’s initial opening in 2019, we have seen our popularity skyrocket, and we are proud to now be bringing our unique blend of skill-based boxing to Hawley Wharf Camden; an iconic new development set in the heart of North London, that strongly reflects our core character. We can’t to wait to #FightTogether!”

Colliers and CBRE represented Hawley Wharf Camden. The Boxing House represented themselves.

How streamlining internal communication can increase efficiency for retailers

July 28th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Martyn Jones, CCO, VoCoVo

With online shopping peaking in recent months, the expectations of seamless and personalised in-store experiences are greater than ever, with Millennials and Gen Z in particular less tolerant and forgiving when it comes to slow in-store experiences. For bricks and mortar stores, the bar is higher than ever before, making dropping the ball on the customer experience not an option. Leveraging internal communications tools is key to improving efficiency and delighting customers with the best possible shopping, buying and transaction experience.

Effectively responding to shop floor demand

Especially during peak times, the checkout experience can be underwhelming for customers. Seeing a long queue with only one till open can quickly lead to frustration, and perhaps basket abandonment. Equally, unavailable, unknowledgeable, or nowhere-to-be-found staff on the shop floor are amongst common customer complaints and causes for walkouts.

Connecting employees via technology has the potential to significantly reduce wait times across the customer experience, with internal communication tools breaking down inter-department silos and improving collaboration between different teams.

It also saves time and improves efficiency by removing the need to cross the store or visit the stockroom to check product availability or order status. Being able to instantly obtain information from different departments means customers have their questions answered quicker, improving their overall in-store experience.

Empowering employees

Retailers face a number of security challenges on a daily basis, including stores being regularly targeted by thieves. Putting the spiralling cost of shoplifting aside, there is also an issue of violence and abuse towards workers. Work environments should be a safe place for members of staff and when it doesn’t feel like one, employee morale and productivity suffer.

Beyond improving customer service, secure communication methods can also help empower workers and make them feel safer, resulting in increased efficiency and customer satisfaction. Being able to keep in close contact with colleagues, enabling them to quickly call for help when dealing with a difficult customer for example, means employees feel supported, protected, and more confident when dealing with challenging situations. This positively impacts the bottom line too, as employees who feel more connected to their colleagues and their job are more likely to stay on for longer, reducing turnover and the need for fresh hires and new training. Additionally, customers whose queries or complaints are handled quickly by confident and knowledgeable store colleagues can often turn into loyal, brand advocates.

Every second counts 

In a busy retail environment, time equals money. By leveraging internal communication tools in-stores, employees can better address customer pain-points, make on-the-fly adjustments for inventory or get important information in seconds from their colleagues across the store.

Connected stores enable retailers to maximise efficiency, providing seamless and superior experiences for their customers as a result. They also empower employees to succeed at dealing with more difficult issues, improving their morale. If bricks and mortar stores streamline their communication methods, then they will be better equipped to compete with convenient e-commerce and prosper in the future.

Xscape Yorkshire signs F&B trio

July 28th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

Landsec has announced the signing of three F&B operators – Five Guys, Taco Bell, and Pollo To Go – at Xscape Yorkshire in Castleford.  These new signings demonstrate the continued draw of the destination, for brands and customers alike, building on the existing offer and delivering exciting new dining choices for visitors to Xscape Yorkshire and the adjacent Junction 32 Outlet.

Premium burger brand, Five Guys, has added to its growing UK portfolio with a 2,347 sq ft unit. The restaurant will feature the item customisation Five Guys is renowned for, with a fresh and high-quality ‘burger and fries’ offer, alongside hot dogs and ‘hand spun’ milkshakes, available from this Autumn.

Adjacent to Five Guys, global fast food brand Taco Bell has secured a 1,599 sq ft restaurant space. Taco Bell makes fresh to order, Mexican-inspired items, including fan favourites such as quesadillas, tacos, nachos, burritos, and churros.

Pollo To Go is a concept from the team behind Yorkshire-based Tomahawk Steakhouse, specialising in chicken and shawarma. Their menu features an array of kebabs, burgers, chicken, and Parmo – the Teesside delicacy combining breaded chicken, bechamel sauce, and cheese. The Xscape Yorkshire site will be its third in the UK, and first not on a high street, covering 967 sq ft and is set to open this Summer.

Commenting on the lettings, Russell Loveland, Senior Portfolio Director at Landsec, said: “Enhancing and diversifying our food and beverage offering is something we are looking to do across our entire portfolio, and at Xscape Yorkshire these three signings help us do just that. Whether enjoying one of our many leisure experiences here, or outlet shopping over the road at Junction 32 Outlet, the combination of Five Guys, Taco Bell, and Pollo To Go add great variety, and we know that Pollo to Go’s Yorkshire twist will appeal to our guests. We are working to provide brand partners like Pollo To Go with opportunities to realise their potential in new spaces and are excited for them to open their first-of-its-kind unit.”

Sadie Eggleston, Area Manager for Pollo To Go, commented: “Our brand was born during last year’s lockdown, and we have come a long way. To sign for our third UK site, and first outside of the traditional high street setting, is an indication of the growing interest in our food, which has been incredibly popular with customers over the past year. We are delighted to be joining an established leisure destination, and look forward to bringing the Pollo To Go offer to Castleford.”

