Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Learning Technologies Show 2014 MOOCs, Mobile's Moment is NOW

In the Editor’s comments for the Special Show Guide issue of Inside learning Technologies and Skills Donald Taylor summarises
“The classroom is no more deceased than the paper magazine. But like contemporary publishing, learning is now a wider, more electronically enabled, more powerful field.
This magazine , the conference, the exhibition and the Learning and Skills group all celebrate learning’s  wider reach. Long may it flourish..."

The dreadful  unceasing cold rain on the Wednesday of the show did not put off the visitors to Olympia 2.
 Indeed Plastic bags for your wet umbrellas were provided on arrival  most welcome!

The technologies section seemed somewhat busier than the skills section.

For Report on Day Two of LT14uk

Thomas Weber and
 Joanna Koni  TATA TOPSIM
The free lectures throughout the day in the ten bear-pit theatres were full. 

The first of three I attended was Thomas Weber and Joanna Koni  of TATA TOPSIM  entitled Blended Business Solutions on a flipped learning approach.

The Pedigree of the Flight simulator as a learning method is well established in the Aero industry:

Thomas argued that Learning business by doing business  is best learned by practice of decision making through a simulation where consequences of the learner's decisions could put to the test and the consequences revealed through a simulated cased study whose model is continuously updated from experiences of TATA’s case work.

Thomas Weber 
Different approaches could be tested out by the learner. This was illustrated on a Change management case for a newly appointed manager 'Natalie'.

  Based on a change management model 1. Contentment 2. Denial 3. Confusion 4 .Renewal integrating day to day management of the team learners act as ‘mentor /adviser’ guiding the new manager ( Natalie) through and suggesting decisions.

Change challenge for a Sales Team
Thomas mentioned the TATA Topsim simulation approach had been adopted by a healthcare company in the States. An established sales team had to engage in selling a new range of products unfamiliar to them. In addition the new range had to be sold in a limited selling window of six weeks. 

This simulation model enabled the team to hit the ground running after the training interaction.

The blend of case studies, videos  fast tracked their learning time.

There has been much of a buzz about MOOCs recently – As I know little about MOOCs I took advantage of Ben Betts  of HT2’s excellent introduction on the subject. 

Ben Betts of HT2  in fervent epiphany enthusiam of things MOOC
Ben’s direct, lively and knowledgeable presentation aided by two guys who had set up a Curator MOOC was excellent.
Ben’s  3 Cs model Connect Create Curate looks interesting and simple to apply

 Ben Betts  said he measured the effectiveness of MOOCs  mostly by new ideas generated or ‘epiphanies’ , learners' personal development as much as traditional sign-up and stick- with-the-programme metrics. 

This open and democratic approach may go against conventional  current ROI learning metrics.
Ben’s counter was that Drop Out rates don’t necessarily tell you all. After all , plenty of folk learn by aredropping in and out of You tube or Wikipedia and learning loads.

Game-ification- rewarding learners for reading content ( e.. 3 points, and submitting answers 5 points and leader boards  are used to encourage active contribution and sharing behaviours.
This something I am going to look into more  Do I feel a selling MOOC rising to the surface.

The third session I attended was Alex Mackman of CG’s  Pactical Mobile learning.There were some interesting case studies on Luminosity shared by Alex .

Mobile's  Moment is NOW

2014 is a particularly apt time for mobile learning. Platforms such as I pads I phones etc , Androids and Windows 8 are well established in the market. The improvements in bandwidth and connectivity over the last year along with improved HTML5 authoring tools and delivery via the cloud or Experience API / Tin Can make this the Mobile moment

Alex Mackman  of CG group downloading
 from a QR code  live on Luminosity
Alex courageously finished with a  alive system  QR code download of an App to a mobile.

Related Links

Report on Day 2 @LT14uk

Selling a renewed EastEnders brand Less Albert Square more Canada Square

Dominic Treadwell-Collins, BBC TV  EastEnders' executive producer, wants Albert Square to look like a real-life east London neighbourhood in 2014. ( I am not sure it ever was that!)

