Lidl claims shoppers switched £58m to its stores last month
Lidl GB has attracted more than 770,000 new customers over the past year, and claims shoppers have moved £58m away from the traditional supermarkets to its stores in the last month alone as the cost of living crisis bites.
In its latest filings to Companies House, the discounter said pre-tax profit for the 12 months to 28 February 2022 increased by more than 300% from £9.8m to £41.1m.
Earnings before interest and tax jumped 80% to £79m over the period on revenues that were up 1.5% to £7.8bn.
In the same time, Lidl has continued to expand its UK store estate, adding an additional 53 shops to take its total up to 918.
“Our business model is built for the long term and I’m incredibly proud of our continued growth in recent months, which builds on our strong performance across 2021,” says Lidl GB CEO Ryan McDonnell.
“During this time, we’ve made further investments across all areas of our business, building even more stores and distribution centres, hiring more colleagues, increasing pay rates, investing in our British supplier base and contributing to the communities we operate in.”
Channel 4 partners with Nectar to deliver personalised ads
Channel 4 has joined forces with Nectar360 to offer FMCG brands the ability to target ads on All 4 based on consumers’ recent purchases at Sainsbury’s.
Lead by the broadcaster’s 4Sales team, it is hoped people will therefore be shown more relevant ads from brands they have shown an interest in.
PepsiCo’s Walkers Baked and Pepsi Max brands, as well as McCain and L’Oréal are set to be the first test partners. They will be working alongside their respective agencies OMD, PHD and Essence.
Once the campaign has ended, Channel 4 and Nectar360 have said they can provide data to show how many customers purchased the product after seeing the ads on All 4.
Ed Sanderson, head of UK media and planning at PepsiCo says the business is “looking forward to expanding [its] targeting and personalisation at scale” through the initiative.
“The core of what we do at PepsiCo is being consumer-centric and a data-driven approach is a crucial part of maintaining a consumer-centric strategy,” he adds.
Jonathan Lewis, Channel 4’s head of commercial innovation and partners, says: “Strategic partnerships like this collaboration with Nectar360, are a key pillar in our Future4 strategy, which is driving Channel 4’s transformation into a digital-first PSB while retaining its distinctive brand and public service impact.
“By being able to better target viewers, we hope to improve the effectiveness of our advertising partner’s brand campaigns while offering All 4 users a more tailored advertising experience.”
From Nectar360’s point of view, director Amir Rasekh, says the partnership will enable it to expand its digital retail media proposition.
“This creates value for our customers through highly targeted relevant advertising, and our brands through creating new ways for them to reach in-market customers for their products,” he adds.
Twitter closes offices amid reports large numbers of staff have quit
Twitter has closed its offices and suspended employees’ badge access until Monday, according to an email leaked to the BBC.
There was no reason for the closure given via the message, which went on to thank staff for their “flexibility”, while urging people to “continue to comply with company policy by refraining from discussing confidential company information on social media, with the press or elsewhere”.
It comes as large numbers of employees have reportedly quit following Elon Musk’s email on Wednesday (16 November) informing staff they must be prepared to “work long hours at high intensity”.
Staff were given an ultimatum to sign up to be part of the “new Twitter” immediately or receive three months’ severance pay.
It seems many have taken the latter option, with a number taking to Twitter to show they were leaving the firm by posting the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWorked and a saluting emoji.
It follows the mass redundancies made by Musk two weeks ago in which thousands of staff were let go.
Arsenal Women partners with beauty brand to reach new global fans
New York based beauty brand Il Makiage has become the official beauty partner of Arsenal Women as the club looks to extend its reach to new global audiences.
Through the partnership, both parties also hope to elevate the impact and influence of women’s football.
Il Makiage will have a “significant” presence at Meadow Park and Emirates Stadium on days the women’s team play, and will be launching a campaign to support its involvement with the club called ‘Focus on my Game Face’.
The campaign is designed to inspire women, girls and fans of all ages by celebrating female footballers and what they have achieved.
Julie Slot, chief commercial officer at Arsenal, says joining forces with “like-minded” partners such a Il Makiage will help to “grow women’s football in a sustainable way”. She adds the partnership shows the “impact the game is having around the world”.
