Fashion market changed forever says Asos CEO as profits climb
Online fashion retailer Asos has reported strong trading for the four months to 30 June, a period when consumers continued to face restrictions on their movements and use of traditional stores.
UK retail sales were valued at £526.4m, a 60% increase on the same period last year. The figures represent a 36% increase in underlying sales when adjusted for prior year returns. Total retail sales to 30 June were valued at £1.2bn, a 26% increase on this period in 2020. Total adjusted group revenue was up by 21%.
Growth has come from an increase in the company’s active customer base, which has grown by 1.2 million people over the last year, and a reshaped product mix. There was increased promotional activity in the UK to maintain demand as physical stores reopened and restrictions were eased.
“Asos has delivered another strong performance against a backdrop of continued social restrictions and global supply chain pressures, and I would like to thank our Asos team members for their continued commitment, resilience, and enthusiasm through the pandemic,” says Asos CEO Nick Beighton.
“Although mindful of the continued impacts of the pandemic on our customers in the short term, we believe that the structure of the global ecommerce fashion market has changed forever, which will drive an increase in online fashion sales over the long term. We’re excited about the size of the prize ahead of us and the opportunity of delivering on our ambition of being the number one destination for fashion-loving 20-somethings.”
The group has just formed a joint venture with US retailer Nordstrom to drive growth in North America, with Nordstrom acquiring a minority interest in the Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT brands.
Asos says it expects volatile conditions to continue due to the rapidly evolving Covid-19 situation worldwide.
Family ties for Virgin Media campaign
Virgin Media launched the second instalment of its ‘Faster Brings us Closer’ campaign on ITV tonight.
The brand’s latest ad stars emerging artist Lava La Rue and is based around the concept of two generations coming together over a shared love of music, powered by a fast broadband connection. The ad is part of an integrated campaign, created by Adam & Eve DDB, that will run for four months across multiple channels.
The film follows a budding singer-songwriter, played by La Rue, who stumbles across a 1990s track recorded by her father and dedicated to her as a child. She remixes the track before playing it on stage in tribute to her father.
“The ‘Faster Brings us Closer’ series fuses Virgin Media’s purpose of ‘building connections that really matter’ with what the brand is known for most – speed – and the second chapter of this campaign tells us another familiar story of connection,” says Virgin Media executive director of brand and marketing Cilesta Van Doorn.
“We’re proud to continue our recent focus on emotional brand building, and this shift in strategy is bringing strong benefits in both the long and short term – commercially and for our masterbrand equity.”
Virgin Media will launch a TikTok challenge in support of the film in August, featuring Lava La Rue’s track, and team up with Spotify to develop a bespoke music legacy generator. This will let music lovers around the world learn about the heritage of their favourite songs and the tracks that inspired them.
Virgin Media’s first small business campaign under the ‘Faster Brings us Closer’ strategy launches next week.
TikTok tie-up for Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One team
The Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team (AMCF1) has entered into a content-creation partnership with TikTok, which becomes the team’s official creator partner.
The deal will see AMCF1 working with TikTok’s in-house creative team and the wider TikTok creative community to explore new ways to engage with the team’s story, including social media content on a new AMCF1 TikTok account. The TikTok logo will feature prominently on the AMR21 racing car, with a new look to be revealed at this week’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
TikTok will launch a series of global hashtag challenges, such as the #CatchChallenge, which will test user’s reactions to see if they can match F1 drivers such as AMCF1 team members Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be partnering with TikTok – a world-class content platform where we can further disrupt and innovate socially,” says Aston Marton Cognizant Formula One Team CMO Rob Bloom.
“We’re massively invested in developing and growing the contribution of the fans – and we know they’re becoming increasingly adept at building uniquely spun narratives around the teams and drivers they love. And, naturally, TikTok is the perfect home for this.
“At the heart of the brand’s ‘I/AM’ campaign is a spirit of co-creation – inviting fans to bring their thing and build this exciting new era together. Similarly, TikTok is built on the foundations of its Creators.