"It should feel more like London. It's been frozen in aspic for too long," Treadwell-Collins told the  Radio Times.

(As an EastEnders  fan, I am not sure one does freeze something in aspic , I think you ‘set’ something in aspic but maybe there has been a new product placement deal from the likes of Dr Oetker or Knorr  with a new frozen aspic product that I have missed.)
Will there be a City trader 'gentrifying' Albert Square ? 

Sadly the BBC no longer sets out to educate ( using conventional use of metaphor ) or inform so much nowadays but  just concentrates on entertaining.

 "Sharon said recently that she's looking to be a landlady and as a result you'll see the edges of Shoreditch creeping into EastEnders. It's got to reflect the modern world."

EastEnders fans are still getting used to the arrival of hard guy Danny Dyer as the Queen Vic's landlord, cast against stereotype as a modern dad at ease with his son's homosexuality, had better prepare for some more upheaval.

The BBC plans to refresh the long-running soap out of its 1980s feel to reflect more closely the 21st-century reality of 'gentrified' east London, even promising to introduce "the edges of Shoreditch" to the show.

Research in refreshing the brand

Last week the EastEnders writing team visited the Hackney square used as the inspiration for the show's location when it began in 1985, at the start of a four-day story conference to thrash out plots for the next three months.

The Beeb do know a thing about branding  and re-branding  remember how they refreshed Dr. Who. 

A brand is a name or symbol which is used to identify the products of a specific firm.  Brands give products or services an identity or "personality". 

One of the challenges  for EastEnders will be to update the soap but not lose its personality.

Strong Brand names can also enhance the image of the parent company and enhance the image of the parent company and enhance consumer acceptance of new products introduced under the same name.

The brand name provides implicit assurance that the quality will remain unchanged over time.  Brands make buying decisions easier for customers and viewing public (TV  licence payers). 

They ensure that buyers can repeat orders of products they prefer - evidence of BRAND LOYALTY or fan base..
Will anyone  from  'sarf' of the river  or  Canary Wharf visit Albert Square ? ( Photo taken from Greenwich Canary Wharf in centre background)

Brand images also help to differentiate competitors.  Consequently, price comparisons become less critical in consumers decisions and other differences enter into the evaluation process. Eastenders constantly has to compete with 'the Street', Emmerdale  etc.

Consumers also feel more secure and confident with a familiar brand.  Distinctive brands can provide the centrepiece around which marketing strategies are developed.

What makes a good Brand name?  East Enders like Ronsil does what it says on the tin.

In general the characteristics are the following:

·         It should suggest something about the products/services benefits.

·         It should be short and simple.

·         It should be easy to spell, read and pronounce.

·         Pleasant sounding.( Maybe not for gritty EastEnders)

·         Distinctive and memorable.

·         Suitable for new product versions or enhancements which may be added to the product range later.

·         Legally available (copyright and patents).

Five Levels of Brand Familiarity

·         Brand Insistence - consumers are absolutely loyal and will accept no substitutes.

·         Brand Preference - target customers will usually choose one specific brand over others.

·         Brand Recognition - exists when consumers remember the Brand name.

·         Brand Non-Recognition - consumers do not recall the Brand name.

·         Brand Rejection - consumers recognise, but refuse to buy specific brand.

·         Some Types of Brand are classified  according to Origin
  •          Manufacturers/National Brands.
  •         Dealer/Private Brands usually created by Intermediaries such as retailers.
  •       Family Brand - same brand used for different products e.g.:  Distribution labels - or own label.
  •      Individual Brand - usually assigned to each product when there exists significant variation in product type and quality.
  •         Licensed Brand - a well established brand name which other sellers pay to use.  This allows the seller the advantage of existing brand recognition and preferences.

I hope they pull off the re-branding of EastEnders and not make it too  WestEnders ! 
 ( Other "soaps" are available)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Davos 2014 for Sales Professionals as well

For those journalists who attend loads of conferences and regularly rub shoulders with both the good and great as well as the rich and powerful, Davos is merely part of the annual news circuit.

