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March 20, 2017

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#mcm Neo – Dao-Yi Chow #flutterdownbelow #DKNY

March 20, 2017
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Dao-Yi Chow

#retailweek #retailtrends #retailnews #Retail & #Brand trends for w/e 17th March 2017 #marketingweek

March 20, 2017

Company Results

  • Argos have reported a 3.8% increase in total sales for the nine weeks to 11 March 2017. Like-for-like sales increased by 4.3% for the same period.
  • French Connection have reported a 6.7% decrease in group revenue to £153.2m for the 12 months to 31 January 2017. UK and Europe like-for-like sales increased by 4.4% for the same period.

French Connection have reported a 6.7% decrease in group revenue to £153.2m for the 12 months to 31 January 2017

  • Lush have reported a 26.0% increase in sales to £723.0m for the 12 months to 30 June 2016. Pre-tax profits stood at £43.2m for the same period. (Source: BBC)
    Marshall Motor Group have reported a 54.1% increase in revenue to £1.9bn for the 12 months to 31 December 2016. Like-for-like revenue increased by 10.7% for the same period.
  • Ocado have reported an increase of 13.3% in gross group sales to £384.7m for the 13 weeks to 26 February 2017. Gross retail sales increased by 13.1% for the same period.
  • Sainsbury’s have reported a 0.1% increase in total retail sales (excluding fuel) for the nine weeks to 11 March 2017. Like-for-like retail sales decreased by 0.5% (excluding fuel) for the same period.

Lifestyle LFLs were up by +3.56% off of a very poor base of -8.6% last year. Brighter weather ensured that retailers of outdoor goods performed well this week. With Mother’s Day also moving into view, gift retailers posted a strong performance. 75% of all respondents reported positive LFL growth this week.

Fashion LFLs were up by +3.51% this week off of a weak base -7.6% last year. 63% of respondents posted positive in-store LFLs this week, as warmer weather boosted footfall and helped sales of spring lines. However, with the growth coming off of such a poor base the question remains as to how successful retailers were at converting footfall into sales.

Homeware LFLs were up by +9.40% this week, overturning a negative base of -7.9% last year. The result marked its second positive week in succession. 60% of respondents posted positive LFLs this week as positive footfall growth boosted overall sales.

Non-store LFL sales were up by an impressive +37.00%, but off of a muted base of +9.9% last year. The result was the second best seen in the year-to-date. 76% of fashion respondents reported positive growth this week, of which 90% posted double or even triple digit growth. 85% of lifestyle respondents reported positive LFL growth, as compared to 83% of homeware respondents.


Clothing, Footwear & Accessories

  • Aspinal of London have announced the appointment of Lisa Montague as their new Chief Executive Officer with effect from September 2017 replacing Sarah Rotherham. Lisa is currently Chief Executive at LVMH-owned Spanish leather specialist Loewe. (Source: Drapers)

Aspinal of London have announced the appointment of Lisa Montague

  • Gap have announced the opening of a new 10,000 sq.ft UK concept store at the Bluewater shopping center. Created by an in-house team, the new shop is the first of a new breed of UK concept stores for the fashion brand and includes women’s, men’s, kids and baby collections, as well as GapFit and Gap Body items. (Source: Retail Bulletin)
  • John Lewis have announced plans to launch an own-brand denim collection called And/Or on 22nd March 2017. The 90-piece collection targets a younger customer and follows the successful launch of brand Modern Rarity. (Source: Retail Week)
  • LK Bennett have announced plans to open their first shop in Russia after their owners, the private equity firms Phoenix and Sirius, supported the retailer’s international expansion plans. The British fashion brand is also planning two more shops in China as well as stores in Qatar and the World Trade Centre in New York in 2017. (Source: Verdict)
  • New Balance, Athletics footwear and apparel brand, have announced the opening of their new premium outlet at Bicester Village. The store will stock limited edition lifestyle footwear as well as workout wear including their J Crew collaboration for women. (Source: Retail Bulletin)
  • Poorboy Boutique, the independent vintage fashion brand, have announced plans to open a 1,000 sq.ft store in Hull’s Fruit Market by 31st March 2017. The store will be the first retail outlet to launch on Humber Street as part of rejuvenation project led by Wykeland Beal. (Source: Retail Bulletin)

