Trends News 3 - UK MARKET HIGHLIGHTS – MAY 2019


Every month B.D.C. gives you the key retail information you should not have missed. Key trends, innovation, major players, startups, market figures – discover in 60 seconds the latest key retail news.


UK retail key metrics 


  • Despite Brexit uncertainties, UK retail sales (in volume) increased by 1.8% in the three months to April 2019 (compared with the previous three months).
  • According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), a strong growth in non-store retailing has been observed as it reached a record high of 9.4%.
  • In April 2019, online retailing accounted for 18.7% of total retailing compared with 17.7% in the same month last year.


Sainsbury’s opens its UK’s first cashierless store


In order to anticipate the arrival of Amazon Go in the UK, retailers gear up on mobile-only and check-out free store concepts! This is why Sainsbury’s has just launched its UK’s first till-free grocery store.

Since April 29th, shoppers at Sainsbury’s Holborn Circus store in London can test the new concept. The store has been remodeled for this new technology: tills have been completely removed and a helpdesk has been installed to support shoppers who want to pay with cash or cards. According to Sainsbury’s, 82% of transactions at the shop have been cashless so far and this pilot will last for 3 months.

How does it work? Customers scan and pay for their groceries using the SmartShop Scan, Pay & Go app on their smartphones. They scan their groceries as they go around the store, pay in the app and scan a QR code before leaving which reassures them that they have paid.


Regarding competitors, last December, the Telegraph reported that Amazon was considering opening its first cashless grocery store in Oxford Circus, London, with a surface area of 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. Cashless stores are progressively starting to emerge on the UK landscape, offering then a new shopping experience to customers and proving retailers their ability to innovate.

Recent concept stores opening in London


The UK retail world is moving towards more sustainable and responsible schemes. As a result, last month, H&M Home has opened a new flagship on London’s Regent Street dedicated to the retailer’s ambitions regarding sustainability. The store has a coffee shop managed by the chain It’s Pleat organic, offering decomposable packaging and plans to compost waste.

Otherwise, personalisation seems to be the highest priority as visitors can customise their favourite household items (including towels and bedding) through a monogramming service and a florist service Bunches by Blomrum allowing customers to buy flowers to match with their interior.

Finally, online orders can be made in-store and, for the first time, can be shipped worldwide. Therefore, this concept store is a new approach in the home industry that gives space for inspiration, customer service and collaboration.

In addition, the first eBay High Street Concept Store has opened in the UK and includes nearly 40 small businesses participating in eBay’s Retail Revival program. The purpose is to test how physical and online retailing can work together. A selection of curated items is presented in store and consumers have the possibility to buy a wider range of products online.

The selection of companies presented in the store will change every week. Over the month of May, eBay has organised a number of workshops and training seminars that are free and interactive. It implements also a retail experience using QR codes for purchase and tracking technologies for sales and traffic.

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