Welcome to the Ruck Blog!

Hello and thanks for visiting our blog - here you will find interesting articles on what's happening in the world of point sale, visual merchandising and display innovation.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Retail Insolvencies are up by 10%

The Olympic games is giving our economy a well needed boost but two days in to them is the news that retail insolvencies are up by 10% this quarter. Many other retailers are in sale trying to offload the summer season merchandise that just hasn't sold due to the bad weather we've had for months, June and April being the wettest since records began. With well know high street names failing like Clinton Cards, Game, Habitat, Peacocks, and now Julian Graves it's all rather worrying.

PricewaterhouseCooper's figures show that insolvency numbers for retailers is 426 in the second quarter of 2012 compared to just 386 in the previous year. Reasons for some High St failures, apart from the bad weather, are said to be due to retailers operating too many stores and online sales having an impact as people look for better bargains.

However it's not all doom and gloom as other retailers are announcing their profits are up, such as William Hill and Harrods up by 15%, John Lewis at record profits, along with pound shops and coffee brands which are in expansion and opening new sites.

More insolvencies are expected as the remainder of 2012 is predicted to be particularly tough for the retail sector.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Financial Benefits of the Olympics for our Economy

With the Olympics about to start and contracts coming to an end it's interesting to look at the impact of the Olympics on our economy. It's been a big investment so far but will reap rewards for businesses of all sizes small and large over the coming weeks.

So far British companies have been able to access almost £6 billion worth of contracts to build and supply the Olympic games, with 98% of contracts from the Olympic Delivery Authority going to UK based companies. Two thirds  of those went to small or medium sized enterprises.  Over 30,000 people will have worked on the Olympic site to get it ready as well as an approx contractor workforce of 100,000 to be employed during the event - although that figure will be slightly less now G4 have defaulted on their security contract.

On top of that LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) are using an estimated £700m worth of goods and services. It's good news for businesses, despite the overbearing protectiveness of the Olympic brands taken against bakeries for example. It's good to hear that the government wants rules relaxed around this and also are relaxing Sunday trading hours over the Olympics so retailers will be able to make the most of the event.
In a speech recently David Cameron said he thinks the Olympics will generate around £13 billion for our economy - figures based on UKTI studies on the impact of other games such as Sydney.

He said: "I am confident that we can derive over £13bn benefit to the UK economy over the next four years as a result of hosting the games. I am certain that when you add in the benefits from construction the total gain will be even greater."

Goldman Sachs estimate we will see an increase of 0.3 - 0.4 % GDP in the third quarter this year. That's a good stimulus for a flagging economy in times of recession - however temporary or long lived the impact the Olympics will have on our economy it looks to me like a positive thing for our country and for business.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday 13th! Origins in Myth and Impact on Retail

So today is Friday 13th! For those who are are superstitious it's a day to avoid doing anything which might cause the chaos of calamitous disasters the days is famous for! Some people have such a fear they stay in bed - go home and lock all the doors! What impact does this have on retail sales?
It is said that Friday 13th costs retailers in the USA between $800-900 million! Are we that superstitious in the UK and if so why are we so supertitious?

Paraskevidekatriaphobia is the term for people gripped with fear over Friday 13th and the
origins of Friday 13th superstitions likely come from a combination of different myths and legends throughout history.

13 generally is seen as an unlucky number with many buildings missing out 13th floors and 13th rooms, flats and house numbers. It is said if 13 people sit down to dinner one will be dead within a year! This probably stems from an old viking myth where Loki, the god of mischief gatecrashed a party of 12 gods and caused the death of one of the guests... and of course 13 guests at the last supper...Jesus was also crucified on a Friday.

There are 13 witches in a coven, although in pre Christian times 13 was seen as a sacred symbol of femininity and fertility as was Friday. 13 was viewed as a lucky number by the ancient Egyptians and Chinese too. As patriarchal religions took over Friday and the number 13 became negative as the church tried to stamp out prior pagan practices and feminine goddess worship by calling it blasphemous, and witchraft associated with the devil.

But despite all these different theories it seems that the superstition of Friday 13th being a day of bad luck is a relatively new thing starting in the 19th century...a combination of unlucky Fridays and unlucky number 13 hyped up by the media...so maybe we shouldn't worry too much, and it doesn't seem UK retailers need to worry either! We certainly won't be as we install POS promotions instore, it's just another day to us!

If you want to learn more about the origins of the myths and legend mentioned in this blog visit:

Monday, 2 July 2012

The Olympic Effect - The Benefit for Brands

It's just 25 days to the London Olympics! With Olympic themed promotional jobs coming in thick and fast it got me thinking about the impact a huge sporting event such as the Olympics has for brands. Sponsors spend millions; other brands equally spend a lot of money on linking their brand with the Olympics. They spend a lot of time, money and effort promoting their brands and products alongside the huge worldwide sporting event, but is it worth the spend?

Diageo turned down sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympics. Chief Marketing Officer Andy Fennell speaking at Cannes Lion Festival said that 'It's really hard to get a return' in response to why they'd declined and that he thought brands sponsored events mostly due to '....board level corporate conviction...'

Different brands will sponsor the Olympics for different reasons and it's not always easy to measure the ROI. For some it's about reinforcing their existing presence as a top global brand, such as Coca-Cola, others are looking to increase brand awareness globally and increase sales ...but mostly it's about reaching one of the largest audiences. It is said that the Olympics will be the most watched event of the year and that is always going to be hard to resist for many brand marketers. With a well thought out marketing strategy promoting products and brands before, during, and after the Olympics it can have a real feel-good positive impact on brands.  Coca-Cola has a huge amount of adverts going out with sporting icons and music artists such as Mark Ronson, Labrynth, Katy B, and Eliza Dolittle with their 'Move to the Beat London' campaign.

Adidas are pushing their sports as well as leisure wear sales with younger audiences with their ad featuring music by Wretch 32 and footballer David Beckham.

With McDonalds having built the largest restaurant in the world on the Olympic park their sponsorship goes a step further in my opinion. It's half the size of a football pitch, seating 1500 people and will be staffed by 2,000 employees. It is estimated that they will sell 50,000 Big Mac's over the games! This along with a coordinated campaign in all of their restaurants really goes hand in hand with the new green healthier style image they are moving towards. 

It's advertising Gold for sponsors such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola as far as I can see, no matter how hard it is to measure their ROI with this kind of sponsorship. It shows the world they are top of their game, right out in front and silver or bronze just won't do.