Poorboy Boutique, the independent vintage fashion brand, have announced plans to open a 1,000 sq.ft store in Hull

  • Sainsbury’s have unveiled a weather responsive outdoor marketing campaign for their Tu clothing brand. In a fashion industry-first, the weather activated campaign promotes a range of looks from Tu’s Spring collection, which will react and change in accordance with the weather. (Source: Retail Bulletin)
  • Ted Baker have unveiled interactive store windows as part of their shoppable film campaign for spring/summer. Ted Baker’s Spring 17 campaign features a 360-degree shoppable video, interactive windows and virtual reality experience, and will be shown episodically on Instagram stories. (Source: Drapers)

Electrical & Entertainment

  • Staples, stationery retailer, which is trading under as Office Outlet, have announced plans to shed up to 285,000 sq.ft from their portfolio by sub-letting space in larger stores. The retailer’s owner, Hilco, plans to divide up to 35 of their Office Outlet stores and sub-let chunks of space ranging from 5,000 sq.ft to 16,533 sq.ft in size. (Source: Retail Week)

Food & Drink

  • Asda have announced plans to increase pay of their 135,000 store staff to £8.50 per hour as it ushers in more flexible contracts. The supermarket will allow their workers to choose whether or not to accept the new contract or stick to their existing terms, in what it claims to be a first for the retail sector. (Source: Company Press Release)
  • Morrisons in collaboration with online food delivery business Just Eat have announced the launch of UK’s first takeaway inside a supermarket. The grocer will open a Bombay Bites Express concession at their Victoria Shopping Centre store, in Bradford, on Saturday, as it continues to develop their in-store proposition. (Source: Retail Week)
  • Diageo’s UK unit has launched a new variant under the Smirnoff Cider brand. (Source: Just Drinks)

Diageo's UK unit has launched a new variant under the Smirnoff Cider brand.

  • AG Barr has lined up a GBP5m marketing push to support the roll out AG Barr has lined up a GBP5m marketing push in the UK, to support the roll-out of its Irn-Bru Xtra brand extension. (Source: Just Drinks)


  • Bunnings have announced plans to launch a transactional website within 18 months for customers in the UK. (Source: Retail Week)
  • Lush, British cosmetics firm, have announced plans to expand outside the UK due to Brexit. The company have also opened a plant in Germany and plans to further expand operations abroad. (Source: BBC)

Lush, British cosmetics firm, have announced plans to expand outside the UK due to Brexit. .jpg

Courtesy of ‘Barclays

@SethGodin on Showing Up #wisewords #entrepreneurs

March 19, 2017
  1. Building relationships is key in business.

  2. Culture defeats strategy.

  3. Build a community and circle of likeminded characters who support collective growth.


#wcw Donna Bae

March 15, 2017
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Donna Bae

Let’s stop calling them ‘soft skills’ – They might be skills, but they’re not soft

March 14, 2017

Written by Seth Godin – Founder of altMBA, Squidoo & Yoyodyne. Daily blogger, teacher, speaker, 18 bestsellers as well…

Seth Godin

Are you good at your job?

Different, easier question: Was Ty Cobb good at baseball?

Ty Cobb: Competitive Jerk

It’s generally understood that Ty Cobb was a jerk. His teammates didn’t like him very much. But he’s still in the Hall of Fame. That’s because baseball keeps score… of hits, of runs and of catches.

What about your job? It’s probably a bit more complex.

There are linchpins, people who don’t shirk responsibility when the chips are down. And, among others, there are connectors, people with insights, folks who never seem to lose hope. Your company is staffed with people who can’t possibly be rated on a linear scale, because you’re not baseball players. You are managers and inventors and leaders and promise-makers and supporters and bureaucrats and detail-oriented factotums.

