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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to http://pennystockpaycheck.com for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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VIDEO: Teen buys £105 of groceries for £1.62

Category : World News

A teenager is saving his mother hundreds of pounds in grocery bills thanks to his savvy shopping techniques.

Continued here: VIDEO: Teen buys £105 of groceries for £1.62

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DubLi.com Launches New Enhancements to Shopping Mall Platform

Category : Stocks, World News

BOCA RATON, FL–(Marketwired – Apr 3, 2013) – DubLi, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: DUBL), a global marketing company that provides consumers around the world with a variety of innovative, online shopping and entertainment opportunities, today announced several new enhancements to its shopping mall platform.

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Horsemeat scandal ‘changing habits’

Category : Business

More than half of UK consumers have changed their shopping habits as a result of the horsemeat scandal, a survey by consumer group Which? suggests.

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VIDEO: Hammerson’s secret to success

Category : Business, World News

Shopping centre landlord Hammerson has reported its annual results, with growth of 2.1% in like-for-like net rental income.

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Tourists splurge £4.5bn in UK shops

Category : Business

Average foreign visitor on shopping trip spends £680 – with Britain ranked above France and Italy as a retail destination

The high street may be shrouded in recession-related gloom, yet Britain remains one of the world’s most sought-after destinations for overseas shoppers seeking to splash their cash.

Research released by the national tourism agency, VisitBritain, shows that 18 million foreign visitors spent a till-busting £4.5bn in Britain’s shops in 2011 – of a total spend of £17.9bn. That means they shelled out, on average, a quarter of their total spending on high streets, department stores and shopping centres across the UK.

Over half of the shopping splurge was on clothes, with an estimated £2.3bn generated by fashion-conscious foreign tourists. Many visitors also snapped up souvenirs, gifts and household goods, on which they spent £1.6bn.

Further analysis of the research found that a ‘shopping’ tourist spends more – an average of £680 per trip – than an ‘ordinary’ overseas tourist who typically spends £580. And shopping in Britain was rated above France and the same as Italy in terms of value for money.

The findings, based on data from the Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey, show that London’s world-class shops, stores and markets are a major attraction for foreign visitors. Around 81% of holiday visitors to London hit the shops. The regional benefits are also clear, with between two-thirds and three-quarters of holiday visitors shopping outside the capital.

Retailers ‘must adapt to win over older shoppers’ – study

Category : Business

Over-55s will dominate shopping centres of the future, says study, contributing nearly two-thirds of sales growth over 10 years

Retailers must adapt to attract an army of silver-haired shoppers who will dominate the shopping centres of the future, a report out on Friday suggests.

Relatively low growth and the ongoing switch to online shopping will drive a 10% drop in store numbers according to Conlumino, the retail market research company which produced the report.

The over-55s will contribute nearly two-thirds of retail sales growth over the next decade as the baby boomers head into retirement. The ageing population will continue to fuel retail sales growth at 2.4% over the next 10 years reaching a total of £377bn by 2022. However, that growth runs significantly below the average 4.5% enjoyed during the late 1990s.

Retailers will have to up their game to win sales, say the Conlumino analysts, rather than rely on a credit-fuelled boom.

“The older shopper of tomorrow is very different from today. They are a lot more savvy and demanding in terms of customer services and they are more attuned to fashion trends which they want adapted to suit their age bracket,” says Neil Saunders from Conlumino.

He says those retailers who can get the formula right have a great opportunity to take market share from some of today’s brands who are still creating products for the “Miss Marple generation”.

David Atkins, chief executive of shopping centre developer Hammerson, which commissioned the report, says that its response to an ageing population will be to improve car-parking and add more restaurants and leisure facilities such as cinemas, so that older shoppers can relax with friends and family. He said catering and leisure facilities are likely to make up more than a quarter of Hammerson’s shopping malls in future, compared with around 15% today and just 2% or 3% historically.

Stores are also likely to be bigger to allow shoppers to see a wider range of products to be displayed and fit in new customers services such as collection points for good bought online.

As a result, Conlumino predicts that, although the number of stores in the UK is set to fall, the total amount of retail floorspace in the UK will drop just 5%.

In that changing environment, traditional high streets, many of which already have high shop vacancy rates as a result of the economic downturn, are likely to come under increasing pressure.

Atkins says: “It’s about the experience and the catering that shopping centres can provide more readily than high streets.”

But Chris Wade, chief executive of Action for Market Towns, says local high streets are fighting back.

