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Sector Focus


Queen’s honours for community leaders

Top shop: Retail sales are on the up

Is it time to shop until you drop?

Latest figures from the British Retail Consortium suggest that after two months of flat sales, retailers experienced growth of 1.4 per cent during the month of May. Clothing made a big comeback

after suffering declines in April – apparently due to consumers waiting for just the right moment before embarking upon their pre- summer spending. “However, with signs that the

UK’s economy is slowing, it's unlikely that this is the beginning of a complete reversal of fortunes,” said Helen Dickinson, the consortium’s chief executive. “The uncertain outlook means

that customers will remain cautious with their spending, therefore we expect sales figures to remain volatile for the time being.”

‘The appearance of some spring sunshine encouraged consumers to hit the sales’

She added: “While pick-up in sales will come as a welcome relief, it’s still a challenging time for retailers. Shop price deflation continues and intensity of competition is fierce. Controlling costs and improving efficiency and productivity will be crucial for retailers as they continue to navigate increasingly tough trading conditions.” David McCorquodale, head of

retail at KPMG, said “Overall, retail sales showed some improvement in the month, up 1.4 per cent in total versus May last year. Despite rain dampening the May Day mood, fashion sales finally lifted following a tough three months of trading for retailers. The appearance of some spring sunshine encouraged consumers to hit the sales and take advantage of early summer promotions. “The standout category,

however, was children’s footwear, and children’s clothing also saw a boost as parents kitted out the kids for the warmer weather and half term holidays. Mild relief also continued for the grocers [sector] with total food and drink sales remaining positive in the month.”

58 CHAMBERLINK July/August 2016

Solihull Chamber board member Andrew Cole (pictured) has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours. Mr Cole, who is manager of the

town’s Touchwood shopping centre, was nominated for the honour for services to retail and charity. He was educated at Bournemouth University, and has a degree in business and tourism studies. He spent three years as general

manager of the Ramada Hotel in Solihull, before joining Touchwood. He is a former chairman of

Solihull Tourism Forum and sits on the board of Solihull Business Improvement District, an organisation where he has been one of the main drivers. He is also a member of Solihull Round Table. He said: “Over my 20 years in

“He is always willing to offer

opportunities for our members. This has been work experience placements for Solihull College students, vouchers for prizes for charity balls and opportunities for small start-up companies to have pop up shops and/or displays within Touchwood shopping centre. This is a very well deserved award for Andy I am absolutely delighted for him.” Former Institute of Directors

executive John Phillips, a well- known figure on the Birmingham business circuit, has also been awarded an MBE. Mr Phillips, who recently retired

Andy Cole: MBE for services to retail and charity in Solihull

senior management, I have worked closely with many organisations, both public and private sector, in Bath, Bristol and Bournemouth, and pride myself on partnership working. “Married with two young children, both at Solihull

key player in the Solihull Community and is a valued member of Solihull Chamber’s executive committee.

‘I have the interests of the community as well as business at heart’

schools, I have the interests of the community as well as business at heart.” Solihull Chamber director Joan Smith said: “Andy is a

as regional director for the IOD after 23 years’ service, was given the award for services to business, education and young people. Mr Phillips said: “To be made

MBE was something I absolutely never expected. I regard it as a tremendous honour but it would not have happened had I not received so much help from

enthusiastic members of the IoD. “On education, I intend to continue with the

mentoring and generally to promote business as an exciting, creative and worthwhile career choice for young people. Additionally, I am always looking for more company directors and business people to volunteer for mentoring.”

Project Ocean drives into town

A distinctive yellow van used by Selfridges was parked by the famous Bullring bull to help raise the profile of World Ocean Day. Shoppers and city businesses

were able to find out more about Selfridges’ commitment to reduce plastic waste following its removal of all single use plastic water bottles from its food hall and restaurants a year ago, as part of its ongoing retail activisim initiative called ‘Project Ocean’, now in its sixth year. Visitors were able to find out

more about the initiative, including the firm’s commitment to not sell or serve any endangered fish within its food hall and restaurants and remove all shark-based squalene (shark liver oil) from its beauty halls, and also pledge their own commitment to use less ‘single use’ plastic water bottles. It is estimated the store has

reduced the amount of waste by 400,000 ‘single use’ plastic water bottles across all four of its stores over the past year.

…and it was

all yellow: the Selfridges van

Project Ocean is an innovative

partnership with international conservation charity The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Marine Reserves Coalition (MRC). Adam Hockney, general manager

at Selfridges Birmingham, said: “We have invited some of our Birmingham partners to get

involved with this project to help amplify and support this important message. Our shoppers are definitely more aware of the environment and sustainability. We are proud to celebrate our commitment on World Ocean’s Day and encourage more people and businesses to do the same too.”

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