“Arsenal has been at the forefront of women’s football since 1987 and the game is at an exciting moment in its development. The Lionesses’ success has ignited interest from a new community of people, and we are determined to build on this,” she says.
Bulb bailout will cost taxpayers £6.5bn
The government bailout of energy firm Bulb, which collapsed last November, will cost taxpayers £6.5bn, according to official figures.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) says an extra £4.6bn will be spent on overseeing the company’s nationalisation in 2022 and 2023, despite earlier estimations putting the figure at £2.2bn over two years.
It is expected to be the biggest government bailout since the nationalisation of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Andy King, a member of the OBR committee, says: “The cost of the Bulb intervention has increased essentially because it lasted for more months than was factored into the March forecast.
“So the transfer to Octopus has happened six months later. The loss that was incurred operating Bulb in between those two time periods is the additional cost.”
Thursday, 17 November
Musk pledges to cut time at Twitter despite setting staff ‘high intensity’ workload
Elon Musk told a US court he expects to “reduce” his time at Twitter following an “initial burst of activity” needed to “reorganise” the social media giant post-acquisition.
The Twitter CEO, who is being sued by a Tesla investor to justify his $56bn (£47.3bn) pay package from 2018, claims to be working “around the clock” to fix the company’s issues and told the court his attention has been diverted to “where the crisis is”.
However, in an email yesterday (16 November) Musk informed Twitter staff they must commit to work “long hours at high intensity” to stay at the business. The message, seen by the Guardian and Washington Post, warned employees the social media company “will need to be extremely hardcore” to succeed, which will mean “working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade”.
Staff were given a choice to sign up to be part of the “new Twitter” by today or receive three months’ severance pay.
Last week Twitter employees were also told they would no longer be allowed to work remotely unless their arrangements are personally approved by Musk, who decreed they must be in the office at least 40 hours a week – effective immediately. The decision is in direct opposition to the company’s permanent “work-from-anywhere” policy adopted in 2020.
Tesla employees have been banned from working remotely since June, with Musk tweeting at the time that anyone unwilling to comply could “pretend to work somewhere else”.
The ban on remote working and demands for “hardcore” workloads come weeks after Twitter cut half its workforce and several senior employees departed, including head of trust and safety Yoel Roth and head of ad sales Robin Wheeler. Chief customer officer Sarah Personette announced she was leaving on 1 November.
Burberry plans to ‘amplify’ brand through ‘strong marketing’
Burberry has committed to “amplify” its brand through “strong marketing”, as the luxury fashion house pledges to grow customer lifetime value.
The company intends to “refocus” on the Britishness of its brand, strengthening its connection with British design and culture, while opting for marketing activations that deliver “high levels of impact”. Burberry claims it wants to accelerate customer acquisition, while strengthening its relationship with customers by driving loyalty and retention.
In the 26 weeks to 1 October, the fashion brand notched up revenue of £1.34bn, with store sales up 5% and wholesale rising by 1%. Burberry made a £263m operating profit over the period, up 27% after adjusting items. Growth has been affected by lockdowns in mainland China, although sales beyond China grew 18%.
Across EMEIA stores sales rose 34% during the first half, as the market recovered from last year’s Covid-related lockdowns. Burberry benefitted from “strong tourist growth”, which more than doubled over the half. While the brand notched up a “strong performance” in France and Spain, UK sales were said to have performed in line with the region average.
The brand highlighted its continued investment in brand over the period, including a “highly successful” campaign to support the expansion of its Lola handbag range, which drove above average comparable store sales in leather goods. Sales of the Lola bag, now Burberry’s bestseller, helped drive a 15% increase in leather goods sales during the second quarter.
Burberry kicked off the second half with the launch of its outerwear campaign, while the stream of its spring/summer 2023 collection has been watched 1.5 million times worldwide.
Looking to bring all its product categories to their “full potential”, the brand plans to double sales of leather goods, shoes and women’s ready to wear, as well as growing outerwear by around 50% in the medium term. The ambition is to grow accessories to more than 50% of group sales in the long term.
Burberry is aiming to double ecommerce revenue to 15% of retail sales in the medium term. From a store perspective, the company intends to introduce its new concept to all outlets by the end of the 2026 financial year and boost sales densities.
During the first of the year Burberry opened or renovated 22 stores, and is on track to open or refurbish 65 stores in the new concept in 2022. Some 10 mainline stores were opened and a further 13 closed.
