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.


Retail sales on hold in October


In addition to the ongoing economic uncertainty and the decline of footfall in stores, retail sales are falling ahead of Black Friday and end of year promotions. The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales monitor showed that UK retail sales for October increased by 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2017, when they had decreased 1.0% from the preceding year. Meanwhile, online penetration rate increased from 25.7% to 27.6% during the month. 

After a difficult year, retailers are set to see a 2% rise in customer spending this Christmas reaching an estimated £98.8 billion, according to UK data analyst GlobalData. It is still smaller than last year, as retailers saw an increase of 2.3% of expenses during the “Golden quarter”. Grocery sales are expected to drive growth as a 2.5% increase is expected in the category.


Amazon steps up its game in fashion


After Asos, Topshop or Schuh, this is now Amazon’s turn to launch its “try-before-you-buy” fashion service in the UK, Prime Wardrobe. The service will be available for Prime members in a dedicated section on the website. Customers will be able to browse thousands of eligible fashion products including clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. Members then select between 3 and 8 items for free delivery and with no upfront charge. If they don’t fit, returning unwanted items is free and easy thanks to a resealable bag and prepaid label.

In October, Amazon had already increased its presence in the fashion industry by opening a pop-up fashion store in Baker Street.


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© Amazon Prime Wardrobe


In its new Cheltenham store, John Lewis & Partners will offer new premium services. Large spenders whose bill tops at least £10,000 will have a private access to the store after standard hours. Also, additional services such as a concierge service and the recently launched Shopping List will enable customers to book out time with a sales assistant to help them complete a list or shop for specific gifts. A new event will also be held every day, with yoga and smoothie-making classes expected in the new year.


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© John Lewis


The rise of voice shopping in fashion


Asos has became one of the first fashion UK retailer to launch its voice shopping guide Enki on Google Home Assistant. By saying “Ok Google, talk to Asos”, shoppers will be able to shop the latest Asos products. On average its website displays 85,000 products with 5,000 new added each week. With this new assistant, the pureplayer wants to help its customers to shop its new products more easily.

Earlier this year, Asos had already partnered with Enki to launch a Messenger bot, helping shoppers to discover relevant products in a more conversational way.



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