Those journalists  who are miffed because they were not invited or not sent by their editor to cover this year’s Annual World Economic Forum at Davos tended to criticise it as a junket not relevant to we ordinary mortals.

Those who do attend but are unable to secure interviews with the A listed CEOs tend to write lightweight gossip pieces about the champagne receptions or celebrity ‘tosh’ as if Davos was a pre-cursor the Oscars. They are also tempted to provide their own story rather than report on what Davos did cover.

This year’s ‘story’  was only that 15% women delegates. This was a perfectly valid observation but they could have also reported on the many discussions on Women’s role in business in the world as well at the contribution of women at the conference but perhaps that was too much hard work to attend such events at Davos. It must be easier to scroll through twitter and conjure up a story with a coffee and Danish to hand in the comfy vestibules of Davos.

As a Z-lister , (perhaps out of envy) I do get rather fed up about the lack of content such journalists supply me. They seem to just sneer for the sake of it or want to prove they are the intellectual equal of a CEO , Banker etc which if they had not taken to journalism as a profession they too would  also be a high networth CEO. ( of course one or two in TV are. Any anchors come to mind ?  !)

However  for most 'journos.' that is about as delusional as Walter Mitty . Just because they might  once have been president of their University political debating club they believe that is equivalent to the grown up  world of real politics or business with real dilemma and responsibilities. Those in real power have  to take decisions and live with the consequences.

Perhaps Roger McGough's clever poem on leadership is worth re-reading
The Leader

I wanna be the leader
I wanna be the leader
Can I be the leader?
Can I? I can?
Promise? Promise?
Yippee I'm the leader
I'm the leader

OK what shall we do?

Roger McGough

Deference to our ‘betters’ , respect for our leaders is not fashionable today. To show respect is viewed as subservient.

Yet the reality is that we plebs can attend Davos through the webcasts.

 We can read the programme of events. 

We can view some of the discussions and if we are lucky can even put our own questions to some of the world’s business leaders via twitter.

OK we don’t get to some of the ‘top secret’ meetings – (neither do the journalists) but we do get to hear these leaders talk for longer than the facile snippets of edited garbage purporting to be coverage of the World Economic Forum and what it does.

Because every sales professional has a part to play as ambassador for their company ,I recommend that you attend Davos via the webcasts to hear what some of the top business leaders are thinking.
For example Doing business the right way which includes CEO on the panel Pepsico’s  Indra Nooyi one of the 15% of women at Davos.

 Seek out the programme and tune in to find out what many of the world’s top business leaders consider to be the strategic priorities they see for their staff, customers and stakeholders.

I find Davos useful and interesting. As one slaving down in the engine room of the ship of business, it is a privilege to be asked to join the captain on the bridge once in a while - even it is only via a webcast.

Related Links

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Who's the best at Selling in the Deloitte Football Money League? Sales of accessories and core sales

The Beautiful Game or the beautiful business?

Time was when my brother would take me ‘down the bridge’ to watch Chelsea. The entrance price for ‘Boys’, I seem to remember was the princely sum of four shillings ( 20 p ?).

I don’t remember tickets for ordinary matches back then, but I think you paid cash at the narrow turnstiles.

The exotic players Chelsea FC had were all Scottish not the Global stars of today.

 This was of course all in the last century. The players’ shirts were plain with a club badge and no business sponsorship name. A club’s success was simply about winning trophies and scoring goals.

How times change !

The 2014 Football Money league table produced by Deloitte’s helps to keep the Accounting behemoth’s own sales’ profile high. It enables brand Deloitte to be talked about by millions of sports fans away from the usual readers of the Financial pages. Deloitte has run this table since the 1996-7 season.

The news this year - Manchester United has slipped from their 3rd position on the 2012-3 season statistics.

It seems rather hard luck that photos of the present manager are associated with the Money league story since David Moyes was not the manager at the time for the period of the figures quoted - it was of course Sir Alex Ferguson.

But Sales grew !