“In addition, there’s a feeling that creator-driven content within the sport still remains relatively untapped – working together, we can really galvanise the team’s passionate and inventive fan community to build a legacy of landmark social content across the TikTok platform.”
TikTok EMEA sports marketing lead Harley Johnson adds, “We’re excited by the way AMCF1 has already developed its social channels, placing the fan at the centre of the experience, and we think the growth of its new TikTok channel will see further new opportunities as it deepens its relationship with not only TikTok, but talented and inspired creators; helping to drive new perceptions of the sport amongst both current and future audiences.”
JD sponsors Soccer Aid for UNICEF
Sports retailer JD has become a principal partner of Soccer Aid for UNICEF for a fifth successive year. The retailer will become a broadcast partner and sponsor of the 4 September event, which will consist of a charity football match at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. The match will be televised on ITV and STV.
JD will also sell the official Soccer Aid World XI FC shirt both online and in-store, and host an interactive event at its Manchester store featuring high-profile Soccer Aid supporters and celebrities. JD’s influencer network will work to create unique social content to highlight the brand’s association with the match.
“Everyone at JD is really delighted to be partnering with Soccer Aid for UNICEF – the fifth time that we have done so. This longstanding relationship has been really beneficial for all parties over the years and we’re really looking forward to being part of the campaign between now and September’s match,” says JD executive chairman Peter Cowgill.
Soccer Aid for UNICEF was created by pop star Robbie Williams in 2006. It sees a team of celebrities -which this year includes Usain Bolt, Olly Murs and Paddy McGuinness – take on England footballers.
Asda tackles litter with picnic rangers
Asda has appointed an army of picnic rangers across the country to help combat a rise in litter – driven in part by a trend for more staycations and picnics due to Covid-19 restrictions on travel.
The rangers will encourage communities to urge people to picnic more responsibly, and will host more than 400 litter picks involving over 8,000 people, to clean up local parks. The picnic rangers have also recommended new spots for people to picnic in.
“We know that last summer many of the beaches, parks and beauty spots across the UK were left with litter strewn around at the end of long sunny days and weekends. I don’t think any of us want to see that this year, so we’ve enlisted our team of picnic rangers to help encourage to picnic responsibly,” says Asda senior manager of better communities Suzanne Roe. “We encourage people to visit their local Asda store to see when their next local litter pick is and to join us in keeping beauty spots beautiful for everyone.”
At the end of the summer, Asda will be donating benches made out of the recycled waste collected at the litter pick events to a park in each region across the UK.
Thursday, 15 July
Channel 4 unveils campaign for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
Channel 4 has released its campaign for the 2020 Paralympic Games, focusing on the daily struggles facing the elite athletes as they fight to make it to Tokyo.
The ‘Super. Human’ campaign, directed by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young and conceived by 4Creative, explores the sacrifices made by Paralympians in the pursuit of their dreams. The idea is to show the realities of their lives and the determination required to become a champion, from defying medical advice to missing children’s birthdays.
In development for 18 months, the campaign was filmed over two weeks in mid-May and features a script written in partnership with the athletes, inspired by their real-life experiences.
Set to the song ‘So you want to be a boxer’, performed by British artist Jay Prince, the film features a host of British Paralympians, including Ali Jawad, David Smith and Ellie Simmonds. The film opens with Paralympian Kadeena Cox in a dream sequence facing the pressure of repeating her gold medal performances from Rio 2016.
The ad culminates with the line – ‘To be a Paralympian there’s got to be something wrong with you’ – before showing the Paralympic heroes smiling, celebrating and reaping the rewards of their efforts.
The film will first air on Channel 4 and across all the broadcaster’s channels just before 9pm on Friday (16 July) and will be supported by social media activity using #SuperHuman. The creative is part of a wider campaign, spanning press ads, a nationwide poster series launching in August and trailers running across Channel 4 and social media.
