Welcome to the Ruck Blog!

Hello and thanks for visiting our blog - here you will find interesting articles on what's happening in the world of point sale, visual merchandising and display innovation.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Big Apple - Four Years of Innovation & Expansion!

There's a lot in the media at the moment about how insanely successful Apple have become, and it makes for some pretty amazing reading. Now the largest technology company in the world the recent sales figures out are staggering...and it's rocketed mostly in the last four years.

Apple New York

Sales Figures:

Apple grew it's sales by £14 billion last year, which is more revenue that the company even generated four years ago! A big portion of their revenue was iphones accounting for 39% of sales, which of course didn't exist 4 years ago. With total sales of £41 billion last year, they have now overtaken Microsoft at £40 billion.  Amazingly Apple has a turnover larger than the GDP of over 100 countries. Apple sold 40 million iphones last year and itunes sales were worth £2.5 billion, more than the largest music company in the world, Warner Music Group. For more sales statistics visit Business Insider.

Interestingly most of Apple's revenue, £27 billion, comes from technology categories that Apple invented:- iphone, itunes, ipad, ipods - all of which have been developed in the last four years. They only spent £1.1 billion on research and £3.5 billion on sales and marketing  compared to Microsoft who spent almost £11 billion.

I've done a blog before on why the stores work visually, the style of POP and selling .. and how they get right ..these figures really do prove just how succesful that is. The company has been going for 30 years but only opened reatil stores 10 years ago. Now with over 300 stores open and trading across 11 countries it is becoming an important part of how they sell their products. How many of us now own an ipad, an ipod, an imac and an iphone? Welcome to my i-life!

Even pussy cats like to use the ipad with games made escpecially for them!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Love is in the Air... Valentine's Installations!

Valentines Day used to be a much larger affair in the retail sector. I'm not sure why - maybe the consumer has become more cynical? Or is it petrol forecourt flowers and a box of chocolates on the way home as an after thought? Easter takes up a lot of the seasonal aisle space from boxing day onwards so Valentine's utilises the flower and the impulse purchase spaces in shops. Either way we love installing seasonal displays that involve chocolate!

The economic down turn is not so bad for supermarket retailers around Valentine's Day as people opt for smaller tokens of their love rather than the romantic getaways and trips away. It will be a telling time for the likes of Thornton's who have seen their market share dissected by rival chocolate brands offering quality, organic and fair trade. Their strategy amidst massive growth over the last few years has de-valued their product to such an extent they seem to be missing the point as consumer ethics and tastes change.

Will the champagne wars continue? Christmas was great, we all made the most of the promotions on champers that all the supermarkets had. Will we see a repeat of this in the run up to Valentine's Day? I certainly hope so - great excuse to stock up! The consumers always win when supermarkets decide to go head to head on a particular category.

Card sales are always consistent and there is always a need for good quality robust display stands over this period across different types of stores.  A good example here of an FSDU for Valentine's cards, manufactured by Derwent Displays. 

It's an interesting one for the jewellery sector - times have been tough for jewellers and even Tiffany's were reporting weak trading over the Christmas period and profit shares down so Valentine's may well be the pick me up they need. I wouldn't complain at a certain someone boosting their sales a bit!

Worth around £1.6 billion to the UK economy, where did it all start?

Valentine's Day can be traced right back to Roman times as February 14th was the day that honoured Juno, the Queen of all Gods and Goddesses, and was celebrated as the day of love and marriages. Saint Valentine was martyred on this day for marrying couples in secret after Emperor Claudius II banned marriages whilst on a military recruitment drive. In more recent times our modern Valentine's day card and gift giving started in the 1800's in America and has grown in popularity since.

Frank Sinatra - My Funny Valentine

The rose is red, the violet's blue
The honey's sweet, and so are you

Thou are my love and I am thine
I drew thee to my Valentine
The lot was cast and then I drew
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

With BHS in Trouble.. What is the Secret of Department Store Success?

