Retail news round-up: Single’s Day boom with retail-tainment


Single’s Day, the Alibaba-organised sales promo extravaganza taking place annually on November 11, racked up $25.3 billion in gross merchandise volumes, exceeding last year’s sales figures by 39%.

The event has successfully made retail into a form of entertainment – “retail-tainment” and the countdown to the start was given some serious bling with celebrities including Nichole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing. Alibaba founder, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s, also made an impromptu appearance as “retail-tainment-in-chief” in front of cheering crowds.

During the countdown consumers were treated to “See Now Buy Now” fashion shows, and downloaded coupons, raffle tickets and gift certificates via specially created interactive apps. As the zero point approached consumers from around the world joined in with China’s newly wealthy, eager-to-spend middle class.

140,000: brands participated, including P&G, Estee Lauder, Starbucks, Bose, Nike, and GAP, with many other smaller brands getting a slice of the pie alongside them. A total of 15 million produces were listed, with wellness items and baby products featuring highly in the top sellers.

812 million orders were placed and the first was delivered within 12.18 minutes of the purchase. This amounted to 1.48 billion payments processed through Alipay, 90% of them through mobile phone. China’s sophisticated mobile payment system is far ahead of the West.

Here on home shores, the western section of Oxford Street will be pedestrianised by the end of next year, with all east-west traffic banned from the half-mile stretch from Selfridges to Oxford Circus. The move was announced by Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London. The complete removal of traffic from the central London street is likely by the end of 2021.

UK businesses are being urged to plan in advance to avoid missing or delaying crucial payments over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Bacs Payment Schemes is reminding firms to make plans to ensure staff and suppliers don’t miss out because of non-processing days during the festive period.

The latest edition of The Retailer, the British Retail Consortium’s online only magazine, is out now ( The impact of Brexit and emerging trends in retail take centre stage. ‘For retailers, speed and efficiency in supply chains are paramount. With the possibility of a ‘hard’ or ‘no deal’ Brexit, retailers must adapt to a new operating environment,’ writes Malcolm Dowden, legal director of law firm Bond Dickinson.

Britain’s retailers employ more women executives than those in western Europe, according to DHR. Its data shows that 32% of executives in Britain’s largest retail groups are female, compared with 29% in France, 16% in Germany and 15% in the Netherlands.

Customers are being warned about a number of fake Pandora websites popping up which are claiming to give up to 70% off the brand, according to Jewellery Focus.

Pippa Murray, founder of Pip & Nut, shares her tips for pitching products to retailers in the latest video in Enterprise Nation’s Start-up series ( Her kitchen table idea is now a multi-million pound turnover brand.

For the second year running, award-winning ecommerce agency Ampersand has placed Burberry in first place in its Mobile Retail Report which compares UK high street retailers by mobile web experience. House of Fraser, Oasis, Warehouse, B&Q, Karen Millen, Boots, Go Outdoors, Snow + Rock and Victoria’s Secret took the other top spots, with Liberty, miu miu, Craghoppers and Links named as the most improved.

The volume of retail sales across the 19-nation Eurozone rose by 3.7% year-on-year in September, according to Eurostat. This was driven by a 5.1% increase in the purchase of non-food items such as clothing, furniture and electricals.

The Bank of England has said that old £10 notes will cease to be legal tender on March 1, 2018.

Alan Monahan