Half of adults respect brands speaking out ahead of the World Cup
Half of UK adults (49%) and 63% of consumers aged 18 to 34 say they respect brands more for speaking out about issues around the World Cup in Qatar, according to IPA research.
The survey of 2,000 consumers found men of all ages (52%) are slightly more likely to agree brands should take a stand than women (47%).
According to the IPA data, staging the tournament at the height of the cost of living crisis has consumers split. While 34% say the World Cup will provide a much-needed distraction from the challenges of 2022, a further 34% do not agree. Men are far more likely (40%) to see the tournament as a break from the stresses of the year than women (29%).
Some 38% of 18-34s say it is exciting to have the World Cup run alongside the Christmas build-up, compared to 20% of all adults and just 8% of over 55s.
Female shoppers (56%) are more likely than male (45%) to restrict spending to brands they trust on Black Friday, which this year falls on the England versus Wales match day (25 November). The IPA data finds 42% of consumers aged 18 to 34 are more interested in shopping in store on Black Friday, versus just 8% of over 55s.
Almost half (47%) of these younger consumers say they will prioritise watching the Qatar World Cup over other seasonal TV shows such as the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.
Over a third of 18- to 34-year-olds (39%) say they are more excited about the World Cup following the Lionesses’ Euros triumph this summer. Interestingly, this figure is significantly higher among men (42%) than women (18%).
“How to manage activity during the Qatar World Cup is a significant problem and potential opportunity for brands to solve, both in terms of whether to comment on human rights issues and how to manage the disruption to the festive period,” says IPA head of insight Damian Lord.
“These findings will provide significant insight into how to best engage with football fans and people going about their Christmas shopping over the coming weeks and what issues matter most to their audience.”
Diageo to open marketing up to underrepresented talent
Diageo is teaming up with media agency PHD to give Brixton Finishing School graduates the chance to take part in a one-year rotation across the two organisations.
Selected participants will be given the opportunity to learn about the different marketing and media functions across Diageo and PHD, gaining real-world experience to help build their skills. Brixton Finishing School aims to increase graduate-level representation amongst underrepresented groups in the creative, media and technology industries by offering free learning courses and marketing qualifications to 18–25-year-olds across the UK.
The new initiative builds on PHD and Diageo’s existing work with Brixton Finishing School, including presenting masterclasses, delivering mini briefs and working with former graduates of the programme.
The drinks giant describes the partnership as “another step forward” in its global commitment to spend 10% of its money with diverse-owned and disadvantaged suppliers and agencies by 2025, rising 15% by 2030.
“Championing inclusion and diversity both within the business as well as our broader supply chain and agency network is central to Diageo’s future success,” says Diageo GB managing director Nuno Teles.
“The calibre of talent from Brixton Finishing School has been really impressive, and we are delighted to be partnering with PHD on this important initiative to help remove barriers and provide equal access to skills and employment opportunities.”
To celebrate the launch of the partnership and mark Brixton Finishing School’s fifth anniversary, Diageo hosted a launch event at its new London headquarters on 15 November. The event was attended by supporters of Brixton Finishing School from the past five years, alumni and leaders from the creative, marketing and advertising industries.
“I’m delighted we have united with Diageo and PHD to drive positive change,” says Brixton Finishing School founder Ally Owens.
“The current economic weather means our programmes are needed more than ever and our partnership will play a vital role in building a better, more equitable future for talent.”
FTX investors sue celebrities who endorsed crypto platform
Celebrities who appeared in advertising for the recently collapsed crypto exchange FTX have been named as defendants in a US class action lawsuit.
Tom Brady and Larry David are among those named as co-defendants in the lawsuit, which has been launched against FTX’s former chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried.
In the wake of FTX’s collapse and bankruptcy filing last week, Reuters reported at least $1bn (£844m) of customer funds had vanished from the exchange, according to people familiar with the matter.
As investors scramble to recoup their losses, critics of FTX’s practices have turned their anger on the celebrities who endorsed the cryptocurrency exchange.
Last year, NFL quarterback Tom Brady and his now ex-wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, starred in a TV campaign for FTX, while Curb Your Enthusiasm star Larry David featured in this year’s Super Bowl ad for the crypto exchange.
