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Posted by: on March 2, 2009

Prospects for DIY

I recently led a discussion with European colleagues on the prospects for DIY and home improvement retailing. Apart from the opportunity of reviewing some of the demand side data, we also considered both operational and strategic responses to the economic downturn in different North American and European markets. What was particularly interesting was that I […]

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Posted by: on January 23, 2009

Good advice?

The most direct recent comment on the present economic situation and the implications for retailers is from the typically feisty Bernard Lewis, founder of River Island (quoted in Retail Week): “The best thing the Government can do is to stay in bed and leave us all alone.”

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Posted by: on January 22, 2009

Tripping the light fantastic?

Some interesting data just published by the Department of Transport on internet-related purchasing and trips in the UK. This confirms that internet-based ordering has increased over the 6 years since the last National Transport Survey Omnibus, (not really a surprise!) but also contains some confirmatory evidence on the size of the UK domestic e-commerce market […]

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Posted by: on January 9, 2009

Online hopes?

(More) discouraging news from the US, where market research company Comscore reports that online spending fell between Black Friday and Christmas Eve in 2008, compared with a 20-25% growth in the equivalent period of 2007. Online sales had been US retailers’ “last, best hope” and this finding is less than helpful. FT’s Lex column last […]

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Posted by: on January 8, 2009

Horsemen, dark ages, apocalypse and all the rest

For those of you seeking New Year cheer, look no further than Pali anayst Nick Bubb’s recent interview with Cantos. My advice: watch with a glass of your favourite alcoholic beverage to hand!

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Posted by: on December 16, 2008

Two down, 321 to go

Following the demise of both Woolworths and MFI, if we are to believe UK insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor, there is considerably more pain to come. The firm has 323 UK retailers on its “critical watch list”, (defined as having a 70 per cent chance or more of failing). In the Times recently, retail consultancy OC&C […]

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Posted by: on December 16, 2008

What price a career in retailing?

At the moment, I guess some would-be recruits would be scratching their heads about this. I was recently asked to write a piece for the graduate careers specialist Inside Careers. Here’s how I put it … “A headline in last week’s issue of the industry’s trade journal Retail Week verged on the apocalyptic: ‘100,000 retail […]

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Posted by: on November 18, 2008

No such thing as a free lunch

Long tails, based on the notion that companies could now profit from variety thanks to the Internet, are becoming a little old hat now. Even originator Chris Anderson has moved on to start talking about a new concept, ‘The Four Kinds of Free’. Actually, there only used to be three kinds, but he thought of […]

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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 November 11, 2008


Following the success of Oxford University’s trials of iTunes U, we are experimenting with new methods of sharing our research, insights and analysis. We’ve already provided links to a number of OXIRM presentations in the innovative Slideshare service in other blog posts (see here for example). But downloaders seem more interested in my presentation on […]

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