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Today’s news in brief-5/7/24

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged Keir Starmer and the Labour Party to swiftly address their campaign promises after their overwhelming victory in the general election, securing over 400 seats with a majority of around 170. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) congratulated Starmer, stressing the importance of delivering sustainable growth. CBI chief executive Rain Newton-Smith highlighted the need for decisive actions on planning reform and boosting grid capacity to invigorate the economy. Jacqui Baker from RSM UK and ICAEW’s Retail Group also called on the new government to reform the business rates system and address anti-social behaviour against shop workers.

Taylor Swift’s UK tour and the Euros provided a much-needed boost to footfall during a wet June, although overall UK footfall decreased by 2.3% year-on-year, according to the BRC. High street, retail park, and shopping centre footfall all saw year-on-year decreases, despite slight improvements from May. Scotland was the only nation to see an increase in footfall, while Northern Ireland, England, and Wales saw declines.

The O2 has reported a 10% increase in sales and a 15.5% rise in footfall in the first half of the year. Outlet shopping at The O2 saw a 15% increase in sales, driven by new openings such as Castore and All Good Things. The Entertainment District also reported an 8% growth in sales, achieving full occupancy earlier this year with new additions like Chopstix. Beauty and sportswear categories saw significant sales growth, with notable contributions from brands like The Cosmetics Company Store, Castore, and Under Armour. The O2’s report with CACI highlighted the trend of “social spending,” where consumers prioritise destinations that offer social interaction opportunities.

The Co-op has partnered with Walmart Commerce Technologies to enhance its online fulfilment processes with the store assist technology, aiming to increase its share of the quick commerce market. This technology will streamline omni-channel fulfilment workflows, improving in-store processes and operations.

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The Cotswold Company has upgraded its showrooms across the UK, introducing Upholstery Hubs to meet the rising demand for its upholstery products. These hubs offer a customizable shopping experience with features like longer drapes, a wide range of swatch fabrics, and new sofa cards. The company’s upholstery sales have surged by 96% year-to-date, with popular styles like Talbot and Morris seeing a fivefold increase.

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