Sports stars Naomi Osaka and Shaquille O’Neal are also named in the lawsuit, which claims that the co-defendants “either controlled, promoted, assisted in, [or] actively participated in FTX Trading”.
Elsewhere, the lawsuit claims: “Part of the scheme employed by the FTX Entities involved utilising some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment – like these defendants – to raise funds and drive American consumers to invest.”
The collapse of FTX is also the subject of an investigation by federal prosecutors, according to sources speaking to ABC News.
Joules slides into administration despite ‘overwhelming’ interest from potential buyers
Joules has fallen in administration putting 1,600 jobs at risk, despite “overwhelming” interest from potential buyers to acquire its brand and assets.
The fashion retailer filed a notice on Monday to appoint administrator Interpath Advisory, which has confirmed the chain’s 132 shops will stay open while the team “assess options for the business”, the Guardian reports.
Online orders will be delivered as usual and existing gift cards can still be redeemed. Customers will be allowed to exchange items in store, but refunds will no longer be available given the company is in administration.
Joules has blamed its decline on the cost of living crisis, combined with the summer heatwave which made the brand’s core jumper and jacket products less desirable.
Head of restructuring at Interpath Advisory, Will Wright, is optimistic there is a way to secure a future for the brand, adding that it is “vitally important” to stay open during the Christmas trading period. Hopeful of achieving a possible sale, Wright described Joules as “one of the most recognisable names on the high street, with a unique brand identity and loyal customer base.”
Wednesday, 16 November
ITV partners with Tesco and Boots on retail media proposition
ITV is partnering with Tesco’s customer data partner Dunnhumby and Boots Media Group on a new retail media service, which will use their loyalty card data to enhance targeting options across the broadcaster’s video-on-demand platform.
The ‘Matchmaker’ service will be available to FMCG advertisers which supply either retailer, and will be able to measure precise sales uplift among those who have seen an ad.
The proposition is entirely cookie-less, instead matching ITV’s first-party registered audience data with Tesco’s Clubcard and Boots’ Advantage Card databases using the data collaboration platform of InfoSum.
ITV unveiled Matchmaker at its annual Palooza event last night (15 November), alongside a number of other announcements. The broadcaster will be launching a new version of its premium advanced advertising platform, Planet V 2.0, and has launched a free reporting tool, Share of Voice by ITV, to allow quicker measurement of campaign impact.
Activist fund calls on Google-owner to slash headcount
Google’s parent company Alphabet is facing pressure to cut costs by reducing its staff base, with activist investor TCI Fund urging the business to recalibrate as revenues begin to fall.
Alphabet has “too many employees” and offers salaries that are too high compared to other companies in Silicon Valley, the fund complained. Headcount at the digital giant has grown by 20% annually since 2017, when TCI bought its $6bn (£5.1bn) stake in the business.
Last month, Alphabet reported an increase in sales of 6% in its third quarter to $69.1bn (£60.7bn). By comparison, revenues soared 41% to $65.12bn (£57.2bn) during the same period last year.
YouTube ad revenues were partly behind the disappointing numbers, declining by 2% to $7.1bn (£6.2bn) compared to the same period in 2021, while network advertising revenues also decreased by 2% to $7.9bn (£6.9bn). It marked the first time YouTube ad revenues had declined since public reporting on the numbers began.
Last week, Facebook-owner Meta announced plans to cut 11,000 staff from its employee base – or 13% of its workforce – as the “macroeconomic downturn” and “increased competition” takes its toll on the business’s post-pandemic revenues.
Under new owner Elon Musk, Twitter has just been through a second round of lay-offs, having already dismissed around half of its full time employees since he took control of the company last month.
It was also reported this week that online retail giant Amazon plans to cut 10,000 jobs, or around 3% of its office staff.
Ben & Jerry’s fires shot at Unilever over sale of Israeli arm
Ben & Jerry’s has fired a fresh shot at parent company Unilever over the sale of its Israeli arm earlier this year, renouncing any affiliation with the new brand owner in Israel and reiterating its “clear” position against the sale of its ice cream in the occupied West Bank.
In a statement yesterday (15 November), Ben & Jerry’s independent board said Unilever had sold trademark rights to the Hebrew and Arabic language versions of the brand’s name to Blue & White Ice Cream “without the consent of Ben & Jerry’s independent board”.