“Many small towns have been evolving in the past few years with award-winning projects such as local food markets and special events which are attracting people to high streets,” Wade said.

He said high streets would continue to be attractive because they tend to have a more interesting mix of shops including local independents which keep more money within the community.

Wade said: “If you spend money in an independent shop 80% of that money stays in the local community. At an out-of-town shopping centre it is usually less than 10%.”

Mothercare tries to sharpen up and cash in on baby boom

Category : Business

Nothing is too good for today’s infants, so midmarket retailer Mothercare must raise its game or lose even more market share

Was it something in the water or simply a cheap form of entertainment? Who knows, but the UK is experiencing its biggest baby boom since 1971.

The Office for National Statistics said last week that 723,913 babies were born in 2011, with hotspots in the south-east of England seeing birth rates up by more than 50%. If that seems like joyful news for our depressed nation, imagine how pleased you would be if your livelihood depended on it. A combination of booming birth rate and women earning higher salaries before they become mothers has seen sales of baby products soar.

The town of Watford in Hertfordshire is one of the baby-boom capitals – with birth rates up 44% in 10 years – and also happens to be the headquarters of Mothercare. You might expect the mother-and-baby retailer to be riding high, yet in a seemingly recession-proof market, it is losing market share to the likes of Tesco and Asda at one end, and upmarket boutiques such as Petit Bateau and JoJo Maman Bébé at the other.

Honor Westnedge of retail analyst Verdict says: “We’ve seen the average age of first-time mothers increase, and older mothers tend to spend more on their children because they have more disposable income. Nothing is too good for their baby.”

The number of first-time mothers aged over 35 has jumped by 44% over the past 10 years, with those over 40 up 84%. Average spending in infantswear has gone up over the same period from £334 a child in 2002 to £435 in 2012. With the market now worth £1.4bn a year, it’s no wonder supermarkets are increasing their ranges of bibs, vests and outfits.

Westnedge says: “Supermarkets have worked really hard to sell an affordable product that is also good quality. The quality part is really important, because then parents will continue shopping for clothes there as their children grow.”

Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have all increased their market share, with Asda now on 8.8%, compared with 7.5% in 2007. But they are taking customers away from midmarket rivals, with Mothercare particularly affected. The baby specialist retailer has had a disastrous few years which has led to depressing predictions from retail analysts.

Westnedge says: “The biggest losers are in the midmarket as people trade down for value or trade up for a treat. Mothercare perceives itself as the go-to destination, but has had lots of trouble with driving footfall because of pricing, store layout and service.”

Babywear “treats”, sold by high-end retailers such as Mamas & Papas, have a market share of 4.5%, which is expected to increase. Mothercare’s overall share of the childrenswear market has fallen, according to Verdict, from 2.9% in 2007 to 2.5% in 2012.

But it is hatching a plan. A year ago Mothercare poached Simon Calver from film website LoveFilm as its new chief executive, with a nod to its online ambitions. Calver will also take the axe to many of Mothercare’s high street stores, focusing on out-of-town shopping centres, where a trip can be a day out. Its flagship store in Edmonton, north London, now boasts a Costa Coffee shop, private ultrasound service and baby and toddler activities. Back at the Watford branch, a similar transformation is under way, although customers say it still looks more overpriced and dowdy than fresh and affordable.

Shopping for a blanket for six-week old Isabel-Maria, Liz Grey says she feels Mothercare has improved. The mother of six, whose oldest is 17, says: “It is much better now than it was in the 1990s: they’ve worked hard on customer service, although it still seems overpriced. I remember when the stores were not very baby-friendly, with changing rooms up flights of stairs, and lifts broken.”

Other customers agree. Bridget Gavin, there with granddaughter Tulisa, says: “We bought a blackboard from here and it was faulty. The store couldn’t have been more helpful. They sent me vouchers and I got a phone call of apology from the store manager. That’s why I still shop here.” However, she admit she buys babygrows from Tesco and Asda because they are cheaper.

Emma McCarthy, shopping with six-month-old Sophie and four-year-old Thomas, adds: “I tend to go to the supermarkets because the quality is always fine. It’s just too expensive here.”

Joanne Geere, with 10-month-old son Henry, says: “I bought my babyseat from here. Why should I give my money to Amazon when they don’t pay any tax? It we don’t support local shops we’ll lose them. It’s important to get out of the house, and you get the advice and expertise you don’t get from a website.”