Manchester United – like most clubs in the top 20 – generated more money last season, £363.2 million, than in any previous campaign, this is the first time that they have not been in the top three in the Money League.

Whilst Manchester United drop one place in the Money League, a number of the club's recent commercial deals will boost revenue in 2013-14, so this fall to fourth place may only be temporary,” said Deloitte's Austin Houlihan.

What has come out of the story is the changing shares of revenue streams ( Sales) .

 Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme's Simon Jack that the majority of high-earning football clubs are for the first time making "more money out of commercial sources" than through television and match day revenues.

The highest sales figures come from what in other businesses might be called ‘the extras’ , add-ons, accessories, subsidiaries or non core products.

Sales evolution

Not so long ago, the primary source of sales was earned at the gates on Match day tickets, this was then superseded by TV deals and now for the first time for the top 20 clubs in Deloitte’s list it is Commercial Sources – licences, sponsorships, merchandise, partnerships, shirt deals etc.

All clubs in the Deloitte’s top 30 now generate over 100m euros in revenue each, whereas in the first list, compiled in 1996-97, only Manchester United beat this figure.

For the financial eyes, the excitement of winning trophies, matches and scoring goals of the beautiful game is now dryly described as ‘On pitch performance’.

Despite the huge contributions of commercial sales it will be important to keep one eye on the ball and the 'other eye' on profit not just sales.

 The Blues ( Chelsea FC)  are down one place to 7th  in the Deloitte table this year, the success on the pitch is one thing, financial health is another – many many four bobs ( 4/- or 20 p)

Blue is the colour
Football is our game
We’re altogether
And winning is our
So cheer us on through the wind and rain

‘Cos Chelsea , Chelsea is our name

Related links

Deloitte's "All to play for" Video - No goals No trophies but funky music and sales charts

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

9 Perils of Posts, Texts and Tweets in Sales - no place for fun, irony or innuendo?

In selling, as in any human endeavour, there can be a dangerous tendency to rush into judgement, and the additive desire to be part of the crowd.

Social media is immediate, interactive, conversational and open-ended. This sets it apart from other forms of communication in selling and demands a DIFFERENT way of thinking and selling.

There are perils of posting, texting and tweets which we in Selling need to know..
 In self promotion,  social media has enabled a range of ways to quickly publish our expertise,views, opinions and feelings.
Social media has made ' old skool vanity publishing’  pretty much free.-Well at least free to publish !

Ill-considered Tweets
 The consequences of ill considered tweets  - even  just seven words- can be very costly as Sally Berko found with her *innocent face* tweet which was held to be “ seriously defamatory”, even when she allegedly did not intend it to be defamatory and her tweet did not make any express accusation. 
Her QC, William McCormick, had argued that the phrase "innocent face" was merely an indication that the tweet should be read in a deadpan manner, comparable to stage directions or notation on a musical score.
Yet we should all be in no doubt that the libel law applies to everyone, whatever "platform"  we use to make our statements –  the papers, journals, TV, radio, blogs, social media and even perhaps the office water cooler.
The ruling may have  given reassurance to people who feel that tweeters who mention them are not observing the law as strictly as they would in mainstream media. Just 140 characters can cost the unwary an awful lot of money.

"Egg on face can be very eggspensive !"
 Things can be held to be seriously defamatory, even when you do not intend them to be defamatory and do not make any express accusation.
“On this, I have learned my own lesson the hard way “ Sally Bercow’s statement read.

She may have agreed to pay a settlement to the late Lord McAlpine, but the high court has ensured the British tweeting public will be paying in fun, irony and innuendo forever.

 “In my judgement, the reasonable reader would understand the words ‘innocent face’ as being insincere and ironical,” Mr Justice Tugendhat said.
“There is no sensible reason for including those words in the tweet if they are to be taken as meaning that the defendant simply wants to know the answer to a factual question.”
The reader would reasonably infer that Mrs Bercow had provided “the last piece in the jigsaw”, he said.
A number of tweeters in the selling profession  will now have to rein in some of their tweets, tamed by the knowledge that even a possible microscopic suggestion could land you in court,.