“Blue & White Ice-Cream Ltd. is a completely separate and distinct entity from Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. Any products sold by Blue & White Ice Cream Ltd. are uniquely its own and should not be confused with products produced and distributed by Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. Ben & Jerry’s has no ownership of, affiliation with, or economic interest in Blue & White Ice-Cream Ltd,” the statement continued.
“Ben & Jerry’s position is clear: the sale of products bearing any Ben & Jerry’s insignia in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is against our values. Such sales are inconsistent with international law, fundamental human rights, and Ben & Jerry’s social mission.”
On acquiring Ben & Jerry’s in 2000, Unilever agreed to leave the brand’s independent board with full control over its social mission. In July last year, the brand declared it would stop sales in Israeli settlements in occupied territories, deeming that it would be “inconsistent with our values” to continue doing so.
However, 11 months later Unilever reversed the decision and agreed to sell the brand’s Israeli business to a local licensee. Ben & Jerry’s sued its parent company, alleging the sale would damage its brand, but eventually lost the case. In September it renewed the legal challenge.
UK inflation reaches 11.1%
UK prices rose by 11.1% in the 12 months to October 2022, the highest inflation rate in 41 years. In September, the figure stood at 10.1%.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), energy bills were the primary factor driving up the cost of living, despite the government’s Energy Price Guarantee support for household bills until April. However, the ONS estimates that without the help, inflation would have risen as high as 13.8%.
Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices have also continued to climb, rising by 16.4% over the year. In September, inflation in the category sat at 14.6%.
October therefore marks the 15th consecutive month in which food and non-alcoholic beverage prices have increased, from -0.6% in July 2021. The current rate is the highest since September 1977, the ONS estimates, when annual inflation was 17.6%.
Nurofen to tackle gender ‘pain gap’ with new platform
Nurofen has unveiled a new purpose-led brand platform, as the pain relief brand commits to making a difference in closing the “gender pain gap”.
The ‘See My Pain’ platform aims to address how women’s pains have been overlooked and ignored due to societal and medical biases. It has been created with McCann London, McCann Health London and Golin.
It kicks off with a campaign around the launch of the Nurofen Gender Pain Gap Index Report, which is being led with print ads in the Metro, Times and The Telegraph, as well as digital out of home ads.
According to the report, nearly half (48%) of all adults surveyed believe there is a “gap” in the identification and treatment of pain between genders. Of those who felt their pain was ignored or dismissed, nearly one in four women compared to one in six men said no one took their pain seriously.
A number of factors play into the existence of the pain gap, including a historical lack of media research into women specific pains, the lack of mandatory training for healthcare professionals on women specific conditions, and underlying gender biases in society.
Under the new platform, the Reckitt-owned brand is also committing to develop tools to help women and men articulate their pains to professionals, ensuring gender balance in the design, conduct and analysis of its own clinical research, and regularly tracking its progress in closing the gap through the report.
Tuesday, 15 November
ITV launches ‘contemporary’ brand refresh ahead of ITVX launch
ITV has given its channels a freshen up, with new channel branding, indents and on-screen presentation being updated.
The broadcaster is launching the refresh ahead of the launch of ITVX, which is set to go live on 8 December.
“We are using the launch of ITVX this Autumn as a moment to give ITV’s broadcast channels a modern and fresh update too,” says ITV chief marketing officer, Jane Stiller, who claims the move is “driven by a future where both broadcast and streaming will be equally crucial parts” to how viewers engage with ITV.
Viewers will now gain a more “joined up experience” claims Stiller. “Everything will look and feel modern and relevant, with each platform or channel having a simple twist.”
“We think this a brilliant opportunity, through branding, design and motion to have the most contemporary broadcast branding in the UK, while allowing us to move more seamlessly between broadcast and streaming,” she adds.
ITV is not the only broadcaster to update its branding in recent weeks. At the start of November, Channel 4 ditched its All 4 brand, in favour of adopting one brand identity across its digital and linear channels.
Campaigns that use both linear TV and BVOD up to 10% more effective than linear alone
With investment in broadcaster video on demand (BVOD) advertising up 17.2% in the first half of this year, according to research from the Advertising Association and WARC, new research reveals campaigns using both linear TV and BVOD are more effective than linear alone.
