Asda finds an unlikely rival, Topshop shelves its skinny mannequins, Hermès gets an unwanted shareholder and Selfridges aims for the stars.

Atlas mountains put Asda on the Moroccan map

Cheaper than Asda

Cheaper than Asda

Asda may be suffering amid intense price competition from Aldi and Lidl, but apparently it faces an even fiercer rival if this Moroccan business comes to the UK.

In the foothills of the Atlas mountains in the village of Imlil, this convenience store is already gunning for Britain’s third-largest supermarket. Its ‘cheaper than Asda’ strapline is a bold statement, but perhaps would not pass the scrutiny of the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority.

It is unclear what products it sells and its price points because it appears to keep rather irregular trading hours – or it is closed. So perhaps Asda can breathe a sigh of relief.

Topshop’s model behaviour over mannequins

This skinny mannequin at a Topshop store in Bristol caused outrage on social media.

This skinny mannequin at a Topshop store in Bristol caused outrage on social media.

Plenty of retailers have been streamlining their businesses in recent years, but female fashion chain Topshop seems to have taken it one step further.

Customers took to social media to vent their anger after seeing this skinny female mannequin in its Bristol Cribbs Causeway store. Shopper Laura Berry posted the image on Facebook, along with a message asking Topshop to “justify the ridiculously shaped mannequin”.

The retailer said the fibreglass model was based on a standard UK size 10, but its height of 187cm is much taller than the average woman “to have more impact in store.” Topshop has since cancelled new orders of the mannequin. That’s what we call model behaviour.

PETA bags shares in Hermès

Hermes' controversial Birkin bag, which is made from ostrich skin.

Source: Wen-Cheng Liu on Flickr

Hermes’ controversial Birkin bag, which is made from ostrich skin.

Countless retailers get their fair share of bad press at some point in their existence, but luxury fashion retailer Hermès is more beleaguered than most at the moment after animal welfare charity PETA started campaigning against its use of exotic animal skins like ostrich to make bags and watches.

PETA is known for its controversial, attention-grabbing methods and has already succeeded in getting Jane Birkin to ask for her name to be removed from the famous Birkin bag.

But for its latest trick, PETA has become a shareholder at Hermès – and says it plans to fight the sale of exotic animal skins “from inside the organisation.” Bosses certainly won’t be able to bury their heads in the sand at the next shareholder meeting. 

The force is strong at Selfridges

The Star Wars Battle Pod

The Star Wars Battle Pod

What to buy the man who has everything this Christmas? How about a Star Wars Battle Pod.

The flight simulator replicates battles from the film series, enabling users to pilot the Millennium Falcon, an X-wing, or a TIE fighter and swoop over the Death Star.

The pod, which is retailed exclusively by Home Leisure Direct, was one of the products on show at the Selfridges Christmas in July show and will also be on sale at the department store for just £28,000.

While Retail Week has plenty of readers who might easily stretch to that, for the more frugal lightsaber barbecue tongs are also available at pretty much the same price – minus the zeroes.