And yet…

And yet we persist in hiring and training as if we’re a baseball team, as if easily defined skills are all that matter.

What causes successful organizations to fail? Stocks to fade, innovations to slow, customers to jump ship?

We can agree that certain focused skills are essential. That hiring coders who can’t code, salespeople who can’t sell or architects who can’t architect is a short road to failure.

These skills — let’s call them vocational skills — have become the backbone of the HR process.

But how to explain that similar organizations with similarly vocationally-skilled people find themselves with very different outcomes?

By misdefining ‘vocational’ and focusing on the apparently essential skills, we’ve diminished the value of the skills that actually matter. Most of the textbooks business students experience and the tests business students take are about these vocational skills, the checkboxes that have to be checked.

But we give too little respect to the other skills when we call them “soft” and imply that they’re optional.

It turns out that what actually separates thriving organizations from struggling ones are the difficult-to-measure attitudes, processes and perceptions of the people who do the work.

Culture defeats strategy, every time.

And yet…

Organizations spend a ton of time measuring the vocational skills, because they can. Because there’s a hundred years of history. And mostly, because it’s safe. It’s not personal, it’s business.

We know how to measure typing speed. We have a lot more trouble measuring passion or commitment.

Organizations give feedback on vocational skill output daily, and save the other stuff for the annual review if they measure it at all.

And organizations hire and fire based on vocational skill output all the time, but practically need an act of the Board to get rid of a negative thinker, a bully or a sloth (if he’s good at something measurable).


If an employee at your organization walked out with a brand-new laptop every day, you’d have him arrested, or at least fired. If your bookkeeper was embezzling money every month, you’d do the same thing.

But when an employee demoralizes the entire team by undermining a project, or when a team member checks out and doesn’t pull his weight, or when a bully causes future stars to quit the organization — too often, we shrug and point out that this person has tenure, or vocational skills or isn’t so bad.

But they’re stealing from us.

What can we teach?

Along the way, we’ve confirmed that vocational skills can be taught (you’re not born knowing engineering or copywriting or even graphic design, therefore they must be something we can teach), while we let ourselves off the hook when it comes to decision making, eager participation, dancing with fear, speaking with authority, working in teams, seeing the truth, speaking the truth, inspiring others, doing more than we’re asked, caring and being willing to change things.

We underinvest in this training, fearful that these things are innate and can’t be taught.

We call these skills soft, making it easy for us to move on to something seemingly more urgent.

We rarely hire for these attributes because we’ve persuaded ourselves that vocational skills are impersonal and easier to measure.

And we fire slowly (and retrain rarely) when these skills are missing, because we’re worried about stepping on toes, being called out for getting personal, or possibly, wasting time on a lost cause.

Which is crazy, because infants aren’t good at any of the soft skills. Of course we learn them. We learn them accidentally, by osmosis, by the collisions we have with teachers, parents, bosses and the world. But just because they’re difficult to measure doesn’t mean we can’t improve them, can’t practice them, can’t change.

Of course we can.

Let’s call them real skills, not soft.

Yes, they’re interpersonal skills. Leadership skills. The skills of charisma and diligence and contribution. But these modifiers, while accurate, somehow edge them away from the vocational skills, the skills that we actually hire for, the skills we measure a graduate degree on.

So let’s uncomfortably call them real skills instead.

Real because they work, because they’re at the heart of what we need to today.

Real because even if you’ve got the vocational skills, you’re no help to us without these human skills, the things that we can’t write down, or program a computer to do.

Real skills can’t replace vocational skills, of course not. What they can do is amplify the things you’ve already been measuring.

Imagine a team member with all the traditional vocational skills: productive, skilled, experienced. A resume that can prove it.

That’s fine, it’s the baseline.

Now, add to that: Perceptive, charismatic, driven, focused, goal-setting, inspiring and motivated. A deep listener, with patience.