Campaigns across both channels are up to 10% more effective than linear alone when it comes to delivering ROI, claims research from Thinkbox, in collaboration with PwC, Gain Theory, MediaCom, Wavemaker, Mindshare, and Acacia Avenue.
Specific analysis from PWC finds that on average, BVOD adds a 4% increase in incremental adult reach to a linear TV campaign – it’s an 8% increase for those aged 16-24.
The research offers guidance for planners, such as using three TV sales houses to reach light viewers, who watch less than two hours of TV a day, planning around key programming times, and running the BVOD element of TV campaigns for longer than 30 days to optimise reach.
“The broadcasters’ VOD services are the original streamers and BVOD is the beating heart of the growing connected TV world. Yet, until now, there has been relatively little large-scale evidence for its effectiveness,” says Thinkbox research and planning director, Matt Hill.
Three launches ‘We See You’ platform with Chelsea FC to reward women in football
Three has launched the ‘WeSeeYou’ network with Chelsea football club to “recognise and celebrate” women in sport.
The new platform will positively impact women across all areas of football, claims Three. Using the platform, people can recognise the women in their own football networks by sharing stories and nominating them to be a part of the network, with experiences on offer. 40 nominations across three categories, players, coaches, and women in the business of sport, will be chosen.
Three has previously worked with Chelsea FC on a range of activations, since the network joined the club as a shirt sponsor in 2020.
“By raising awareness and celebrating all these amazing stories through the WeSeeYou Network we are utilising our brand and platform to support broader growth and accessibility to the game, that is ultimately building a brighter future for all,” says Three UK chief commercial officer, Elaine Carey.
Off the back of the Lionesses winning the UEFA Euros in July, more than a quarter (27%) of the 15.8 million new viewers of women’s sport this year have continues to watch more female sport since.
Joules is the latest brand to head into administration
The British clothing company Joules is appointing administrators after failing to secure a rescuer. Founded in 1989, Joules currently has 132 stores across the UK, and warned last week that recent sales had been weaker than expected thanks to the “challenging UK economic environment”.
1,600 jobs are at risk, as founder Tom Joule said yesterday (14 November) in a statement that it was a “deeply disappointing day for Joules, and a sad day” for him personally.
“However, we recognise our business has become too complex and our model today is not aligned to succeed in the current, tough trading environment,” he added.
Joule believes the company “remains a desirable, differentiated brand that, with the right model and structure, can thrive again”.
Primark trials long-awaited click-and-collect service
Primark is rolling out a click-and-collect service in 25 stores across north-west England, Yorkshire and north Wales.
The service, which to start with is only catering to children’s products, comes after the retailer came up against a £1bn drop in sales during the pandemic. Orders using the new service have a £15 minimum, and Primark is making hundreds of items exclusive to the service.
“We’re big fans of the high street and we believe passionately that a thriving local shopping area benefits everyone in the community. Our approach to online is all about supporting and complementing our stores, which will always be at the heart of our business,” says Primark chief executive, Paul Marchant.
Earlier this year, Primark launched its new website that allows customers to access a stock checking tool.
Monday, 14 November
KFC says one third of its new recruits will be disadvantaged young people by 2030
By 2030, one third of KFC’s new recruits will be young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, it says.
KFC says the programme, which is conducted in partnership with charity UK Youth, will help around 6,000 people get their first job. The scheme will involve training and practical work experience, and is targeted at young people aged 16 to 24 who have faced social, economic, domestic or mental health issues that have acted as barriers to employment.
The UK has seen record job vacancies in recent times. Last month, a survey from business lobby group CBI found almost three quarters of UK businesses had seen staff shortages over the past year.
KFC UK and Ireland general manager Meghan Farren says the scheme represents “an investment in the future of our businesses”.
“If we’re to tackle the labour shortage and provide better jobs and economic growth across the country for the next generation, then we urgently need to help young people who have been excluded from education and training opportunities to find their feet and their voice in the workplace,” she says.
‘Copycat’ products result in cost to consumer, finds report
Products which mimic the packaging of familiar brands are artificially driving up costs for consumers, argues a report from the British Brand Group (BBG).