In terms of Paralympics coverage, Channel 4 has announced its “most ambitious ever” plan, which includes a multi-location studio format broadcasting over 300 hours of sport.
The Paralympic Breakfast Show and morning sports competition will come live from the broadcaster’s national HQ in Leeds. The highlights show will be broadcast to UK audiences from Tokyo, before returning to Leeds for an early evening show celebrating Paralympics GB medals of the day. Comedy show The Last Leg will be broadcast to audiences daily from London.
In a first for Channel 4, More 4 will act as a dedicated team sports channel live from Tokyo.
CMO Zaid Al-Qassab describes Channel 4 as being “instrumental” in putting the Paralympics onto the world stage.
“Our award-winning coverage and epic marketing campaigns have possibly done more to help shift society’s perceptions around disability than anything else in the last 20 years,” he adds. “Our hope is that this powerful and provocative film will once again stir viewers and continue Channel 4’s legacy of challenging attitudes and giving a voice to those with disabilities.”
John Lewis to cut 1,000 jobs to close gap between management and shop floor staff
John Lewis and Waitrose are poised to cut 1,000 jobs as part of a wider management shake-up focused on reducing the “number of layers” between senior leaders and shop floor staff.
The partnership plans to cut the equivalent of three management roles per store, while also investing in customer service and visual merchandising roles to improve the shopping experience.
The 1,000 jobs set to be cut are in addition to the 1,500 roles put at risk by the closure of eight John Lewis stores, announced in March. Currently the partnership spans 34 John Lewis stores and 331 Waitrose shops nationwide.
The job cuts follow on from news last week that John Lewis intends to diversify into the residential property market. The intention is to build 10,000 homes on existing sites owned by the partnership, ranging from studio flats to four-bedroom houses. The plan is to offer the homes either fully furnished by John Lewis or empty for the tenant to bring their own belongings.
In March the retailer revealed it had swung to a £517m pre-tax loss in 2020, a situation it hopes to counter with a shift to opening stores in neighbourhood locations offering a mix of services, alterations, home consultations and personal styling. The idea is to combine these service-orientated local shops with destination stores in city centres offering new product, food and drink, and services customers cannot access online.
The shift in the store estate will run alongside a push to extend the click-and-collect network into more Waitrose stores and local collection points with third parties, such as the Co-op. Currently £3 in every £10 spent with John Lewis online is driven by its stores, down from £6 in every £10 pre-pandemic.
Sainsbury’s urges shoppers to continue wearing masks in store
Sainsbury’s will ask shoppers to continue to wear masks in store when social distancing restrictions lift on Monday (19 July).
While wearing a face covering will become a personal choice in England from next week, the retailer has produced new signs and tannoy messages designed to encourage customers to continue to wear a mask. Employees will also be asked to wear a face covering, unless they are behind a screen, and all of Sainsbury’s leadership team will wear one when visiting stores.
The retailer says the decision to continue to ask shoppers to wear masks reflects feedback from customers and staff, with the majority of people surveyed wanting to keep the policy in place.
While screens between self-service checkouts and dividing checkout queues will be gradually removed from stores in England, they will remain in place between colleagues and customers when they are being served at checkouts. Hand sanitiser stations will remain in all stores and Sainsbury’s will continue with the thorough cleaning of trollies and baskets, as well as deep cleaning overnight.
“As we respond to the recent change in government guidance, we know that safety is still top of mind for many of our colleagues and customers,” says chief executive Simon Roberts.
“Our colleagues’ safety is vital and many of our colleagues would feel more comfortable if those who can wear face coverings continue to wear them. We’ve listened closely to our customers too and they are telling us the same. We’re asking everyone to be considerate and, while we understand wearing a face covering will now be a personal choice, we want to ensure we best support and protect each other in the weeks and months ahead.”
Book retailer Waterstones has also confirmed it will encourage shoppers to wear masks when they cease to be compulsory in England on Monday. In a tweet the brand said that, given its “enclosed browsing environment”, customers would be urged to wear masks and observe social distancing.
