Easy like Sunday morning….it’s the Friday Blog!

Published on: 10th July 2015

Last week’s Blog comments about the Tesco promotional activity on Minions seemed to strike a chord – or touch a nerve, depending on your point of view. I got a huge amount of feedback, most agreeing with me that knocking 33% off at the peak selling period was at best a questionable tactic. NPD got in touch to say that they’ve also questioned the need to promote so early in the past, but there was sadly no suggestion that any retailers had been interested in engaging in the debate with them. The fact that NPD has confirmed this week that Minions overtook Frozen to become the UK’s biggest selling licence in the week before the movie’s release could arguably be taken as further evidence for the prosecution. “It’s the hottest thing out there, people are buying it in their droves – so let’s knock 33% off the price”…’s an interesting strategy, that’s for sure. Anyway, it’s obviously great news for all the licensees, many of whom I gather went through some fun and frolics getting product to market in time.

Another major talking point this week has been the Government’s proposal to allow local authorities to grant permission for shops to extend their Sunday opening hours. Gary Grant appeared on Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, unsurprisingly voicing his opposition to the move. In fairness, he made some compelling points and came over well, very well (perhaps helped by the fact that his debate opponent was the world’s most curmudgeonly woman, Nina Myskow). Gary pointed out that not trading on a Sunday hasn’t exactly hurt The Entertainer’s business model, and he doubted he’d sell more by opening longer hours, as people are aware of his trading pattern and they’re happy to wait until he’s open. Whether that would hold true for all shops is another matter, but I do fully agree that the idea shop workers would have a ‘choice’ on whether or not to work the extra hours on a Sunday is laughable. That said, do I think this proposal will go through? Absolutely, if only because I see this as the government horse trading with major retailers over forcing them to increase the living wage for their employees.

I was sad to hear that former owner of MV Derek Morris passed away last weekend. Derek was a marvellous character, a real force of nature and he certainly had a good innings. Our thoughts are with Philip and his family.

Paul Jackson, former owner of the defunct company the In-Thing, has put another company of which he was a director into receivership. This time round it is Dropship Systems Ltd, trading as I-Spy Distribution, which has bitten the dust. I have heard of a couple of people complaining that they’re owed money, but as this has happened on a number of occasions previously, I’m a little surprised that people were prepared to gamble by putting themselves in that position, given the previous track record.

There’s only one week to go before the Argos catalogue launches, which for many heralds the start of the run-up to Christmas in earnest. I’m still struggling to fully comprehend why Argos chose to announce its Christmas top toys list before the catalogue was even launched: indeed, one wonders how many of the featured lines are even in stock yet? I am also hearing rumours that the focus on the catalogue has meant that Argos is running a bit behind with updating its online operation. Indeed, it seems they have stock of thousands of toys in their warehouse that no-one knows about because they haven’t got round to loading the details on to the website as yet. I’m sure it’s something they’re beavering away frantically to resolve though.

Finally, the marvellous twitter account ‘You had one job’ featured this puzzle image earlier this week. In fairness, they may have a point…..