Alan Giles

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Posted by: on January 18, 2010

Hard times for bookshops

“A glamour hangs over the glittering booth, and a tantalizing air of clever new things”. Selfridges? Abercrombie & Fitch? No – Henry James describing a WHSmith railway bookstall in 1888. Today a good bookshop still provides a focal point for its community, a peaceful haven to while away spare hours, and a stimulating environment in […]

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Posted by: on November 16, 2008

Amazon’s Frustration-Free Packaging Initiative

Here’s an interesting initiative, with which all consumers will feel considerable sympathy ( ). Amazon’s focus seems to be to strip away those impenetrable, hermetically sealed transparent plastic clamshells that are used to package so many electronic accessories and toys. There is a clear consumer, and environmental, benefit from this but of course it must […]

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Posted by: on October 31, 2008

Woolworths: 100 not out, or stranded on 99?

In November 1909 the first Woolworths store in Britain opened in Church Street, Liverpool, with the proud claim that nothing cost more than sixpence. With such strong value heritage, one might expect today’s Woolworths to be hoovering up market share from more expensive generalists such as WHSmith, in the same way that cash-strapped shoppers are […]

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Posted by: on June 2, 2008

Carrier bag rage

After an exhausting but satisfying day at yesterday’s Retail Forum I arrived home to find my wife calming down (slowly) from a carrier bag rage moment. The reason: Marks & Spencer’s attempt to charge 5p a bag to carry home £10 worth of items for dinner. Her anger was magnified because minutes earlier they had […]

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Posted by: on May 14, 2008

Tesco expand in South Korea

Tesco has announced that it is acquiring South Korea’s `Homever’ chain for £958m, which incorporates the old Carrefour stores bought by E.Land in 2006. This involves 36 new stores to integrate, which are marginally profitable (but, in a built-up area such as South Korea, organic growth is more difficult so still huge value in the […]

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