  " It is engraved in Social's stone"

The ease of communication via Social media and email make it far too easy to say the wrong thing or to be caught in a way that could jeopardise your job.

Nikii Chesworth wrote an advertising feature in London's Evening Standard 21st January 2014 above an advertisement for Slater and Gordon Lawyers quoting Edward Cooper of Slater and Gordon.

"If you have been critical of your employer, the first thing you should do is take down any offensive postings and after removing them apologise. 

What happens next depends on the seriousness  of what was said. Moaning about a bad day at the office is a different thing to being critical of a new product or a named manager.

In some cases you could face dismissal in the grounds of an abuse of (company ) policy  with your employer or because you have undermined the relationship that has broken down.

You could also be dismissed for breach of confidence, if you distribute confidential information  possibly even by emailing it to yourself at home or by breaching the terms of mutual trust."

Niki Chesworth goes on to warn readers " However, there is one more pitfall to watch out for: employers using what you believe to be a harmless comment to get rid of you"
How to counteract the 9 Perils of Posts, Texts and Tweets 

Churches do have a selling role in the sense of “persuasive communication against resistance”. Their selling language tends to omit the ‘S’ word substituting it with expression like ‘evangelising’ or ‘preaching the Christian message’. 

Here is an adaptation of the Nine commandments issued by the diocese of Bath and Wells to its clergy and laity recently issued.  These 'commandments' also make a handy corporate social media policy if you don't already have one in your company.

1. Don’t rush in to be ‘liked’ or have your tweets shared or re-tweeted and THINK B4 U TWEET

2. Remember updates are transient yet permanent

3. You’re an ambassador for your company

4. Don’t hide behind anonymity

5. Think about the blurring of work/private life boundaries

6. Safeguarding: communicating directly online is like meeting a client/prospect or colleague in private

7. Stay within the legal framework and your company’s social and email policy

8. Respect confidentiality

9. Be mindful of your own security

Dale Carnegie in the Digital Age

Monday, 20 January 2014

Turner at Sea The selling example of the artist Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775 -1851

 (At the heart of Turner’s ambitious print project of British Landscape Art  Book of Studies (Liber Studiorum) he assigned different letters to each  category of landscape painting and included them at the top of each image. Marine Painting was identified by the letter ‘M’.)

Art writers tend not to use the ‘S’ word where the letter  S = Selling in their writing. Perhaps they consider it a little ‘vulgar’.

For example the booklet accompanying the ‘Turner and the Sea’ exhibition at The National Maritime Museum opens

“ Turner was an accomplished showman from the start of his career, strategically displaying works to generate patronage and publicity.”

A commercial eye would translate ‘generate patronage’ more straightforwardly as selling and ‘publicity’ as marketing promotion.

Going round the exhibition at the National Maritime Museum you can also learn what a consummate hard working salesman he must have been as well as an artistic genius.

Reading about his life and looking at this exhibition of his sea pictures and their back stories, I don’t think Turner was coy about selling art or ‘generating patronage’.

Early Signs of the Salesman

J.M.W. Turner was a son of a barber and wig maker, his mother from a family of butchers.

 By the age of eleven we know Turner's drawings were being exhibited in his father's shop window and sold for a few shillings.

He entered the Royal Academy of Art schools in 1789, when he was 14 years old, and was accepted into the academy a year later. Sir Joshua Reynolds, president of the Royal Academy, chaired the panel that admitted him.

Competitive Drive  USP

Turner exhibited his first oil painting at the Academy in 1796, ‘Fishermen at Sea’ 1796: a nocturnal moonlit scene off The Needles, which lie off the Isle of Wight which is shown at the exhibition in Greenwich alongside other pictures at the same show in 1796.

You can see how his style of painting differentiates from the ‘competition’.

The image of boats in peril contrasts the cold light of the moon with the firelight glow of the fisherman's lantern

Competitive Spirit, Direct Distribution and Price Leadership

Turner apparently relished the public acclaimed he received and enjoyed the spirit of competition encourage in the London Art market at the time.

