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EDITORIAL House of Fraser rescued at 11th hour – what does it mean for the high street?

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What a week: while life and the news cycle usually both slow down in the summer – giving InternetRetailing readers the chance to catch up on some stories that may have slipped past during the year – this week we have been treated to one of the biggest retail news stories of the year right in the middle of the holidays: the collapse and surprise rescue of House of Fraser by Sports Direct Group.

As we report today on House of Fraser being saved from collapse by Sports Direct we also can ponder what this means for both HoF and the High Street? Will Mike Ashley turn the department store into a ’Selfridges of Sports’ as he has said in the past he wants to do with Sports Direct, or will he use it to help shift his existing High End brands in parallel to Sports Wear in out of town shopping villages? 

As the dust settles, our experts offer some views – all of which conclude that whatever Ashely decides to do with HoF, he has his work cut out to resurrect it. But could he be just the man to give the High Street a kick up the aisles? He’s a bulldog and now he has a big presence to play with. Exciting times.

Aside from HoF, this week we are focusing on Merchandising and in today’s newsletter, we report on how hot temperatures kept shoppers off the high street, but online sales increased thanks to football festivities, bringing the strongest sale growth in five years as cover how Argos’ shoppers were able to view TV products in situ via the retailer’s augmented reality (AR) app during the World Cup.

Meanwhile, we also find that retailers are raising their game by starting to plan now for the peak trading season.

Today’s guest comment comes from John Rakowski, who considers how retailers can compete with Top500 Elite retailers like Amazon and Waitrose. Argos, River Island and Evans Cycles are now advertising via a new comparison shopping service (CSS).

Today we conclude this week’s merchandising focus with four highly practical approaches to merchandising and how retailers can stand out in a marketplace.

RetailCraft podcast

Find out more about the first two episodes of InternetRetailing’s RetailCraft podcasts featuring Heals and the Rug Company.

RetailCraft 01 – David Kohn of Heals – “probably the most sceptical man in the industry”? Surely not!

RetailCraft 02 – Sarah Stagg of The Rug Company and the 2018 IREU Top500


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