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Innovation

The Morning Briefing: Retail struggles and solutions

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about the retail industry and challenges they face in 2012.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's daily roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about the retail industry and challenges they face in 2012.

1.) India lets Starbucks and Ikea open stores, backs down over retail regulation. India has now abandoned previous rules against foreign single-brand retailers operating stores without involving local partnerships, allowing corporations including Starbucks Corp. and Ikea to take advantage of the Indian market. The ownership limit has been increased from 51 to 100 percent for a single brand, and the new ruling requires companies to involve Indian companies for a minimum 30 percent of procurement.

2.) Futuristic retail solutions revealed at CES 2012. Verizon Wireless and VisionMAX have announced that a new 'Retail-in-the-Cloud' suite of solutions is being demonstrated at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show. The new cloud development is expected to allow customers to make purchasing decisions and pay for products & services in an easier way -- via mobile and customer recognition technology.

3.) The beginning of the end for high street retail? The Wall Street Journal reports that energetic U.K retail sales in December were 'buoyed by margin-eroding discounts', and disguise the slow erosion of high street sales. While retailers that are not involved in food sales have struggled and the outlook for 2012 looks gloomy, food retailers have fared marginally better. One reason given is that customers who have been 'downgraded' from eating out are now cooking from home, but still demonstrate selective purchases. Based on profit margins provided by various corporations, there is a growth decline in mainstream stores that have been forced to discount heavily through the Christmas period in an attempt to recoup losses.

4.) Retail employers audit shows underpayment of Australian staff. After the Australian (now defunct) Workplace Ombudsman received 4204 concerning retail works and payslips, an audit of over 2000 businesses through its National Retail Industry Campaign resulted in findings that at least 25 percent of retailers were underpaying staff or failing to preserve standard wage documentation. Due to this, employers have been forced to pay almost $600,000 retrospectively.

5.) Kuwaiti retailer buys struggling British stores. Alshaya Group of Kuwait, one of the largest retailers in the Middle East, has bought a percentage of La Senza, a financially troubled British lingerie business. The group have acquired 60 of 146 U.K stores from KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory service. KPMG is currently handling the bankruptcy of the lingerie chain. Details concerning the deal are not disclosed, however, Alshaya reportedly plans new product collections and hundred million-dollar investments in to the chain over the next two years.

Photo credit: Flickr

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