Microsoft latest tablet surfaces on the UK high street

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The decision to make the Surface tablet available through third-party sellers, hints at a show room future for the high street. Although Microsoft has yet to reveal sales data for its Surface tablet, Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, has referred to figures as “modest”. There are several possible reasons for this slow uptake, one of which is Microsoft’s decision to …

Supplying the last 50 yards of Christmas

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Despite having had 10 months to plan for the festive spending spree, many retailers are not taking full advantage of their shopping outlets. A recent YouGov SixthSense report revealed that UK households will spend £792m less on Christmas this year than in 2011. These findings highlight the need for retailers to optimise all aspects of the supply chain process. Increased …

“The Amazon Economy” – a look at the latest from the FT’s eBook series

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In this compilation of articles and insights, a selection of writers from the Financial Times examine the inner workings of one of the most influential companies in existence. In the space of nine articles, The Amazon Economy touches on subjects ranging from disputes with publishers through to warehouse management techniques. The eBook is scattered with interesting statistics and anecdotes about the functioning …

Making cents of online delivery

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Despite the huge rise in popularity of online shopping, the logistics sector has struggled to turn increased deliveries into a profit. A new survey sheds some light on how the industry can cut costs and keep customers happy. The Hermes’ 2012 Parcel Deliveries Usage and Attitude Survey has revealed that four in 10 consumers are more likely to purchase a product if …

The challenges of seasonal stock

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As profit margins tighten and businesses continue to search for ways to increase cash flow and mitigate risks, reducing stockholding is an increasingly attractive option for companies. One of the main issues raised by this strategy is the lack of flexibility it affords businesses faced with high, seasonal demand for products. Costs of Seasonal Stock Although there are many potential …

The effects of weather on retailers

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Unseasonal or extreme weather often prompts speculation regarding its effects on business. Recently, several UK retailers posted disappointing results which a number of media outlets were quick to link to unfavourable weather conditions. However, upon closer inspection, several other factors need to be taken into consideration.Considering all FactorsJJB Sports reported an 8.7 per cent slump in first-half sales for 2012. …

A multichannel approach to fashion retail

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Fashion retail supply chains are generally acknowledged to be some of the most complex and demanding in the retail sector.The fickle nature of the fashion industry combined with the lead time from design to manufacture and the impact of Far East sourcing all present their own challenges.  In addition fashion retailers have to deal with the complexities brought about by …

Managing disruption in the newspaper industry

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With companies having to adapt to shifting markets faster than ever before, 4C’s Guy Allen considers the challenges facing the newspaper industry. History is full of companies which have failed to react to a change in the market quickly enough. From the slow demise of the UK’s motorcycle industry in the 60s to Kodak’s recent bankruptcy, a failure to embrace …

Transformation –making the case for change

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In today’s competitive global environment, companies that consistently transform will survive and prosper. They once were great – Leaders in their industry with large profit margins, they employed thousands of workers. They grew at what seemed like an astronomical pace. Then something happened, sales started dropping off. Profits fell. They cut employees and closed stores and offices. Finally, they ended …