The chain’s managing director James Daunt told the BBC the guidance to wear masks would be communicated by signs, but staff would not enforce the measure.
Twitter to ditch Fleets feature
Twitter is removing its Fleets functionality just eight months on from its launch, after the feature failed to resonate with users.
Conceived as a “lower-pressure” way to share fleeting thoughts, in the style of an Instagram story, Fleets allowed users to share posts that lasted for just 24 hours. However, low uptake for the feature means Fleets will be ditched from 3 August onwards.
While the functionality was intended to address some of the anxieties holding people back from tweeting, Twitter found Fleets were mostly being used by people who already post on the platform as a means to amplify their own Tweets. Given that most Fleets include photos or videos, Twitter is now considering updates to the Tweet composer and camera to incorporate features from Fleets, such as a full-screen camera, text formatting options and GIF stickers.
Twitter intends to use the top of the timeline space, currently occupied by Fleets, to push its Spaces live audio functionality. The Fleets ad tests, which concluded last month as planned, acted as one of Twitter’s first tests of full-screen, vertical format ads.
“We’re evolving what Twitter is, and trying bigger, bolder things to serve the public conversation,” says head of product, brand and video ads, Ilya Brown.
“A number of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won’t work out. We’ll be rigorous, evaluate what works, and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we’re not evolving our approach and winding down features every once in a while – we’re not taking big enough chances.”
ITV pledges to increase representation of disabled people as diversity work ramps up
ITV intends to increase the representation of disabled people in senior positions across its business in year two of its diversity acceleration plan.
The broadcaster has committed to commissioning content that better reflects the lives of disabled people on screen, improving the career opportunities for disabled talent working on ITV programmes and ensuring disabled people have entry level career opportunities. The organisation has also committed to educating itself about disability and disabled people’s experiences, as well as ensuring accessibility is built into everything it does.
The commitments reflect the priorities for the second year of ITV’s diversity acceleration plan, the success of which will be reported in summer 2022.
The first diversity action plan was published in July 2020 as an “action-based response” to accelerate change. With a mission to improve black, Asian and minority ethnic representation, ITV has driven 33% increase in available lead roles filled by BAME talent year-on-year. This resulted in 26% of lead roles being filled by BAME talent, compared to 21% prior to the diversity acceleration plan kicking in.
The broadcaster appointed Ade Rawcliffe to the newly created role of group diversity and inclusion director on ITV’s management board, reporting directly to CEO Carolyn McCall, while the recruitment team have “redoubled efforts” to broaden opportunity and reduce bias.
To create greater opportunity at entry level, ITV has recruited 42 apprentices, a high proportion of whom have come from diverse backgrounds, as well as 11 participants to the ITV Studios Production Trainee scheme. In addition, ITV’s Step Up 60 initiative has created 62 opportunities for talent from underrepresented groups to move to their next role, including working on shows like Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and The Voice UK.
Open to employees working towards their first line management role, the ITV Rise programme pairs BAME talent with a mentor in the senior leadership team, who participates in all elements of their coaching and learning programme. To date, 26% of ITV Rise participants have already moved into more senior roles in line with their career aspirations.
Rawcliffe says the broadcaster must continue to work hard on attracting and providing opportunities for diverse talent at a senior level, as well as offering strong leading roles on-screen and off-screen amongst the production team.
“We want to attract the best people to ITV, so fostering an inclusive culture that welcomes all backgrounds is absolutely crucial,” Rawcliffe adds.
“Accelerating progress in disability representation, with increased investment, clear actions and measurable outcomes is a key priority in year two of our diversity acceleration plan.”
Wednesday, 14 July
Hotel Chocolat reports surge in subscriptions over Covid-19
Chocolatier and retailer Hotel Chocolat has reported a surge in digital and subscription sales since December 2019, with the two revenue streams remaining a “substantially larger” proportion of total revenue even as physical stores reopened.
