• Date: 16 August 2017
  • Posted By: admin

Yes, it’s Wednesday already – won’t be long until the weekend! This week, we bring you another tasty selection of stories: The Philip Green saga takes another twist; Clark’s shoes accused of sexism; Some retailers are struggling; and Pay rises ‘subdued’.

The Philip Green saga takes another twist: There is no end in sight for the drama that is Philip Green and the demise of BHS. Apparently, the Mail on Sunday’s report that the BHS liquidator has filed a lawsuit against Philip Green’s Arcadia group has been confirmed. But the actual basis on which a case is being bought remains secret. So yes, the saga continues, and once we find out what Arcadia is being taken to court for, we’ll let you know.

Clark’s shoes accused of sexism: Not known for causing a storm, Clarks was in the media eye the other day over a girl’s shoe called Dolly Babe as opposed to a boys shoe called Leader. Even Nicola Sturgeon entered the fray. Now, we paused on this one because we weren’t sure if it was the name that is sexist, or the fact that there were shoes made for girls and for boys rather than unisex. Clearly the name Dolly Babe is very dubious. Clarks has withdrawn the offending item – although apparently you can still get it from John Lewis and Amazon. Lots of tweets in this article – but there is a sensible comment from one person who describes how much better made Clarks boys shoes are compared to its girls shoes. Clarks is scrambling to sort this one out, given that it markets itself as having a ‘gender-neutral ethos’.

Some retailers are struggling: It might surprise you to know that Laura Ashley, Urban Outfitters, and Jones the Bootmakers are really struggling. Laura Ashley has issued its second profit warning in 6 months; Urban Outfitters, which includes Anthropologie, has had its worst sales for 7 years; and Jones the Bootmakers – which has been trading for 160 years – is closing a further 9 stores, having already closed 25, and there’s speculation that 10 more might go. Add to that news that House of Fraser has let 8 of its online team go, moving some of the functions these people did to India. And that only leaves 10 people here. We raised an eyebrow given that all retailers are becoming much more digital as its the online sales that are outstripping by a country mile the in-store ones; and  We also raised an eyebrow that HoF might also be moving some of its merchandising and design functions out to India, given that the trend has been for bringing jobs back to the UK. Here’s articles on all 4 of these stories for you to read.

Pay rises ‘subdued’: So, the good news (yes, there is some!) is that unemployment is at its lowest level for 42 years – down even further very slightly from the previous quarter of 4.5%, it now stands at 4.4%. So there’s more people in work now than back in the 1970s. However. Yep, there’s a sting to the tale. Wage increases are tipped to be only around 1% this year according to latest research by the Chartered Institute of People & Development (CIPD). With inflation at 2+%, our disposable income continues to be under pressure, which surely must lead to further problems for the retail industry as we rein in our spending.

That’s it again for another week. Come back here again next Wednesday to read some more interesting stories, and to keep up with what’s happening in the world of retail and employment.