In 1804 he built his own gallery attached to his house in Harley Street and from 1806 he regularly submitted pictures to the British Institution and a new exhibition space in Pall Mall.

It mattered not whether he was working in water colour, or oil, he always wanted to be better (and charge more ) than his competitor painters.

As a new generation of marine artists entered the market to challenge his dominance often emulating his former style, Turner’s response was to take his creative offerings in a new direction. Today's experts in Branding would be impressed the way Turner re-invented "Brand Turner" many times well before the phenomenon of our day - Brand 'Beckham' !

Sales success

Turner's talent was recognised early in his life. ( He sold well) Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate freely .

Research and insight and Networking

One picture caught my eye. 'The Regatta beating to Windward 1828 Oil on Canvass on loan from Indianapolis Museum of Art. Turner stayed at the Isle of Wight home of J Nash Esq East Cowes Castle.

" ...The highlight of the event that year was the race for his Majesty's Cup awarded by George IV to the winning yacht 'Arrow'. Turner took notes of the names of the yachts  and the owners and made numerous oil sketches of the yachts racing in the Solent or returning to their moorings."  - p 188 of Turner and the Sea - Exhibition Catalogue and Book

As he grew older he continued to experiment with new and unconventional ways to depict the sea. He clearly appreciated the importance to keep the brand fresh.

He also ‘got’ technological change. 

The much loved painting of the Fighting Temeraire being tugged to the breakers’ yard in Rotherhithe by a steam powered paddle tug of course mourns  nostalgically and patriotically the passing of sail power but recognises change technological progress. He would have embraced Selling 3.0

Continual Professional Development.

Turner was rarely without a sketchbook and colours whether working at home or in his travels throughout Britain and the continent.  

Around 20,000 of his drawings and watercolours together with numerous unfinished oil paintings were left to the nation as the Turner Bequest.

One of the most fascinating exhibits in the exhibition is ‘Calais Pier Sketchbook’ – study for a sea piece, with small boats in choppy water. It is a pen and ink with wash and extensive black and whit chalk on blue paper.

The show closes in April don't miss it whether you admire the Salesman Turner or the painter Turner or like me BOTH !

Related Information

3rd November 2014 The Turner Prize, named after the painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist under the age of 50.Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery and staged at Tate Britain.
Although it represents all media and painters have also won the prize, it has become associated primarily with conceptual art

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Inarticulate Social Selling 3.0 – Sales jargon

“Ours is the age of substitutes:
 instead of language, we have jargon:
 instead of principles ,slogans:
and instead of genuine ideas, bright ideas.

 So wrote Eric Bentley British-born American critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator.

Today we might follow the entertaining writing of Lucy Kellaway of the Financial Times and for any fellow insomniac devotees to her broadcasts on BBC Radio World service. She invites readers of her column to vote on her yearly Golden Flannel Awards.

 She lampoons jargon used by corporations particularly their euphemisms for sacking and hiring ( transitioning and onboarding).

I guess we all quite enjoy laughing at HR’s attempts to try and sugar such testing communication medicine.

Yet we are ALL guilty of picking up and using jargon.

 For salespeople this is perhaps a particularly perilous habit, since we are trained to empathise more , relate to our prospect using their language. Many salespeople consider it right to not only mirror buyer’s body language but also “parrot” or “echo” the client’s vocabulary.

One category in Lucy Kellaway’s Jargon Awards are the entrants for the Communications Cup.

This is awarded for the most awful way of suggesting that two people meet, email or talk.”

Since meeting, talking on the phone and emailing are a central part of what we in selling do, perhaps we should take note of entrants for the Golden Flannel Awards Communication Cup.

If for no other reason, we need protect ourselves from buyers mentally ticking their Bullshit Bingo boxes when we utter such rubbish. Such inarticulate expression does little to earn the trust of our clients or build a professional impression.

Meeting, talking on the phone and emailing are all pretty straightforward, so you wouldn’t have thought we need new words  to describe them

Previous winners have included: 
to reach out,
to circle back
and to revert. 