According to co-founder and CEO Angus Thirlwell, the business expects more than 50% of its sales to come from digital, partners and subscription models this year. Before the pandemic those streams made up just 15-20% of sales.
At the same time, Hotel Chocolat has grown its UK customer database by 66% to 3 million since the end of 2019, according to its latest trading update. Increases in visits, conversion and average order value have combined to substantially increase customer lifetime value, the retailer claims.
Following the reopening of stores, group sales for the 10 weeks from 19 April grew 34% compared to the same period in 2019, and 63% compared to that period in 2020 when physical locations were shuttered.
Overall, revenue for the year ending 27 June reached £165m, an increase of 24% compared to 2019. The board therefore anticipates that pre-tax profit will be higher than previously thought.
“I am fortunate to be able to say that the growth avenues ahead of us have never been better in Hotel Chocolat’s history,” says Thirlwell.
“Our goal of becoming the most tech-activated chocolate brand is moving forward in leaps and bounds and is already helping to power our major achievements and future growth.”
He adds that the retailer’s “brand-building” stores will continue to play a “pivotal” role in its future as a digital-led business, “with an unrivalled ability to introduce new customers to our brand”.
The group has also committed to repay the full £3.1m in furlough support it received over the year.
Earlier this year, Thirlwell told Marketing Week that Hotel Chocolat’s growth over the pandemic had been driven by its mission to better understand consumer behaviour, with customer insight at the heart of plans to get more customers online and strengthen the brand.
The company has been investing in building up its customer database over the past few years, which is now paying dividends, he said.
PwC hires Capita’s Antonia Wade as global CMO
Antonia Wade has joined accounting firm PwC as its global chief marketing officer, following two and a half years as CMO at Capita.
Capita hired Wade in 2019 as its first CMO, tasked with better explaining the purpose of a company that ranges from Army recruitment to improving 999 systems.
Under her leadership, the UK’s largest outsourcing and professional services company underwent a brand refresh, achieved its highest NPS score in three years, consolidated its 42 marketing teams under one central team and reduced the business’ agency roster from 1,800 to 35.
Writing on LinkedIn, Wade said she was “thrilled” to be joining PwC, which is one of the big four accounting firms alongside Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
“I’m excited about driving one of the world’s most powerful brands and delivering thought leadership that will make a difference to the way the world lives and works – today, and for generations to come,” she wrote.
“I’m starting at a really exciting time [as] the new strategy is being launched. With The New Equation, we have redefined the essence of PwC as a community of solvers who deliver sustained outcomes and help clients build trust. The strategy represents a real competitive advantage in the marketplace and I look forward to helping bring it to life.”
Wade, who has over two decades’ experience, previously held senior B2B marketing roles at Thomson Reuters, Accenture and HM Treasury.
Morrisons ‘For Farmers’ range raises £20m for farms
Morrisons customers have raised £20m to support farms and the countryside through buying the supermarket’s premium ‘For Farmers’ dairy and egg ranges.
The funds have been donated to schemes which aim to improve biodiversity and animal welfare, as British farmers face financial uncertainty due to Brexit and Covid-19.
Morrisons was the first British retailer to launch a dairy product where part of the purchase price went back to farmers, with ‘Milk for Farmers’ unveiled in October 2015. At 10p-a-litre more than the supermarket’s own label milk, customers are given the opportunity to pay more to support farmers directly.
The range now includes ‘Cheese for Farmers’, ‘Cream for Farmers’ and ‘Eggs for Farmers’, with the eggs costing an extra penny per egg.
“We are pleased to have passed on £20m from our For Farmers range to help fund initiatives which may otherwise have suffered from under-investment,” says Morrisons’ head of agriculture, Sophie Throup.
“It’s great to see many customers want to pay more to support British farmers – and want to buy dairy products from cows that have been let out to graze and eggs from free range hens who can roam in enriched woodland and grassland areas.”
