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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.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Looking at Scotland's Retail Performance on St. Andrew's Day!

It's St. Andrew's day today, Scots up and down the land will be sporting kilts, eating haggis and enjoying a wee dram. A nice little boost for retailers as the country celebrates but how has the Scottish retail sector been performing in comparison to the UK as a whole?

Buchanan Galleries, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow

With some of the poorest areas in the UK, high unemployment, and large public sector cuts it's not been an easy year for retailers in Scotland as consumer confidence flags. Scotland has the largest public sector employment by population than anywhere else in the UK and facing tough cuts, this seems to be partly to blame. People are just not spending. The last couple of years has seen Scottish retail perform less well that the UK as a whole.

Things have picked up in October with sales up by 1.1% on the same period last year for the UK however it's a different story in Scotland with retail sales down by 2.8% according to the SRC.

Fiona Moriarty, director of the SRC, said: "This really wasn't the result retailers wanted. September's modest sales boost offered some cause for cautious optimism, but continuing concerns about the economy led many customers to batten down the hatches again in October."

It's not a good sign for Christmas trading and quite rightly the SRC and Scottish retailers are worried it is an indication of poor retail sales to come for the Christmas trading period. We do a lot of installations in Scotland for large chains who can carry regional slumps in sales, but the independent shops will be suffering the most. Let's hope the celebrations today raise the spirits and revive the Christmas shopping season for Scotland.

Happy St. Andrew's Day!

St. Andrews Day History & Tradition:

St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland - his day is celebrated on the 30th November in Scotland and has been an official bank holiday since 2007. It is an official flag day, flying the Scottish flag know as the Saltaire.

The day is celebrated by all things Scottish - lots of food (haggis), music (bagpipes), dancing and concerts (ceilidhs), and parades, fireworks and other various activities which happen all week in the run up to St. Andrews day, as well as church services in honour of St. Andrew.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Retailers Christmas Adverts Are Out!

It's that time of year when all the major retailers release their Christmas adverts!


This year there has been a fair bit of criticism for a couple of major retailers. Firstly Waitrose donating their Christmas advert budget to charity whilst John Lewis go to town on theirs received a mixed reception, and being part of the same group that message seemed to be conflicting for a lot of people. However as John Lewis pointed out the two businesses are operated separately and have their own unique values and culture.

So was the Asda advert sexist? Mum's and women do a lot of running about at Christmas, just as Dad's and men do, and focusing on one gender and not another does not by default make an advert sexist. Any retail analyst will tell you that for most FMCG retailers the purchasing power is heavily with women and reaching out to busy mother's is not unfamiliar ground, after all Iceland based their whole campaign for many years on 'That's why mums go to Iceland'. 

John Lewis have a snow romance on the go to the Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I don't think it's had the same impact as their adverts over last couple of years have had. It's hard to buy into snow boy meets snow girl and must go to any lengths to get her a matching scarf and glove set for Christmas, even if the music is great. I think the award winning tug at the heart strings advert of last year's little boy was magic, if a little sentimental...but if you can't do sentimental at Christmas...when can you! John Lewis only started TV campaigns in 2007 but they seem to have become and institution already and eagerly awaited.

M&S, Tesco's and Boots have dropped the celebrity appearances in their adverts, it seems the recession is causing retailers to not be too overtly flashy with their Christmas adverts.

Littlewoods came under a lot of criticism last year for its myth busting of Santa Claus, this year they seem to have brought him back to life, fronted by an angelic looking Myleene Klass.

Just a few of the Christmas adverts by the clients we work with - there will be plenty more to blog over the next few weeks, as the installation of supporting in store POS materials is currently being rolled out nationwide. Christmas is well and truly on its way!