The fallout from a round of poor retailers results set against a backdrop of rising inflation sees the UK retail sector offering a mixture of job cuts, restructuring and pay rises as businesses seek a way to roll through the next few challenging months.
John Lewis and Partners, which reported a £78m loss last week, is once again under scrutiny for plans to sell a minority stake in the business and potentially end its partner-run statue.
The company denies that it is at anything more than an explorative stage, but backlash from partners in the company has already begun.
Amazon is also coming under fire for offering what its workers deem a ’insulting’ pay rise. The company presented workers with a 1.8% to 2.5% increase. Unions have called on the company to sit down and talk as the pay rise goes nowhere near helping employees battle double-digit inflation. The retailer has already seen its Coventry fulfilment centre closed by industrial action last month in an ongoing pay dispute. The GMB union now says further strikes are planned.
Food delivery firm Just Eat, meanwhile, has cut 1,700 delivery driver jobs as it shifts back towards a gig economy model.
Moving from its current hybrid system of employees and self-employed workers, the food delivery giant, will now only use self-employed drivers to deliver food in the UK.
Better news for employees of Currys, where staff wages are to be upped for the fourth time in 18 months. Staff wages will increase from £10.35 per hour to £10.50 and to £11.50 for those working in London.
According to the omnichannel retailers, all store employees are able to earn considerably more than the average wage, with an average store employee bonus sitting at 89p per hour, with top earners taking home a £3 per hour bonus.
Elsewhere, technology is once again being deployed by retailers to create better experiences in a drive to increase footfall, eyeballs, spend and loyalty. Luxury retailer Prada has done a deal with Adobe to better mine its data to offer much more personalised marketing and interaction across physical and digital channels, while car maker General Motors has also signed with the tech company to help drive sales of electric vehicles by again mining data.
Fashion retailer Boohoo is making a foray into physical retail, opening its first pop-up store to showcase its Spring collection. The store experience will take place this weekend (25-26 March) on Great Portland Street, central London.
According to the fashion retailer the store will exhibit the latest collection, alongside new products, including premium tracksuits to trending traditional pieces, which are able to purchase in real time.
The store will also feature a range of services for customers “to provide them with the best possible shopping experience”, including personal styling sessions with stylish Georgie Gray, who will offer advice on each individually curated look.