Morrisons has already embarked on a programme to be completely supplied by net zero carbon British farms by 2030.
Over the next nine years, Morrisons is to work with its 3,000 farmers and growers to produce affordable ‘net zero’ carbon meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables.
Channel 4 to add over 1,000 new episodes to Snapchat
Channel 4 and Snap Inc have signed a two-year deal to bring more than 1,000 additional episodes of the broadcaster’s shows to the social media platform’s Discover page.
New content to be added includes shows like Ackley Bridge, Snackmasters and SAS: Who Dares Wins, as well as further episodes of titles such as How Not to be Racist, Married at First Sight UK, Mashed, Tattoo Fixers and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. Like all shows on Snapchat, each episode will be an average of five minutes and paced for mobile viewing.
The deal extends last year’s successful partnership, which saw over 300 short-form edits of Channel 4 content air on the platform. The broadcaster’s portfolio of shows reached 44 million unique global viewers on Snapchat in 2020.
“Channel 4 has a unique brand strength with young people and we’re going further and faster than our competitors to ensure that we can reach them with UK-produced, public service content, such as Hollyoaks, on platforms like Snapchat where they’re spending more of their time,” says Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon.
“The renewal of our long term partnership with Snap is a brilliant example of this strategy. It’s delivered from our Leeds-based 4Studio team and supports the growth of our digital viewing and revenues.”
Last year Channel 4 launched its Future4 strategy, aiming to prioritise digital growth over linear ratings, diversify new revenue streams and focus on partnerships to ensure the broadcaster competes more effectively.
Snapchat claims to reach over 90% of 13-24 year-olds in the UK while over 400 million people watched shows on Snapchat last year.
Rapid delivery start-up Zapp launches first ad campaign
Announcing its arrival into the fast-growing rapid delivery market, Zapp has launched its first multi-media advertising campaign with a focus on the everyday products and brands it offers customers.
The ‘Want it. Need it. Zapp it.’ campaign created by The Clerkenwell Brothers will appear on major outdoor landmarks across London and Manchester throughout the summer, including the IMAX digital canvas at Waterloo and premium formats at London Westfield and Westfield Stratford.
Roadside and rail posters will also be involved, alongside a fleet of fully wrapped taxis and buses in London. Supporting activity will take place across video-on-demand, digital and social media.
“When life can’t wait, Zapp is there to meet our customers’ more spontaneous or urgent needs, with just the right product range for the many ‘need it now’ moments,” says vice-president of strategy Steve O’Hear.
“It was important to us that this campaign conveyed these USPs in a simple and impactful way to as many potential customers as possible. The creative combined with the multi-media strategy will deliver that.”
Founded last year, Zapp promises to deliver snacks, drinks, essential groceries and other everyday items within minutes, 24/7.
The IGD currently values ‘quick commerce’ at £1.4bn and predicts the market will more than double in size to £3.3bn in the UK. However, last month O’Hear told Marketing Week he believes there is over £40bn to play for.
As such, a number of fast-track delivery startups with multimillion-pound backing have already established themselves in the UK to capitalise on this nascent market, with brands such as Getir, Gorillas, Dija, Weezy and Zapp all vying for dominance.
Meanwhile, Tesco and Asda have launched their own versions of the service in Whoosh and Express Delivery.
Tuesday, 13 July
Social giants urged to do more to remove racism following Euros abuse
Social media platforms have again come under fire for failing to do enough to remove racist posts following the torrent of abuse received by England footballers following the Euro 2020 final.
Players including Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, who all missed penalties in the match, were attacked on their accounts following the loss to Italy on Sunday night.
Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, have committed to remove the racist posts. Twitter says it has removed more than 1,000 tweets and “permanently suspended a number of accounts for violating [the] rules” through a combination of machine learning and human review. The company described the abuse as “abhorrent”.
It says: “We will continue to take action when we identify any tweets or accounts that violate our policies.