The report presents a number of private-label FMCG products alongside visually-similar big brands. The BBG says it selected these products as “they appear to be designed intentionally to evoke familiar branded products, thereby gaining an advantage from those products.”
There is evidence shoppers mistakenly buy these products thinking they come from the same company, or are of the same quality as the original brand, claims the report. The BBG terms these copycat products “parasites”.
“In addition to free-riding on the marketing effort of familiar brands without incurring the associated costs, boosting their profits in the process, the copy is also able to charge higher prices, without delivering any higher value to the shopper,” it argues.
The BBG note there is limited action brand owners can take to protect themselves against what it views as parasitic behaviour. It says there is even less to protect consumers from being charged artificially more for products not worth the price.
Disney plans to freeze hiring and cut jobs
Disney is planning to freeze hiring and cut some jobs as it aims to move its Disney+ streaming service towards profitability.
CEO Bob Chapek sent an internal memo saying the company was introducing a hiring freeze and was expecting to make “some small staff reductions” as it aims to reduce costs amid a toughening economic environment, reports Reuters.
“While certain macroeconomic factors are out of our control, meeting these goals requires all of us to continue doing our part to manage the things we can control – most notably, our costs,” Chapek wrote in the memo.
The company’s latest financial results published last week show it missed earnings estimates, which caused its shares to drop more than 13%.
Disney+ has seen rapid subscriber growth, but continues to operate at a loss. The service gained 12 million subscribers in its last quarter, but it reported an operating loss of nearly $1.5bn (£1.3bn). It is forecasting the service will become profitable in its 2024 fiscal year and says losses peaked in the last quarter.
Amid the uncertain economic environment, rival studio Warner Bros Discovery has already undergone cost-cutting efforts, including job cuts as the recently merged company restructures its operations.
Frasers Group reportedly close to buying Savile Row tailors
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group is close to closing a deal to buy Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes, reports Sky News.
Frasers Group, which owns brands like Sports Direct and House of Fraser, has reportedly been contemplating an acquisition of the tailor since September. Gieves & Hawkes was put up for sale last year after its Hong Kong owners collapsed into liquidation.
The high-end menswear brand dates back to 1771 and was originally designed to cater to the needs of the British Army and Royal Navy. It holds a number of Royal Warrants and has dressed some of the most important figures in English history, including Sir Winston Churchill and Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Savile Row tailors have been through a difficult period following a decline in demand for men’s formal and workwear during the pandemic.
Frasers Group, where Mike Ashley is no longer director but remains as majority shareholder, has acquired a number of high street brands including Jack Wills in 2019 and Evans Cycles in 2018. In June this year, it acquired the intellectual property of online fast fashion retailer Missguided for around £20m.
The financial specifics of the deal to acquire Gieves & Hawkins are not known; however, it is not thought to be significant given Frasers’ size.
Coral launches racing club
Betting brand Coral is launching a Racing Club, designed to give its customers the experience of owning a racehorse.
The Racing Club will be free to join, and will give members access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content, as well as the chance to win tickets to race meets and stable visits.
The initiative represents a multimillion pound investment by the betting brand and is supported by a media campaign. This is led by a 60-second film ‘The Journey’, created by creative agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. It stars jockey and Coral Ambassador, Tom Scudamore and was shot at Jackdaws Castle and Stratford Racecourse. It is reportedly the biggest racehorse ownership campaign ever run in the UK.
The club will launch with four racehorses, with one each being cared for by trainers Jonjo O’Neill, Joe Tizzard, Rebecca Menzies and Scott Dixon. O’Neill is currently sourcing a fifth racehorse to complete the line-up.
The betting brand is also launching a competition to name a four year gelding trained by Joe Tizzard to celebrate the launch of the club.
“The Coral Racing Club is the only free-to-join racehorse ownership experience in the UK, and our ambition is to make it the biggest and best racing club in existence, getting thousands of our customers closer to the action than ever before, and in doing so helping to broaden the appeal of the sport for the benefit of everyone in racing,” says Coral PR director Simon Clare.
He adds: “There have been times in the past when bookmakers have been accused of prioritising other products like football ahead of racing, and not promoting the sport enough. But by creating and launching the Coral Racing Club, on top of doubling our investment in racing sponsorship, Coral is now doing more than any betting operator has done before to grow the appeal of racing, and promote the sport.”