Small Retailers Agree: Music is Good for the Shop Floor and for Business

Small business owners agree music is vital to a successful retail environment according to new research. As a small retailer competing with the high street chains and the supermarket giants, it is crucial you do everything you can to make your business profitable. One cost effective and enjoyable way to do this is to use music. MusicWorks, the body of research commissioned by PPL and PRS for Music has revealed its latest findings: 78% of small retailers recommend other retailers play music to improve in store productivity. 53% of small retailers believe their store financially benefits from playing music. The findings also show that not only is there financial benefits from playing music but it will keep staff happy as well: 84% of retailers asked felt that playing music puts their staff i... »

Retailers Warned: Customers Hate Queuing

As the pace of life seems to increase with, for instance, information being demanded with ever more speed, haste is reaching into the realm of retail customers. Research from Barclays and Barclaycard shows that, far from being a nation of politely queuing shoppers, Brits are becoming increasingly impatient with queues in the retail environment. The survey of 2000 shoppers indicates that 20% of those polled will wait no more than two minutes to be served and that a shocking 68% of shoppers will drop their shopping and walk out if they are not served in good time. 51% of those questioned said they will not even enter a store of they see queues of people waiting to be served. The biggest gripes stated with British shoppers’ queuing ordeals were not just the time spent waiting but the ca... »

Window of Opportunity for Best Retail Artists

The finest teams of retail artists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, will battle it out this month to be crowned the UK’s number one visual merchandiser. The ten pairs of visual merchandisers (VMs) compete in student and professional categories, building full-scale window displays on the theme ‘Future of Retail: 2060’ at the grand final of skillVM, the UK’s only live window dressing competition. Held at the In-Store Show (part of Marketing Week Live) on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th June at Olympia in West London, the 20 finalists will create their windows in front of thousands of industry professionals, all looking for the latest and most innovative retail ideas. In the student category of skillVM, organised by Skillsmart Retail, 17 teams competed... »

Will Retailers get More Time for VAT Rise?

The Government is considering extending the current 14-day period retailers have to re-price their goods following a VAT change, so that they have more time to prepare for January’s return to a 17.5% rate. A consultation has been launched on whether to amend the Price Marking Order so that retailers have 28 days to change their price labels when the rate of VAT increases from 15% to 17.5% on 1 January 2010. Currently, retailers are obliged to change the price labels on all their products within 14 days of a VAT change, or risk prosecution. “When the reduced rate of VAT was introduced last December, customers and enforcement bodies were prepared to tolerate differing prices being charged at tills from those shown on the shelf or on item labels,” said a British Retail Conso... »

Retailers get Government Grants for Security

Retailers get Government Grants for Security

Small retailers can now apply for government grants to improve the security of their premises, following the launch of a Government campaign to tackle crime against small businesses. The £5 million fund has been launched as part of the Government’s Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP). Individual grants of up to £3,000 are available to enable small retail businesses to buy security devices such as burglar alarms, security grills, UV markers to detect counterfeit bank notes and dye packs to mark valuable goods. Partnerships of small retailers can also bid for collective grants of up to £50,000 to help pay for equipment such as lighting or landscaping, which the Government hopes will help improve neighbourhood security and reduce the risk of crime. Funding is available to ... »

Christmas Shoppers

Retail sales fall for second consecutive month

UK retail sales have fallen for two consecutive months for the first time in 13 years, leaving retailers anxious for better Christmas sales, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Their research found that total sales were down 0.4% in November from a year earlier, following a 0.1%decline in October. It was the first fall in overall sales for two months in a row since the BRC survey was first conducted in 1995. BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Retailers will be hoping that customers have been putting off Christmas shopping — not cancelling it. With money tight at the moment shoppers can take advantage of the extraordinary level of deals, offers and promotions. The recent VAT and interest rate cuts may also provide some stimulation.” However, BRC spo... »

Retailers Urged to Comply with New Consumer Protection Laws

The British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA) has urged small retailers to familiarise themselves with new regulations aimed at protecting consumers from unfair sales practices. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act came into force on 26 May, banning 31 aggressive and misleading sales practices. BSSA chief executive John Dean has warned that small businesses are not aware of the new laws. “It is a potential minefield for smaller businesses particularly,” said Dean. “There is so much complexity involved in the new legislation and businesses will potentially fall foul of it through a lack of understanding, rather than any desire to flout the regulations. “They have got to read and understand what they have got to do,” he added. “The... »