So BHS are struggling again - are they to be the next victim of the High Street? Part of Arcadia group, Philip Green acquired BHS in 2000, and everything looked fairly rosy having turned BHS round… just 6 years later in 2006 there were reports that the retail chain was struggling.  A revamp of their 180 stores and branding didn't seem to work and fell flat - and it is in serious trouble now, but why is it that department stores like BHS fail and John Lewis go from strength to strength?

Stuart Mitchell (CEO Live & Breathe) said for Marketing Magazine recently that he thought BHS are .."synonymous with C&A and Woolworths, which fell victim to smarter budget retailers" … and I think he is right. I last went in a BHS store out of sheer desperation as I couldn't find what I was looking for…it was the same when Woolworths was around..a last resort shop..never a first choice. John Lewis get it right because it is about modern living…it's the lifestyle they are selling not just the product.

With Greggs announcing profits are up and Little Chef announcing losses and site closures it's the same story again but in the fast food sector, although the Heston Blumenthal documentary didn't do Little Chef any favours at all. The CEO was cringe worthy in his attitude and behaviour.

It's not the concept of the department store that's failing, John Lewis, Selfridges, Debenhams, M&S all get it right.  But think BHS, C&A, Woolworths, Littlewoods …. all old fashioned.. the kinds of places where your granny would go. They didn't or haven't moved on at all as consumer tastes evolved. As I've said before in other blogs, modern consumers have so much choice now; they want a shopping experience - not just the same old tired format. M&S almost went this way and they turned it around with the food halls and fashionable new clothing lines. It looks like Green will be following their lead and considering the 150 BHS stores that have planning consent as food outlets too. BHS could get it right … but is it too late to turn this ship around? More than ever in retail it's survival of the fittest… evolve and adapt or die.

Monday, 9 January 2012

2012 - Mission ImPOSsible?

So my first mail shot of the year is about the upcoming events - Queen's Jubilee, European Championships, the Olympics & Para Olympics. The challenge has been coming up with a  good idea that doesn't infringe copyright laws!  The queen's image cannot be used without permission, UEFA and the London 2012 Olympics logos as expected are locked down...even the Olympics five rings is so heavily copyrighted it cannot be used.

So I had to get creative and look at alternative angles to promote the services around these events. This is what I came up with.....

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Welcome to 2012 - The Year of Point of Purchase Display!

Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2012 - The Year of Point of Purchase Display!

2012 is going to be HUGE for POP display and promotions! There is so much happening this year the demand for POP installation is going through the roof! Here's a run down of some of the biggest events to happen this year!

The Diamond Jubilee

Starting with her Royal Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee the nation shall enjoy a 4 day weekend as the May Bank Holiday is put back to 4th June to accommodate the Jubilee celebrations.  Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in February 1952 and has reigned as monarch for 60 years. Interestingly the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897. 

There will be street parties a plenty as laws have been relaxed about street parties and permission is no longer needed to hold one. Communities can apply for funding towards the street parties - for details on this and how to plan a community party check out The BIG Lunch website. 10 Million people celebrated the 1977 silver jubilee! Will we still have that community spirit in 2012? The retailers certainly think so!

There is a pageant planned on the Thames with a thousand boats to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee - one of many events taking place up and down the land on 3rd June:

The European World Cup Championships

Kicking off on the 8th of June with a match between Poland & Greece at the custom built National Stadium in Warsaw is the European Cup! With a series of dates throughout June across Europe, and ending with the final on 1st July in Kiev!

The National Stadium in Warsaw

 The Olympics

And if that was not enough we have the London Olympics  from 27th July - 12th August! Followed by the Paralympics 29th Aug- 9th Sept. The Olympics features 26 different sports with 39 disciplines. Take a virtual tour of the Olympic park.

The promotions are going to be big, bold and plentiful this year as retailers look to maximise on the events of the year and make up for flagging sales of 2011. These events shall stimulate the economy and put some vibrancy back in to promotional displays. We are gearing ourselves up for the installation jobs that will come in thick and fast over the coming months! From promotional stands and signs, to window & floor graphics to large scale promotional installations this will be one year to remember!