UK retail prices dipped in December for the 32nd consecutive month, and non-food prices fell 3% over the same month in 2014 amid sluggish sales of clothing and footwear, according to a survey by Nielsen for the British Retail Consortium. Prices are expected to continue declining in the first half of the year, said Nielsen executive Mike Watkins.
Canadian yoga and workout wear retailer Lululemon Athletica must navigate a tricky path to new global markets, even as it searches for a new CEO, shores up quality control and pursues further US expansion, analysts say. The retailer has created a test boutique in a trendy Hong Kong shopping area, where it will test whether its grassroots marketing strategy resonates with Asian consumers.
Longer hours and new items aimed at expanding its image from bakery to prepared-foods store has boosted demand and begun to reverse sales declines at Greggs, the company said. Same-store sales at the 1,700-store chain fell 0.5% in the most recent quarter, compared to a 2.9% drop in the first half of the year.
The price of a basket of goods in Canada remains 10% higher than the same basket in the US, despite tariff cuts, a Senate investigation and the entry of Target and other US discount retailers into the market, according to the Bank of Montreal. That's down from a 14% gap in May 2012, but a bank economist attributes the change almost entirely to a slight decline in the value of the Canadian dollar.
All consumer electronics and appliances sold at John Lewis stores will now come with a minimum two-year warranty, making the department store the first UK retailer to offer an across-the-board extended warranty at no extra charge. "There is a lack of transparency across electricals guarantees. The vast majority of consumers don't understand guarantees and are frustrated by the complexity that surrounds them," said executive Ed Connolly.