What happens to your organization when someone like that joins your team?

Work to be done

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Lou Solomon reports that 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. The only surprising thing about this statistic is how low it is.

How do we build people-centric organizations while also accepting the fact that two-thirds of our managers (presumably well-paid, well-trained and integral to our success) are uncomfortable doing the essential part of their job?

In a recent survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council, the folks who own the GMAT exam, reported that although MBA’s were strong in analytical aptitude, quantitative expertise, and information-gathering ability, they were sorely lacking in other critical areas that employers find equally attractive: strategic thinking, written and oral communication, leadership, and adaptability.

Are these mutually exclusive? Must we trade one for the other?

An Encyclopedia of Real Skills

The fact that there isn’t an accepted taxonomy of real skills demonstrates just how little effort organizations large and small have put into finding, improving and developing real skills among their teams.

In this first draft, we’ve chosen five large categories and then given examples of each. Not a definitive taxonomy, but a start, a way to move the conversation and the investment forward.

The five categories might include:

Self Control — Once you’ve decided that something is important, are you able to persist in doing it, without letting distractions or bad habits get in the way? Doing things for the long run that you might not feel like doing in the short run.

Productivity — Are you skilled with your instrument? Are you able to use your insights and your commitment to actually move things forward? Getting non-vocational tasks done.

Wisdom — Have you learned things that are difficult to glean from a textbook or a manual? Experience is how we become adults.

Perception — Do you have the experience and the practice to see the world clearly? Seeing things before others have to point them out.

Influence — Have you developed the skills needed to persuade others to take action? Charisma is just one form of this skill.

Self Control

Adaptability to changing requirements

Agility in the face of unexpected obstacles

Alacrity and the ability to start and stop quickly

Authenticity and consistent behavior

Bouncing back from failure

Coach-ability and the desire to coach others

Collaborative mindset

Compassion for those in need


Conscientiousness in keeping promises

Customer service passion

Eagerness to learn from criticism

Emotional intelligence

Endurance for the long haul

Enthusiasm for the work

Ethics even when not under scrutiny





Living in balance

Managing difficult conversations

Motivated to take on new challenges


Posture for forward motion





Self awareness

Self confidence

Sense of humor

Strategic thinking taking priority over short-term gamesmanship

Stress management

Tolerance of change and uncertainty


Attention to detail

Crisis management skills

Decision making with effectiveness

Delegation for productivity

Diligence and attention to detail

Entrepreneurial thinking and guts

Facilitation of discussion

Goal setting skills

Innovative problem-solving techniques

Lateral thinking

Lean techniques

Listening skills

Managing up

Meeting hygiene

Planning for projects

Problem solving

Research skills

Technology savvy

Time management



Artistic sense and good taste

Conflict resolution instincts

Creativity in the face of challenges

Critical thinking instead of mere compliance

Dealing with difficult people

Diplomacy in difficult situations

Empathy for customers, co-workers and vendors

Intercultural competence


Social skills

Supervising with confidence


Design thinking

Fashion instinct

Map making

Judging people and situations

Strategic thinking


Ability to deliver clear and useful criticism

Assertiveness on behalf of ideas that matter

Body language (reading and delivering)

Charisma and the skill to influence others

Clarity in language and vision

Dispute resolution skills

Giving feedback without ego


Inspiring to others

Interpersonal skills


Negotiation skills


Presentation skills


Public speaking


Selling skills


Talent management

Team building

Writing for impact

And then, the two questions

  1. Is it possible to teach these real skills? Is it possible to focus on them, hire for them, reward for growth? Can we put in place programs and insights that will lead to progress in all these areas?
  2. If we did, would it matter? Would an organization that excelled at these real skills be more productive, more profitable and a better place to work?

Which leads to: What are we waiting for?

This is why we built the altMBA. To turn on lights and help people realize just how far they can take their soft skills. Because they’re real.


March 13, 2017

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