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North East stores invade London as Metro Outlet heads to Croydon’s ex-Allders

Metro Outlet, Gateshead (11 Jul 2013). Photograph by Graham Soult

Metro Outlet, Gateshead (11 Jul 2013)

In the same month that Middlesbrough-based furniture institution Barker and Stonehouse has opened its first London store, in Battersea, it’s been revealed that another firm with a former Boro connection and a current Gateshead one – the discount department store Metro Outlet – is to open in the iconic former Allders store in Croydon, … Continue Reading

Clas Ohlson bucks the trend as winter ranges drive UK sales up 7% during January

Clas Ohlson website (15 Feb 2013)

Clas Ohlson website (15 Feb 2013)

On the same day as the ONS has revealed an unexpected fall in UK retail sales during a snowy January, one retailer – the Swedish hardware chain Clas Ohlson – has unveiled its best monthly year-on-year sales increase at UK … Continue Reading

Carphone confirms closure of its 11 UK Best Buy stores – so what went wrong?

Best Buy, Rotherham (3 Nov 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Best Buy, Rotherham (3 Nov 2011)

Carphone Warehouse has this morning confirmed that it will close its 11 big-box Best Buy stores across the UK, subject to employee representative consultation, putting 1,100 jobs at risk.

The first store, in Thurrock, … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s TJ Hughes is saved – but Middlesbrough’s is to close within days

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Newcastle's TJ Hughes (8 Aug 2011)

There was good news for Newcastle city centre earlier this week, with the announcement that the TJ Hughes store in Grainger Street had been sold, preventing the loss of 76 jobs. However, the … Continue Reading

Newcastle’s Clas Ohlson on track for 24 August opening

Clas Ohlson, Newcastle (6 Jun 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Clas Ohlson, Newcastle (6 Jun 2011)

Clas Ohlson, the Swedish hardware retailer, has confirmed that its new Newcastle store in Northumberland Street will open on Wednesday 24 August.

Recently erected hoardings around the 20,333 sq ft unit – formerly occupied by Collectables – … Continue Reading

Remembering Shoppers World: Woolworths’ early Argos-style experiment

Shoppers World locations, 1975 (adapted from Woolworths Virtual Museum graphic)

Shoppers World locations, 1975 (adapted from Woolworths Virtual Museum graphic)

It’s always good to receive updates on former Woolies sites that I’ve previously featured here at Soult’s Retail View, so I was pleased to get an email yesterday from Martin, a regular Midlands-based contributor.

He told me that he’d visited both Burton upon Trent and … Continue Reading

Lewis’s Grotto brings festive cheer to Liverpool

Lewis's Grotto 2010

Lewis's Grotto 2010

With the collapse of Lewis’s and Robbs owner Vergo Retail being one of the year’s major stories at Soult’s Retail View, it seems fitting to mark the festive season with a warming good news story that has emerged from the retailer’s ashes.

For 130 years, generations of locals had visited Santa in his magical grotto at Lewis’s department store in Liverpool, but it seemed that the institution of Lewis’s Grotto would … Continue Reading

Beales pursues Robbs takeover, while The Range owner eyes other stores

Closing down sale at Robbs in Hexham (30 May 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Closing down sale at Robbs in Hexham (30 May 2010)

As the uncertainty over the future of the Vergo Retail store empire continues, potential suitors for some of the stores are starting to emerge. Here are the latest happenings…

In Liverpool’s Ranelagh Street, Lewis’s department store … Continue Reading

Clas Ohlson heads northwards… though not quite far enough north yet

Clas Ohlson's existing Croydon store

Clas Ohlson's existing Croydon store

Happy New Year to you! You may recall that back in August last year (referring to 2009 as ‘last year’ is bound to take some getting used to) I blogged about the latest Scandinavian arrival to these shores, the self-styled “really useful shop” Clas Ohlson.

Back then, the retailer had already opened stores in Croydon (1,900 sqm / 20,451 sq … Continue Reading

Retailers needs a web presence that informs and inspires

Image by Zoran

Image by Zoran

I was quite chuffed, this morning, to have a short article on web usability published in The Journal. Much of what I wrote is, or at least should be, common sense: essentially, the need to understand what information your customers are looking for, and to give it to them in a way that is clear and engaging. Though the examples I used in the article related to tourism websites, the same principles apply … Continue Reading