BKL Property Consultants and Pudney Shuttleworth acted for Landsec. Five Guys, Taco Bell, and Pollo To Go dealt direct.

Over one third of online shoppers will only associate with responsible brands

July 28th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

More than one third (35 per cent) of online shoppers in the UK will only associate with ‘responsible’ brands – including those that treat staff fairly, source goods ethically, and do not misuse consumer data. This is according to new research into online shopping behaviour and ethics from, the global commerce search and discovery platform.

The data, which was obtained via a Censuswide survey of 4,000 online shoppers from the UK, also revealed that half of consumers (47 per cent) prefer to shop with brands they trust, and 22 per cent will pay more for the brands they trust.

In fact, 40 per cent of surveyed shoppers said that they don’t like being asked for unnecessary or sensitive data, and 37 per cent said that they would like more control of the data that businesses have on them, due to an inherent mistrust around how their data is being harvested, used or sold by these brands.

The survey also revealed that 31 per cent of online shoppers prefer to associate with brands that are green, and use ecological packaging in their deliveries, and 37 per cent actively try to order local, or national, to reduce their carbon footprint.

The appetite for online shopping has not slowed down either, the research concluded. For example, 49 per cent of consumers revealed that they will not stop shopping online, even now that lockdown has lifted, and 30 per cent even revealed that ‘online’ will be their default option for 100 per cent of their shopping moving forward.

Conversely, only 13 per cent don’t consider their online shopping behaviour to have an environmental impact, and 20 per cent don’t think about the environment at all when buying online.

Angel Maldonado, Founder & CEO, commented: “The appetite for ethics and responsibility in online brands is clearly surging, and competition is fierce when customers have a plethora of options, should they realise that their ‘favourite’ brand is not treating staff fairly, sourcing goods responsibly, or utilising customer data ethically.

“To convey trustworthiness, businesses need to adopt a transparent approach to their operations and communicate these intentions in every aspect of what they do. This requires brands to invest in a website and search and discovery function that is efficient and private by design, whilst remaining open and honest about how they use customer preferences and where they source goods and services.”

How Biometric Technology and Analytics are helping retailers bounce back

July 27th, 2021 | Latest News | 0 Comments

By Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy UK and Ireland at Spitch

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the last year has created a lot of new needs for consumers and business owners alike. With the pandemic forcing non-essential retailers to close their doors for the majority of 2020, many were forced to face the realities of e-commerce strategies.

This did create opportunities for creativity, with even the smallest retailers embracing new solutions such as digital wallets, open banking, voice recognition and artificial intelligence. All of these technologies have experienced an adoption boom over the last twelve months as retailers moved their focus almost exclusively online.

E-commerce has changed the way that customers have shopped drastically and as a result, customer expectations have changed. So, what is it that customers are looking for from an e-commerce experience?

  1. Preference for self-service technologies

Customer expectations have been evolving over a number of years but no more so than during the pandemic. While face to face interactions were once the markers of a positive retail experience, the renewed focus on hygiene and a growing familiarity with e-commerce has changed the landscape. Customers are now much more readily engaging with e-commerce sites, a change that is predicted to be permanent, even after the pandemic ends.

The rise in e-commerce has led to an increasing preference for self-service technologies like AI chatbots and agents. Voice technologies are also working to improve customer experiences with automated call centres utilising language processing to service customers. It is even happening in the home, with people turning to their Alexa’s to make snap Amazon purchases. These technologies allow customers to buy products and gain assistance with their enquiries without interacting with another human being. This means that they can get help at any time, improving the customer experience and also reducing costs for businesses.

  1. Positive customer experience

Despite the growing trend towards self-service, the significance of maintaining a positive customer experience is still paramount. As businesses expand their e-commerce offering, they need to be able to balance good customer service by adding new channels and touchpoints to the customer journey for example manned chatbots on websites or an automated helpline for returns or enquiries. Businesses that can do so are much more likely to be secure in the future with buyers willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Technology such as conversational analytics allows businesses to analyse all the channels of interaction in the omnichannel environment, whether voice, text or even social media. This means that you can infer characteristics such as emotional state and personality from a customer’s tone of voice. In turn, this gives companies the ability to mould their customer service to their customers more effectively, resulting in greater customer satisfaction.

  1. Secure Data

With increased exposure to customer’s financial information, e-commerce comes with greater risk in terms of cybersecurity breaches. Customers looking to carry out a transaction expect the business to be able to keep that information safe. In the same way that many adopt two-factor authentication to secure online purchases, technology such as voice biometrics can also help to identify customers over the phone. This helps to keep their data safe and secure without delaying the process, improving customer experiences and security simultaneously.

Moving forward retailers need to invest in multiple touchpoints, and an omnichannel approach is becoming self-evident for businesses that want to survive long-term. Biometric technology and analytics are helping to make brands more accessible to customers than ever before and giving businesses the tools they need to attract and retain customers now and in the future.

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