Megagrocer Tesco said its sales fell by 2.4 percent over Christmas 2013 compared to Christmas 2012.
And another big grocer, Morrisons said its sales fell by 5.6 percent in six weeks up to 5th of January, blaming competition by the likes of Lidl and Aldi.
Morrisons has been slow to sell stuff on the internet.
Philip Clarke, MD of Tesco said it was going to open lots more smaller Tesco Express shops. These shops sell stuff that’s slightly more expensive than the big megastores.
And there’s more woe on the High Street – Marks and Spencer sales for clothes and home kit fell 2.1 percent in the last calendar quarter of 2013.
Morrisons chief executive Dalton Philips believes the Government should impose a new online sales tax to level the playing field with its rivals and e-commerce outfits. Philips told The Daily Telegraph that the tax imbalance between internet and high street retailers is illogical and it is taking its toll on Britain’s town centres.
Interestingly, Morrisons is moving into the online space right now, but it still feels it should pay its fair share. Last week Philips said Morrisons lost £700 million of sales last year because it lacked an e-commerce platform. Shoppers simply chose the convenience offered by online groceries instead. In response, Morrisons is entering the e-commerce space with Ocado and it believes the new platform should be able to break even in just four years.
But Morrisons’ online push isn’t about to change Philips’ mind.
“As a country, we need to look at how we’re going to tax retailers in general wherever they operate, because we’ve all got to contribute to society, but one can’t be disadvantaged over the other,” he said. “I’m not into intervention for intervention’s sake but you’ve got to have a level playing field. As more and more sales migrate online, it seems to me intuitive that you would tax the online channels as well.”
Philips added that there was simply no logic to the tax system anymore, as the rates keep going up, while at the same time town centres become ghost towns, as brick and mortar outfits find themselves fighting against the odds to stay competitive.
More often than not, they fail.
Machines could take the jobs of nearly 700 Morrisons back office staff.
The supermarket, which employs around 131,000 staff and has 490 UK stores, has reportedly embarked in four week consultation talks with with 689 cash office managers after looking at the machines to cut costs.
It follows the company posting a loss of £879 million in 2012, which was a drop of seven percent.
Last month it also announced that it had seen a pretax profit drop to £901 million in February this year compared to the £935 million made in 2011.
Over the past few months the company has been making changes in a bid to compete with its supermarket rivals.
In March it announced it would be moving into the online grocery delivering space. It is also planning to build up its army of 12 convenience stores, and snapping up 62 sites from the administrators of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster.
The supermarket claimed that using the new robots would speed up the cash counting process. It said it would continue to support those potentially affected throughout this consultation process.”
Morrisons has bitten the bullet and announced that it will be going head- to-head with its supermarket rivals in the online food space.
The supermarket giant, which posted its first drop in profits for six years has said it aims to offer this service by January next year and is reportedly in talks with Ocado to help it begin conquering the online food shopping space.
The giant saw its pretax profit drop to £901 million in February this year compared to the £935 million made in 2011.
It said that in a bid to grow over the next year it had implemented a range of measures to ensure this happened. It described its moves into online as an “important step.”
Supermarkets are doing all they currently can to bring customers through the door. This month Tesco announced a range of plans to help it get ahead of its competitors offering price promises and claims that it was buying eatery Giraffe to attract a different range of consumers.
Morrisons has also not rested on its laurels recently also announcing that it was building up its army of 12 convenience stores, and snapping up 62 sites from the administrators of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster.
Google has officially introduced its Google Play gift cards in the UK and they are already on sale. That was quick, but still a bit too late for baby Jesus’ birthday.
The cards are available at Tesco and Morrisons branches across Britain.
Although the cards should be available in three denominations of £10, £25 and £50, early reports indicate that some denominations are not available in all shops, but it is probably a minor glitch that will be worked out.
Obviously, the cards can be can be used to buy content from Google’s Play store, ranging from Android games to books and films. Sadly though, the gift cards cannot be used to buy Nexus hardware, digital subscriptions or accessories.
The cards can be redeemed by simply entering the code on the back of the card in the Google Play app, during the purchase or by entering the redemption code through your browser.