We in the NTI newsroom are willing to bet that the swanky who wear their sleeve cuffs turned back as they emerge with a hand-made suit from Savile Row's Gieves & Hawkes don't know the tailor and its sister shop Kent & Curwen are owned by Trinity Limited, which is controlled by Chinese Shandong Ruyi Technology Group. Savile Row has long been a draw for the well-heeled around the globe who, for reasons only explained among themselves, require their initials to be splattered across their shirt cuffs or breast pockets. It appears not even those who stop and shop at this level are immune to the ravages of the pan ... blah, blah, blah.
Whether or not the top-end labels will be wound up depends upon a vote in Hong Kong on 4th November. It doesn't seem to matter that Gieves & Hawkes have outfitted Admiral Lord Nelson, Winston Churchill and Lady Diana, Shandong Ruyi Technology Group faces a debt crisis ansd needs to sell its tiny tailoring toy. The clever money consider the best chances of finding a buyer is if the brands go into Liquidation. We in the NTI newsroom don't know who the Liquidators will be, but if it's you drop us a note and let us know.
From the sublime to the Ikea; the furnishing and accessories brand from Älmhult in Sweden is purchasing the former flagship Topshop store on Oxford Circus in a move that gives London, high street shopping and the UK a big thumbs up. It is said that Ikea are paying £378 million for 214 Oxford Street and will have its own store selling items ranging from meatballs to diposable wardrobes right in the centre of all things London, although how shoppers are going to take chests of drawers down the Tube is a mystery to many, what with that awkward change onto the Jubilee Line one stop down at Bond Street. In a departure from the model that has brought the brand worldwide fame with its big yellow and blue box strategy to an infiltration onto the high street, Ikea has trialled such stores in Paris and is opening a similar model in Hammersmith, London in the next few months.
Another brand who are waking up, smelling and dispensing their own coffee are Pret a Manger, who are set to trial self service coffee stations in a range of locations including convenience stores, forecourts, universities, healthcare facilities and workplaces. Costa already occupy some of this space with their natty little in-store kiosks as the big coffee brands respond to the change in consumer habits change due to new working and commuting patterns post-Covid. It seems that 'Pret Express' will be rolled out in 20 outlets in the next 12 months as it continues its transformation plan following the launch of its coffee subscription service in 2020. This is a new venture for Pret, whose previous strategy was to open as many outlets as possible in a single location, but didn't know what to do with the small area of wall between sandwich bars. Well, now they have the solution; Pret Express can fill that pesky two metre space between stores.
The answer to the eternal question, 'what price retail?' is now closer to hand. A lot more. An example of this is Unliver who have put up the price of such brands as Marmite, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Dove soap by 4.1 per cent in the three months to September, the biggest jump since early 2012. Unilever's finance chief, Graeme Pitkethly, said the multinational had “stepped up” its pricing in response to the very high levels of inflation, adding: “We expect inflation could be higher next year.”
Ever helpful, we in the newsroom wanted to offer you a handy list of the products you may not be able to afford this time next year without saving up. They include, Cornettos, Brylcreem, Badedas, Magnums, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Coman's mustard and Cif. But on the upside, if you live in London you can save on the price of unleaded petrol (soon to be around £15 a litre) by not having to travel out to an Ikea, but just nipping off the Tube at Oxford Circus to buy a lemon peeler and a lampshade adorned with a unicorn.