Grand Arcade boss JOHN SANSON on the latest retail trends

John Sanson pictured with Sandra Nolan, the manager of Clarks, Diana Rimmer, sales manager of Debenhams and Wigan Evening Post editor Janet Wilson  judging the Design A Mascot entries
John Sanson pictured with Sandra Nolan, the manager of Clarks, Diana Rimmer, sales manager of Debenhams and Wigan Evening Post editor Janet Wilson judging the Design A Mascot entries

The new Chief Executive of Debenhams, Sergio Bucher, is cutting back on some of the older fashion designers who have been selling ranges at the department store for decades as he tries to freshen up its cool credentials.

Debenhams have reported a good Christmas trading period with like for like sales up 5% and online sales up by 17%.

Football star, Cristiano Ronaldo, is joining forces with US based health club chain, Crunch Fitness to launch CR7 gyms.

The former Manchester United player will open his first club in Madrid, Spain before expanding further afield.

The Co-op says it will invest £70 million in 100 new stores creating 1,500 jobs, mainly in London and the South East.

Next reported worse than expected Christmas figures, prompting it to warn over sales and profits asit braces itself for tougher times in 2017. In the 54 days leading up to December 24 th , sales fell by 0.4% and it recorded a drop of 7% in end of season clearance sales.

A record Christmas saw discount retailer B&M achieve a sales increase of 7.2% in the three monthsto December 24 th , with revenues up by over 20% to £789.1 million.

The Manchester based national chain, The Fragrance Shop saw sales up by 12.6% year on year over the key Christmas trading period, helped by demand for luxury brands, including Dior and Chanel.

Although they are an online based retailer, boohoo.com who started in Manchester saw a bumper Christmas trading period with group sales to end December rising 55% to £114 million, driven by a 31% increase in UK sales to £65 million.

After Greggs saw sales rise in 2016 by over 4% with Christmas sales up 7% due to festive offers, mince pies and burrito’s, the company is looking at opening around 70 new stores this year and is also trialling a delivery service to cater for the office market in the City of London.

Over the Christmas period the supermarket “league table” at this important time of year shows the following:

Aldi +10%

Lidl +5.7%

Tesco +1.6%

Sainsbury’s -0.6%

Morrisons -1.4%

ASDA -4.7%

This relates to market share, not profit and shows the discounters taking more of the market than the big four grocery chains.

Ted Baker has released its Christmas trading results. In the eight weeks to January 7 th the chain recorded a 17.9% rise in sales. Part of this is due to opening stores in China, India and Bahrain.

We must be staying in more… as nursery and maternity retailer Mamas and Papas recorded an 11% rise in like for like sales in the thirteen weeks up to Christmas!

Aldi has announced that it will increase its minimum pay rate for store staff across the UK to £8.53 an hour (£9.75 in London) making them the highest paid in the supermarket sector.

Lidl has announced plans for a major distribution centre adjacent to junction four of the M61, the 44 acre site is expected to create 500 jobs in the region.

Tesco has announced a £3.7 billion deal to acquire Booker, the UK’s largest food wholesaler who also own the Londis and Budgens convenience store chains.

North West based shoe repair and key cutting business, Timpson has acquired the dry cleaning business of Johnson Services Group for £8.25 million.

The 150 year old company headed by John Timpson sees dry cleaning as one of its fastest growing services.

Sports Direct are looking at selling its brands such as Kangol, Everlast and Lonsdale to go more up- market with investment into new retail chain Flannels, selling luxury fashion brands like Gucci and Michael Kors.

Locally based drinks manufacturer Nichols who produce the stalwart “Vimto” brand have seen UK sales increase by 6.9% to £90.7 million up on £84.8 million the previous year. International sales grew by 8.8% to £26.6 million, an increase of £2.2 million on the previous year.

New figures from Deloitte show that 92 retailers went into administration in 2016, down 4% on the 96 that failed in the previous year.

As well as BHS, some of the larger retail administrations included the fashion retailers Austin Reed, Blue Inc. and American Apparel.

US denim brand Guess has announced plans for a new flagship outlet at Liverpool One, its first store in the North West.

Ten pin bowling operator Hollywood Bowl is improving its food offer with a new American diner concept in a fresh expansion drive.

As well as improving its food offering and opening more ‘VIP’ lanes in order to increase customer spend, it is planning on opening 10 new sites over the next five years, targeting shopping centres.

First we had the adult colouring book craze, now we have the Ladybird Book for Adults with such titles as The Hangover, The Sickie, The Midlife Crisis and even one on Brexit!

* Centre Events: Grand Arcade Shopping Centre has an exciting year ahead as they look forward to celebrating their 1th birthday this March.

At the start of the year we invited local schools to get involved with a competition to design a mascot for the Shopping Centre. The mascot will be brought to life this March and lead the Grand Arcade Kids Club which launches as part of the 10 th birthday celebrations. The judging panel were amazed by the wonderful entries received. Look out for the winning entry in Monday’s Wigan Evening Post.

As we look back on the last 10 years, we’re inviting local people to share their memories of Grand Arcade.

Did you used to work at Grand Arcade?

Do you remember the launch event with Jamelia and Lamar? These memories and photographs will feature on a Memory wall at the birthday event.

Chinese New Year events take place in Wigan town Centre this weekend, when Grand Arcade plays host to the Liverpool Hug Gar Kung Fu Lion Dancers on Saturday 4 th February with a dynamic martial arts demonstration at 1pm. This is part of the town centre celebrations organised by the Museum of Wigan Life, run by Wigan Council and the Confucius Classroom at Wigan and Leigh College.

Additional free activities will take place at the Museum of Wigan Life between 11am and 3pm, including traditional Chinese crafts, dressing up workshops and traditional Chinese activities.

Plus look out for the Lion Dance on Market Place at 12noon.

Keep up to date with the latest news and offers visit the Grand Arcade website or get them direct to your mobile device by downloading our Shopper App today.

It is available to download from the Apple Store and Google Play; keep an eye out for posters in the centre for more information.

Pluswith Free Wi-Fi, it’s even easier to surf whilst shopping at Grand Arcade.