“We have proactively engaged and continue to collaborate with our partners across the football community to identify ways to tackle this issue collectively and will continue to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour – both online and offline.”
Facebook, meanwhile, has encouraged people use the tools it offer to block abuse and say it is trying to remove harmful content.
“We quickly removed comments and accounts directing abuse at England’s footballers last night and we’ll continue to take action against those that break our rules,” it says.
“In addition to our work to remove this content, we encourage all players to turn on Hidden Words, a tool which means no-one has to see abuse in their comments or DMs.”
The UK government’s Online Harms Bill was raised as a potential solution by culture secretary Oliver Dowden.
He tweeted: “I share the anger at appalling racist abuse of our heroic players. Social media companies need to up their game in addressing it and, if they fail to, our new Online Safety Bill will hold them to account with fines of up to 10 per cent of global revenue.”
The legislation requires platforms to abide by rules overseen by Ofcom and means they must remove content that is legal but could cause significant harm. It has been criticised as an attack on free speech though, and also for being too vague.
Meanwhile, ITV, which aired the final alongside the BBC, has released a message of support for the England team in light on the racist abuse.
Working with agency Uncommon, ITV has created an ad showing a black and white image of England players taking the knee alongside the message ‘Together we will never lose. ITV Stand with England’. It will run across social media and in all national newspapers today.
Asos partners with Nordstrom to sell Topshop in US
Asos has partnered with US department store chain Nordstrom to sell Topshop clothing to American shoppers.
Nordstrom is taking a minority stake in Topshop, as well as the other former Arcadia brands acquired by Asos in March – Topshop, Miss Selfridge and activewear brand HIIT – for an undisclosed sum.
As part of the joint venture, Nordstrom will sell the brands on its website and in its 350 stores. Customers will also be able to collect and return Asos goods at its stores from the autumn.
“Partnering with Nordstrom will support our US strategy, allowing us to offer that to even more 20-somethings in North America,” says Asos chief executive, Nick Beighton.
Nordstrom president and chief brand officer, Pete Nordstrom, adds: “We’re excited about offering the Asos brands to our customers and we know we can help further amplify the recognition of the already popular Topshop and Topman brands.”
UK retail grows at record pace
UK retail sales grew at a record pace in June as lockdown restrictions eased and people began returning to the high street.
Total retail sales increased by 13.1% in June compared to the same period in 2019, which is above the three month average growth of 10.4%, according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.
On a like-for-like basis, sales increased by 17% over the five weeks to 3 July 2021, with online sales playing a greater role in this figure.
Over the three months to June, food sales increased by 7.9% on a total basis and 9.1% on a like-for-like basis. Non-food retail sales for the same period increased by 12.4% on a total basis and 45.2% on a like-for-like basis.
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium, says: “In June, while growth in food sales begun to slow, non-food sales were bolstered by growing consumer confidence and the continued unleashing of consumer demand.
“With many people taking staycations, or cheaper UK-based holidays, many have found they have a little extra to spend at the shops, with strong growth in-store in June. Fashion and footwear did well while the sun was out in the first half of June, while the start of Euro 2020 provided a boost for TVs, snack food and beer.”
Apple paid £9m in UK tax despite sales topping a billion
Apple paid just £9.2m in tax in the UK last year, despite recently filed accounts showing the tech giant’s two UK subsidiaries made nearly £1.5bn in revenue.
Apple Retail UK posted revenue of £1.1bn in 2020, with a pre-tax profit of £31m, while Apple UK made £372m, with pre-tax profit of £44m for the year to 29 September.
An Apple spokesperson says: “As the biggest tax payer in the world, we pay all taxes owed in accordance with each country’s laws and regulations everywhere we operate in the world.”
The tech firm, which has a market valuation of $2.4trn, has come under fire for funnelling profits through low-tax jurisdictions.
The OECD is currently developing of a new minimum global corporate tax rate, which has been agreed by the G20, to ensure multinational companies pay tax in the countries where they sell products and services. Apple says it has offered “strong support” for the new system.