“All three are terrific” Lucy sarcastically suggests, and all are still in use.

 However, in 2013 there have been many additions of which the best (worst) are:

To connect.
This is deceptively simple, and sounds innocuous. But it is the new way of saying “Let’s do lunch”, only without the promise of any lunch. So it’s “let’s connect in the NY”. And “would be great to connect going forward”.

To sync-up.
As in “Shall we sync-up for lunch before Xmas”? This one is very popular with consultants Lucy Kellaway suggests

To loop you in.
If you are looped in, you are therefore in the loop.
 Lucy Kellaway comments “I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been looped in this year. All I can say  is I don’t like it.”

When would be a good time to reach out to arrange a telecom?

This arrived in a message from a PR last month to Lucy Kellaway. It has made the shortlist as it is a variant on meetings about meetings, and is innovative in the use of the word “telecom”.

Should we avoid all these pitfalls and properly communicate with our client , may we share “insights” or should I say “genuine ideas”  a la Eric Bentley ? !

Friday, 10 January 2014

Every Lidl helps -the discounting model thrive but will On line stop the dive?

The selling challenge is on for discounters as the economy strengthens     

Poundland, is buying 99p Stores announced today 5th February 2015 subject to  approval by the competition authorities.

Poundland have eyes on growing to 1000 stores
Poundland already has 458 stores in the UK and Ireland, plans to open 1,000 stores in the UK "over time". 

The discounter  sells all its items priced at £1 or less, serves 4.5m customers each week  driving its pre-tax profit before exceptional items up 29 % to £23.1m.

It opened 69 new stores over the year, including 17 in Ireland where it operates under the Dealz brand and items are priced at 1.49 euros.

West Midlands-based Poundland was bought by private equity firm Warburg Pincus four years ago for around £200m.

Poundland has other rivals

Discounting still works on very tight margins so handing out all those 1p pieces will end and of course prices will rise by a penny.

Aldi and Lidl appear to be the "clear winners" of the Christmas period with double-digit growth on the UK High Street.

The "squeezed-middle" positions of Tesco and Sainsbury's are seeing their market under pressure both from high-end Waitrose and from discounters Aldi and Lidl.

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said Tesco's competitors, the discount retailers had "loudly announced their arrival", while Tesco's investment in its store revamp would continue to help profitability."

Still the UK's biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, announced its website had done well over Christmas, with a 14% rise in the number of UK online sales.

A record amount of online shopping was done in December 2013, says the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

According to the BRC survey Close to one in five non-food items was bought online last month.

There was also a 19.2% growth in internet purchases from a year earlier, the fastest increase in four years.

However, UK retail sales in total rose by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. The BRC said the figures represented a "respectable overall result"

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, who conducted the survey for the BRC, said Internet sales had surged in the run-up to Christmas.

However Tesco's overall  like-for-like sales  fell down by 2.4% during the Christmas period, and its shares fell by 4%.

The supermarket giant said the fall was partly due to a "weaker grocery market" in the UK.

Philip Clarke, chief executive at Tesco, said its move to open fewer stores in the UK was also behind the sales drop.

He said focusing on opening smaller, express stores in the UK would help.

Mr Clarke added: "Our overseas performance has improved since the third quarter, driven by an improving trend in Europe. This is despite continuing external challenges, including the recent political disruption in Thailand."

Tesco store in Budapest I visited last November Regrettably my
Clubcard was not accepted ! but it was worth a try.
 Hungary is one of 12 markets in which TESCO operate in the world

One Euro market in Budapest Hungary last November.
 Discounters do well in Hungary as well
Last year, Tesco announced it would be spending £1bn on improving its stores in the UK, investing in shop upgrades, product ranges, more staff, as well as its online offering.

The firm, while still the UK's biggest supermarket chain, is fighting an increasingly tough battle with discount supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl

Discounters rule

Discount retailers have outperformed the market in the economic downturn as cash-strapped consumers have sought to make savings.

Related Links

How to sell low price