In a retail landscape that on the outside looks to be all store closures and falling profits, it’s important to focus on some of the positives. Here’s our round-up of good things that have happened in retail this month.
It wouldn’t be a November round-up without mention of Iceland’s now-viral Rang-tan Christmas ad. Banned on the TV, it’s racked up 13 million views on Facebook and gained many valuable column inches. A number of retailers are also doing their bit to cut out plastic this month, like Peacocks, who’re introducing bio-degradable shopping bags into all 500 UK stores. Or Budgens in London’s Camden, who have a new plastic-free aisle.
With its focus on getting UK retailers to make shopping easier for people with disabilities, Purple Tuesday enjoyed a roaringly successful inaugural campaign this month. The day itself involved initiatives like turning off music in stores, which can be distracting or distressing for people with hearing impairments and conditions like autism. To be involved, businesses had to make at least one long-term commitment to improving the experience of disabled customers. Organised by disability organisation Purple, with the endorsement of the Department for Work and Pensions, they aimed to bring 50 retailers on board, but ended up with over 700 taking part.
Sales are still happening
No, really. Just look at these brick-and-mortar retailers posting figures on the rise. In the UK, Primark have seen a 19% increase in year-for-year sales, with a profit leap of 7%. B&M just opened their 600th store and have their sights set on 950, with pre-tax profits of £98.9 million. And Poundland have reported annual sales of £1.5bn, with steady like-for-like growth.
Meanwhile, in America
US retailers are finding a different kind of green is boosting the economy. Yep, we’re talking about marijuana. Green Wednesday lands on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving – a time for togetherness, thankfulness and now smoking weed. Last year, sales of marijuana products on Green Wednesday totalled $11 million, and with more states introducing legal recreational sales, that number is only going to rise. However you look at it, that’s great news for the economy!
Yes, it’s tough out there. Yes, footfall is down, but real-life stores still account for most of the sales made in the UK, and Aptos research suggests that 71% of people will favour bricks over clicks at this time of year in particular. For brands with a point of difference, who’re willing to change with the times and include a vaster swathe of society in their development, the future’s still looking bright.