George at Asda launches grime-inspired back to school ad
Asda is launching a back to school campaign for George, which introduces a new range of sustainably sourced school uniforms.
‘Arrive Like You Mean It’, by independent agency Impero, is shot in the style of a grime music video and features kids rapping to an original track about the return to school.
Lyrics include ‘Arriving at this old place future ready. Just got these new sick kicks and that, so get steady’ and ‘Look who’s back, my squad and me. New skills and a crisp white tee. I’m gonna ace this test, dot my Is and cross my Ts’.
The 30-second TV ad will launch first in Scotland, before being distributed nationally from 24 July. It will be supported by retail, out of home, print and digital.
Monday, 12 July
Animated Extra ads create real-time Love Island stories
Extra’s partnership with Love Island was given extra impetus over the weekend with a television advert, featuring two animated packs of gum watching the ITV game show and “trying to find their other half”.
The storylines for the ads are being written as close to real-time as possible, with animations being turned around in a few days to stay as relevant as possible to what’s been happening in the show.
The ads have been created by Somethin’ Else in partnership with MediaCom and animated by Seed Animation.
With the packs of gum both busily creating their own content, the slots will be backed with social campaigns, including on Instagram, with the help of five former contestants on the show.
There’s also a series of video-on-demand ads, weekly competitions and a Love Island and Extra point of sale activation in over 7,000 stores nationwide.
“For Extra, the crucial aspect of partnering with Love Island was our desire to be at the heart of popular culture by demonstrating that we too are true fans of the show,” says Extra’s senior brand manager Sasha Storey.
“The social media strategy and ad campaign highlight our passion for modern dating.”
Aviva study finds nearly half suffering Covid-related career burnout
Research from Aviva has found 47% of employees are less career-focused because of Covid, while two in five say that they can never switch off from work.
Another result of the always-on work culture that comes with working from home is that 40% of employees are concerned about work-related burnout, while half of people complained the boundary between work and home had become “increasingly blurred”.
Women make up 46% of that number, compared to 35% of men. The latter were more in favour of a full return to the office.
“The pandemic may have been a collective experience, but the impact has been fragmented in so many ways, with women especially facing particularly acute stresses from the blurring of lines between home and work,” says Aviva’s wellbeing lead Debbie Bullock.
The North Face to stop using logo after artist threatens to sue
The North Face has agreed to phase out its use of a logo following claims by New York graffiti and street artist Futura it was lifted from one of his original images.
The logo, based on an atom design, has been used by The North Face as part of its Futurelight waterproof outerwear since 2019.
Futura sued the American brand earlier this year, with The North Face continuing to state that any resemblance was unintentional.
The North Face says, “we are committed to supporting creative artists and their communities” and has committed to gradually withdraw the logo as “a sincere gesture of goodwill”.
Futura says The North Face’s use of the logo was “like a straight-up heist” and accused the brand of hiding behind lawyers.
West Ham stadium revamp to be paid for by British taxpayers
Taxpayers are to be presented with a bill for £35m to pay for a revamp of Premier League club West Ham United’s stadium in east London.
Reports over the weekend claimed the government will use £14.5m of public money for new seats at the stadium, with a further £20.5m to be spent on stewarding over the next four years.
Last year the club was ranked by Forbes as the 17th most valuable club in the world, worth an estimated £616m.
Under a 2016 deal, West Ham pays £3m annually to the taxpayer-backed London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) for its use of the ground.
Recent accounts showed that losses at the stadium reached £450m in the five years to March 2020.
Branson and Bezos heading into space without any insurance
Both Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos will reportedly be setting off on their respective space travels without taking out any liability insurance.
Brokers have revealed the Virgin and Amazon tycoons have both neglected to insure either themselves or their fellow travellers, though this could well be due to a lack of options for leisurely trips into outer space.
And, while international flights require passengers to take out liability insurance, technically both missions will qualify as domestic flights because they take off and land in the US.