Mothercare seems to be taking this on board: its customer service satisfaction levels, once around 50%, are now improving. And with parents sometimes spending more than £1,000 on a buggy, advice from knowledgeable staff is more important than ever.

This is making even online retailers think again. Kiddicare, one of the biggest online specialists, recently opened four stores and plans several more.

Westnedge at Verdict says this is unique to the baby and child sector: “I can’t think of anyone else that has opened stores from an internet-only position.”

Service is expected to be the key factor for any midmarket retailer in this competitive sector, given the squeeze from value brands such as Primark as well as supermarkets. In 2007 value retailers accounted for 47% of childrenswear sales, and the midmarket 48.6%. Today the latter control just 41.7%, while the likes of Tesco and Asda holding a 53.8% share, which is expected to rise.

VIDEO: Joint £1bn venture for Croydon

Category : World News

Two developers have signed a £1bn deal to regenerate shopping centres in Croydon, promising 5,000 new jobs.

The rest is here: VIDEO: Joint £1bn venture for Croydon

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UK retail sales fell in December

Category : Business

Drop in sales volumes underlines difficult trading that has seen administrators called in to Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster

Fears that Britain is heading for a triple-dip recession intensified on Friday amid news of a poor Christmas for retailers and concerns that heavy snow will lead to an economic shutdown over the coming days.

City analysts pencilled in a small fall in national output for the final quarter of 2012 after the release of official data showing the volume of retail sales dipped by 0.1% between November and December, and by 0.6% between the third and fourth quarters of 2012.

But there was also speculation that the arctic weather gripping much of the UK would result in a repeat of the closed factories and empty shopping malls of late 2010, which then contributed to a temporary plunge in activity.

“Given the UK’s ability to grind to a halt with even a flake, the snow has come at a very brittle time for the UK economy, adding to the headwinds that it is already battling against as it tries to avoid a triple-dip recession,” said Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight. “The longer the snow and freezing conditions last, the greater will be the disruption to economic activity, and the bigger the risk that the first quarter of 2013 will see contraction in GDP following a likely renewed modest dip in the fourth quarter of 2012.”

Two quarters of consecutive declines in GDP would be needed for an unprecedented triple-dip recession, but the City was put on alert following data released by the Office for National Statistics showing a poor trading performance by retailers in the busiest shopping month of the year.

Nick Parsons, head of strategy for National Australia Bank, said: “We’re looking for a -0.4% drop in GDP when the quarter four 2012 figures are published next week. The biggest threat to the first quarter of 2013 and the possibility of a triple-dip recession would be for a decent dump of snow to bring the UK economy grinding to a halt. Which is exactly what we’ve got.”

The seasonally adjusted drop in high-street and online retail activity followed a flat November and underlined the difficult trading conditions that have seen administrators called in to Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster within the past 10 days. Supermarkets, department stores and shops selling household goods all struggled, but discounting appeared to help clothing and footwear outlets.

Although some stores reported a last-minute rush just before Christmas, the ONS data suggests hard-pressed consumers kept a tight rein on their spending. The figures, which cover the period until 29 December, show the boost to spending provided by the London Olympics proved to be shortlived, with activity in December barely higher than it was a year earlier and only 1.2% higher than when the recession was at its worst in 2009.

Only strong sales of petrol following a fall in pump prices prevented a bigger monthly decline, the ONS said. Excluding fuel, there was a 0.3% reduction in retail sales in December.

The ONS said online shopping made up an increasing share of retail sales, with more than 10% of the total accounted for by consumers using the internet, an increase of 1.2 percentage points on December 2011.

Vicky Redwood, UK analyst at Capital Economics, said: “December’s drop in the official measure of UK retail sales volumes confirms the festive period was fairly lacklustre for the high street.”

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at foreign exchange company World First, said: “With the number of big high street names heading into administration in the past few weeks, we already knew this Christmas was not a kind one for the retail industry. Food and energy price inflation have hammered consumers’ pockets and, apart from December 2010 (a very snowy month), this annual increase of 1.1% was the weakest since 1998.

“Sterling has come in for an absolute pasting in the past 24 hours, as investors positioned themselves for [these] retail sales numbers.”

Experience: I gave birth outside Waitrose

Category : Business

‘I wanted somewhere quiet to give birth – even with the screens I could see the feet of shoppers walking by’

Normally I would keep on walking. Waitrose is over our budget and reserved for special treats. But last November I

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