Retail round up - The Monday papers
The Daily Telegraph
The biggest manufacturer of Harris tweed has dropped the word "Scottish" from its marketing campaign in America amid fears of a consumer backlash over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.Harris Tweed Hebrides said it had to “de-Scottishify” the product after receiving feedback that sales could suffer.The company, whose chairman, Brian Wilson, a former government minister, believes it was a mistake to release Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, has removed references to Scotland and Scottish imagery from its promotional material.Instead, the firm plans to use a neutral image of a model in a tweed frock coat reclining on a couch.Mark Hogarth, the company's creative director, said it had decided to focus on the brand's island heritage rather than its Scottish credentials ahead of the launch of its fashion collection in New York next month. Full article here.
Troubled ITV stands to reap tens of millions of pounds in new revenue under Government plans to allow US-style product placement on television.Ben Bradshaw, the new Culture Secretary, is expected to announce a three-month consultation period over proposals to lift a ban on product placement, with restrictions to remain in force for children's television and BBC programmes.Analysts believe that product placement revenue could top £100m for independent broadcasters, with the lion's share to go to ITV. But they warn it will "cannibalise" at least a significant portion of other revenue streams. Full article here.
Asda launches an Asian clothing range.The clothes, part of the George at Asda line, are a response to demand from the supermarkets' ethnic customers for affordable authentic Asian clothing.The 13 piece collection includes sequinned embellished Salwaar Kameez (traditional suits), Khurtas (tunics), Dapata (scarves) and Churidar (slim leg trousers).Asda collaborated with a team in India to design the clothes and is made with authentic Indian material.The store received input from a panel of customers and says the styles are suitable for all cultures, not just Asian customers, but is expecting to see a high demand for before the Eid Islamic holiday.Full article here.
British business leaders are more confident than at any time during the recession that they will make it through the downturn, research reveals today, adding to the growing optimism about the economy.A survey from Clydesdale Bank shows that 90 per cent of business managers now say they are confident they will make it through the recession, with a third saying they are certain they will not go under.The research also suggests the downturn may not have had as savage an effect on some companies' business as previously thought. Clydesdale said only a third of the companies it spoke to had actually suffered a reduction in business during the downturn so far.Full article here.
There are still 88 shopping days to Christmas, but it looks as if many retailers have already received the present they most wanted — a freedom pass from the credit insurers.Well-known names, including Dixons, JJB Sports and Threshers, and chains such as House of Fraser and Oasis — owned by Baugur, the troubled Icelandic investor — were reported this year to have had cover withdrawn by one or all of the big three credit insurers.Indeed, about half of all large retailers have had their supply chain affected by the withdrawal of credit insurance, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Non-food retailers have been hit particularly hard, with shoppers deciding to cut back on less important items. Full article here.
The Financial Times
A lawyer for Chris Ronnie has hit out at allegations being made about the former JJB chief executive, who was named on Thursday by his former company as part of an investigation into possible fraud in the sports retail market.Tony Barnfather said his client was being made a "scapegoat" in the investigation, which centres on possible price fixingbetween JJB and its rival Sports Direct at a time when Mr Ronnie was in charge at JJB.JJB named Mr Ronnie specifically in a statement on Thursday after its offices and those of Sports Direct were raided by the Office of Fair Trading. Since then, there have been reports that JJB turned over information to the OFT about Mr Ronnie's expense claims.Mr Barnfather declined to comment on these beyond stating: "I have always said he was being made a scapegoat. Now it is starting to get nasty." Full article here.
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