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EDITORIAL The importance of brand values to Made, Lego – and the brands suspending sales in Russia

Image: Adobe Stock

Image: Adobe Stock

If today’s InternetRetailing newsletter has a theme, it’s all about the importance of brand values that reflect consumers’ own. Today we report on how luxury brands are now suspending sales in Russia. Indeed, more brands of all kinds are heeding calls for action as war in Ukraine intensifies – including, today, a highly apologetic Shell.

This is far from a one-off in today’s newsletter. We report today as Made says it’s important for it to reflect its younger shoppers’ deep interest in “transparency, sustainability and integrity” as it posts full-year results. Doing so, it says, “distinguishes us from competitors” as well as making it well-placed for potential future change.

And Lego says, as it also reports full-year results, that it is investing – through donations to child and family causes and through steps to become more sustainable both in terms of energy use and as a business – in building a business that will “inspire and develop future builders for many generations to come”.

Research out today from Yotpo also suggests that brand values offer a tangible business benefit, since nine in 10 UK shoppers want to buy from brands that share their values. The theme of brand values is one we explored in more depth in the recent RetailX UK Top500 report – and it’s something brands now leaving Russia are likely to have taken to heart in recent days.

In doing so, they are following in the steps of brands that have in recent years fully understood the importance of reflecting their customers’ own values – in areas from sustainability to how workers are treated. For example, Boohoo today publishes the final report from Sir Brian Leveson on its Agenda for Change – and how he judges that agenda has become part of its working practices. That represents a significant turnaround from the headline-grabbing news of low paid workers and poor Covid-19 practices that hit it in the summer of 2020.

Values will be all the more important as retail sales look set to be squeezed by the brewing cost of living crisis. For the moment, however, retail sales are still growing, the latest figures from the BRC, KPMG and Barclaycard suggest. However, it’s interesting to see that online sales are still well ahead of pre-pandemic February 2020, but lagging well behind the peaks reached in the year ago lockdown of non-essential retail.

And we report as Sainsbury’s opens its 400th digital format Argos store-in-a-store – and what that means for both the retailer and its customers – and as Domino’s Pizza Group focuses further on digital.

In today’s guest comment, Eran Miller and Oded Israeli of Empact brief us how retailers can best manage last summer’s changes to EU VAT and still sell successfully across borders.

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