Grand Arcade manager John Sanson on the latest retail trends ...

John Sanson
John Sanson

High Street footfall saw the biggest month on month drop in 13 years with a fall of 12.5%, amid a similar drop in retail sales.

Whilst retail sales faltered, Britain continues to go out to eat and drink with sales in managed pubs and branded restaurants up by 1.7%.

The Grand Arcade celebrates it's 10th birthday with various activities including the launch of their new mascot Freddy the Cat.  Pictured is Freddy with Michael Wadeson, Gracie Davies, Abigail Bingham and Ruby Bennett

The Grand Arcade celebrates it's 10th birthday with various activities including the launch of their new mascot Freddy the Cat. Pictured is Freddy with Michael Wadeson, Gracie Davies, Abigail Bingham and Ruby Bennett

Demand for organic foods is at its highest for more than a decade, as shoppers put quality before price, Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose have all reported increased organic sales.

Morrison’s is back on track with its first profit growth in five years. In the 12 months to end January its profits were boosted nearly 50% with underlying profit of £337 million. The company has recently launched its first womenswear range through its clothing label “Nutmeg” featuring denim, outerwear, activewear and occasionwear in 50 selected stores across the UK, unusually it is not available online.

Morrison’s is also set to become the first grocer in the UK to set up a takeaway food service inside its stores after joining up with food delivery firm Just Eat. Its first concession will be a Bombay Bites Express at its Victoria Shopping Centre store in Bradford.

Sainsbury’s is to abandon its “Phone Shop” offering, affecting 160 jobs, it plans to sell 16 to EE and will close the other 22.

A major restructure at Sainsbury’s will see jobs axed and changes to working hours. The UK’s second largest supermarket retailer plans to scrap the post of price controller and has plans to axe night shifts in 140 of its stores, offering workers either early morning or late evening shifts.

The Range is targeting busy shopping centres and high street locations as it steps up its efforts to diversify its store portfolio, similar to a number of out-of- town retailers such as Ikea, B&Q and Topps Tiles. who are looking at piloting smaller format stores.

Gym brand Anytime Fitness plans to double its portfolio to 200 sites in 2017 in a move that would make it the biggest player in the UK gym market.

Health and beauty retailer Boots has announced a restructure of its photo business with plans to shut 220 of its 320 photo labs across the country, with the possible loss of 400 jobs in the process.

After months of controversy and a war of words with MPs, Sir Phillip Green has finally made a contribution of £363 million to the BHS pension scheme shortfall. The situation still rumbles on regarding his knighthood being forfeited and the involvement of Dominic Chappell and his Retail Acquisitions company.

Sir Phillip Green has also agreed to double the amount paid into Arcadia Group’s pension fund in an effort to prevent another BHS style pension crisis.

Aldi has just opened its 700 th store in the UK in Whitstable, Kent just weeks after it officially became the country’s fifth largest grocer. The German discount supermarket operator also confirmed that it is on track to have 1,000 UK stores by 2022.

B&Q is to open its first High Street shop in a move away from its vast warehouse concept. The store on Holloway Road, North London is part of a trial by B&Q owner Kingfisher to adapt to changing shopping habits.

River Island is launching its first “big and tall” collection for men. Sizes go up to 4XL or a 50 inch chest and 48 inch waist with shoe sizes up to 13.

Topshop was the social media winner of the recent London Fashion Week, gaining more interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter than any other brand during the week long event.

Struggling fashion retailer Blue Inc. could ditch a portion of its 127 stores in an attempt to curb losses.

House of Fraser plans to drop 30 womenswear brands, launch champagne bars, yoga studies, refocus its customer base and relaunch its website as part of a new five year plan rolled out by executive chairman Frank Slevin.

Fashion retailer French Connection has recorded a full year loss for the fifth year in succession.

Revenues dropped by 6.7% to £153.2 million with an operating loss of £3.7 million, compared with a £4.7 million loss in 2016.

John Lewis Partnership is to cut its staff bonus to the lowest level in 60 years amid increasing pressure on the retail sector, thought to be between 6% and 7% of their annual wage, down from 10%.

E-cigarette retailer VIP has fallen into administration, jeopardising 265 jobs across 165 stores in theUK with the administrator seeking potential buyers.

Lego has announced the highest revenues in its 85 year history. Sales in 2016 reached a new high of 37.9 billion Danish Kroner which relates to £4.4 billion with profits of 12.2 billion Kroner or £1.4 billion.

In a move that will fuel speculation about the motives of Mike Ashley, his Sports Direct Company has increased its stake in Debenhams again to more than 11%.

Office Outlet, the stationer formerly known as Staples is looking for other retailers to take space in a third of its shops in a bid to restore its financial health.

The retail footwear market is in a certain disarray with Brantano filing notice of intention to appoint administrators, a day after the parent company did the same for long standing sister brand, Jones The Bootmaker.

It has been 10 years since Grand Arcade opened and what a different world retail and property finds itself in. The years have been challenging and interesting on a number of fronts. What shines through – people, Wigan is such a friendly town, tenants, shoppers, the Council even Janet and all the staff at the Wigan Evening Post and Observer! Thank you all and here’s to the next 10 years and another changing landscape.