Recent Developments in the British Retail Sector

  • Aug 01, 2020 BST
  • Team Kalkine
Recent Developments in the British Retail Sector


  • Social media has emerged as an influential medium to aid the efforts made by the individuals and entities, in expanding their businesses
  • Burberry opened its social retail platform on 31 July 2020 in Shenzhen, China, with an exclusive partnership with Tencent
  • Argos has decided to stop the printing of its famous catalogue after printing it for 50 years

Social media has been the obsession of an overstressed society for many years now. In unforeseen aftermath of the lockdown and social distancing consequence of the lockdown courtesy coronavirus, social media has taken to various platforms or applications to fray boredom and anxiety. Also, brick and mortar retailers have encountered store closures, low footfalls, and change in shopping patterns that have forced people to shop online to feel safe and secure at home, without the need to go out

Burberry and Tencent joining hands to create concept stores

Burberry, the luxury fashion house and Tencent, the Chinese technology powerhouse had undergone an exclusive partnership to create social retail in China, which opened on 31 July 2020 in Shenzhen, China's technology hub, in the new Shenzhen Bay MixC development.

An undeniably significant job is being done by social media platforms in inspiring extravagance buyers alongside the store experience, and the client interface between these two touchpoints is getting increasingly fluid. Through this partnership, Burberry and Tencent will pioneer a concept that blends social media and retail to create digital and physical spaces for engaging communities to interact, share, and shop.

The initial step taken up by Burberry is to open a store, fueled by Tencent innovation, offering one of a kind experience that interfaces luxury clients' social and online lives to their physical surroundings. This will be an extraordinary space to test and learn, serving as a laboratory to preliminary development that can be extended to the rest of the Burberry network across China.

The Chief Executive Officer of Burberry, Marco Gobbetti, said that social media has become an essential part of the luxury customer journey, particularly in the inspiration phase, and retail needs to keep pace with this. He also added that China being the leading hubs for innovation and technology, was the obvious place to start. Moreover, the Chinese consumers are one of the highest users of social media.

The growing political pressures between the UK and China could result in Burberry confronting the upwind. Beijing's ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming on 30 July 2020 said that the connection between the United Kingdom and China had been genuinely harmed. The two countries have recently conflicted over various issues, including the boycott of Chinese technology company Huawei from the UK's 5G portable system and the new Chinese security law imposed in Hong Kong. Burberry needs to stay alert about the rising pressure between the UK and China. The Chinese could blacklist the brand if the UK keeps on supporting the Hong Kong riots.

To know more, do read: British Government Takes A U-Turn, Huawei To Be Stripped from Nation's 5G Network By 2027

All about the new social retail store

The Burberry social store occupies an area of 539 square meters, featuring a unique design with a variety of materials and textures ranging from plywood to mirror and high-gloss finishes. The storehouse has 10 different rooms, offering a wide range of items including the brand's latest collections and pieces exclusive to the Shenzhen store.

QR codes have been used to label all the stock, which when scanned show the information on the customer's digital screen, being the first of its kind Burberry store to have QR codes on product swing tags.

Burberry Group PLC

Burberry Group PLC is a British luxury brand operating globally. Founded in 1856, it has its headquarters in London, UK. Listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index, Burberry deals in retailing/wholesaling and licensing.

On 15 July 2020, the Burberry group released its trading update for Q1 ending 27 June 2020, indicating that the company suffered a decrease in the retail revenue of 48 per cent to £257 million (Q1 2019: £498 million). The Q1 sales of the company saw a drop in the demand for luxury goods severely impacted.

Burberry Group PLC (LON: BRBY) stock was trading at GBX 1,275.00 on 31 July 2020, at 4:06 PM, down by 1.20 per cent from its previous close of GBX 1,290.50. The 52-week low/high price was GBX 1,085.00/2,329.00. It was having a market capitalisation (Mcap) of £5,222.76 million.

About Tencent

Tencent was founded in Shenzhen, China, in 1998. Listed on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong since 2004, Tencent enriches the lives of its users by using easy to use digital technology. It invests heavily in talent and technological innovation, actively promoting the development of the Internet industry.

Argos has decided to stop printing its iconic catalogue after almost 50 years

A staple of Britons since the 1970s, the chunky inventory (catalogue) was once one of the most widely-produced publications in Europe. After printing one billion copies, 93 editions for almost fifty years, the 1973 retail giant, Argos has finally decided to stop the printing of its famous Argos catalogue. Commenting on the same, the company said that online shopping offers "greater convenience" than the catalogue. Seeking to shift its focus online, Argos confirmed that the books would no longer be published, with 70 per cent of sales coming from smartphones and tablets.

Talking about its popularity, the Argos catalogue was second only to the Bible in terms of books found at homes, during its peak. But printed versions of the index have fallen from 10 million to 3 million in the past decade or so.

However, the printing of the Argos Christmas Gift Guide will continue, and copies will be available in stores during the winter season.

The owner of Argos and the Chief Marketing Officer at Sainsbury's, Mark Given said that the Argos catalogue had charted the nation's changing tastes and trends in everything from must-have toys to the latest gadgets and devices, over many decades. With the change in the customer's taste and preferences over the years, their shopping habits have changed. The company is seeing a shift towards digital shopping, using mobile app, website and in-store browsers. Discontinuing printing the catalogue will help them in focusing on delivering exciting and inspiring digital shopping experiences to meet the changing needs of the customers.


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