It was a dark month for retail, against a violent and costly backdrop of the riots.
Smash and grab
It was a dark month for retail, against a violent and costly backdrop of the riots. But their resilience shone through – as did the community spirit of many local residents who helped with the riot clean-up. Although many independent retailers struggled to get back on their feet, the multiples’ contingency plans kicked into action, with many of the affected shops re-opening within hours of the attacks.
“When you’ve got violence on this scale you need to draft in the army and pelt them with rubber bullets”
While August was dominated by the looting, another theme this month was the ever-stronger emergence of multichannel shopping. House of Fraser became the latest department store to test a new format, with plans to open a click-and-collect store in Aberdeen. Throughout 2011, multichannel has emerged as a central to retailers’ strategies.
Not only have retailers focused on getting their systems up to scratch to enable them to provide shoppers with new ways of shopping, but the innovative approach that many are taking means clever services for shoppers and exciting times ahead.
Also in August, Blacks chairman Peter Williams was attempting to make peace with disgruntled shareholder Sports Direct, whose founder Mike Ashley had pressured Blacks’ former chairman David Bernstein to resign. Williams’ aim was to steady the ship and enable new chief executive Julia Reynolds to revive the struggling retailer.
Revivals were the order of the day for Jane Norman, too, as its new owner Edinburgh Woollen Millset out its plans for the retailer after it bought it out of administration in June. EWM Group chairman and chief executive Philip Day said the aim was to double the number of stores and expand the brand internationally.
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London mayor Boris Johnson urged big retailers to pledge money towards a fund set up to help small businesses affected by the riots.
- BRC retail sales figures -0.6%