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Marks & Spencer sales have fallen for the six months to 26 September but the company plans to concentrate on increasing food sales.

Over that period, UK like-for-like sales fell by 0.4% and the sales of general merchandise were down by 1.2%. This includes the clothing section of the company.

However, Marks & Spencer said that underlying profits rose by 6.1%, showing a total of £284 million. Once the one-off items were taken into account, pre-tax profits fell 22.7% to £216 million.

The retailer said that trading conditions were difficult because of the high levels of promotions in the first quarter due to unseasonal conditions.

M&S could be at a turning point if they concentrate on increasing food sales, gross margins and cash generation as planned. The chief executive Marc Bolland said he has focused on making sure that margins are improved and sold fewer items on promotion.

International sales were also affected because sales fell 0.9%, which excludes currency movements.

There is a lot more competition on the high street, especially with Christmas just around the corner but the good news is hat M&S profit margins at its non-food business had risen by 2.85 percentage points.


Longer refund rights have come into effect under the Consumer Rights Act including new protection for people who buy digital content.

Any consumer who buys a faulty product is entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after the purchase and this includes second-hand goods when bought through a retailer.

Customers buying digital content such as ebooks or online films and music will not be able to get a refund but can get a replacement if the downloads do not work.

Downloads can sometimes infect a device with a virus and if this happens then the provider would be liable to pay compensation for getting it removed.

In many shops, retailers do offer a refund to consumers who have changed their mind about a particular item but there is no statutory right to a refund.

The Consumer Rights Act says that products must be of good quality to match the value of the product and also be fit for purpose and meet the expectations of the consumer.






If you’ve been hibernating over the past few weeks then you might not have heard of Small Business Saturday which is happening on Saturday 6th December. Its getting a lot of coverage and support and rightly so.

The premise behind it is for people to support, inspire and promote local businesses. Small Business Saturday encourages businesses to promote themselves and other small businesses and to get more people to shop locally.shopping

So if you haven’t ordered your Christmas Turkey yet, why not order it at your local butcher? Or if you’re looking for something unique to buy someone this Christmas then pop in to one of Hastings boutique shops and see what’s on offer, you’ll be surprised!

Small businesses give customers more choice and work incredibly hard keeping their businesses going and we should support them especially in our region as we have great independent shops for every occasion.

So pop along this weekend and help your local businesses because without them our towns and high streets would be very boring and identical looking places.

Andrew Wooding Jones, the former Director of Ashburnham Place Christian Centre has become the new Regional Director for Shopper Anonymous Sussex. Shopper Anonymous generates in-depth customer feedback through its mystery shopping and market research tools. The feedback is then supported with motivational customer service and sales training.


Jonathan Winchester (left) UK Managing Director of Shopper Anonymous with Andrew Wooding Jones.

“When I was at Ashburnham, we used Shopper Anonymous a number of times to check our conference enquiries and the booking system.  Having experienced Shopper Anonymous’ expertise at first hand, I am delighted to have the opportunity to become a part of the team.  I am also delighted to be back in Sussex where I have worked for many years and look forward to meeting up with former business colleagues and making new contacts” comments Andrew.

Jonathan Winchester, the UK Managing Director comments “Andrew’s background includes management positions in hotels, retail and the not for profit sector as well as involvement in training undergraduate management students. Returning to Sussex completing a CEO assignment in Birmingham, Andrew is really excited about this opportunity to take Shopper Anonymous Sussex forward.  Having previously been the Director of Ashburnham Place Conference Centre, Andrew is well connected in Sussex and known to many business people. I am sure he will be a real asset”.

Andrew takes the reigns for Graham Seymour, who in 2009 was the first Shopper Anonymous Regional Director and franchisee.  Graham will still be involved in the business supporting the franchise network which now covers 14 Regional Directors and has plans to expand into Europe.

Posted by: In: Retail 27 Mar 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , , ,

Priory Meadow has good reason to be celebrating today as its new anchor store from fashion giants H & M is opening on the 27th March 2014.


H & M is now open at Priory Meadow

The H & M Hastings store takes up quite a large space and is sure to attract more visitors to the town and being an anchor store will, we presume attract more brands to the shopping centre and rightfully so.

All jobs have currently been filled when we enquired earlier in the month, however it is always worth checking on H & M’s website for any opportunities.

If you get a chance to visit Priory Meadow then pop in and have a look.

Local businesses create thousands of jobs and generate millions of pounds for our local economy but with competition from out of town shopping centres and internet shopping, they face increasing challenges. Amber Rudd’s Shop local discount card encourages residents to shop in their local area, supporting local businesses supporting the local economy.


Get your business signed up with Shop Local and start benefiting as soon as possible

Above all, Hastings & Rye Shop Local aims to support the high street. By offering a range of different incentives – from percentage discounts, buy one get one free or exclusive special offers – shoppers can find great deals on the high street rather than looking elsewhere.

Local businesses that sign up to the scheme benefit from the opportunity to attract new customers with the promotions they offer and reach a wider audience with their business information on the website and directory.

The card is free for both customers and businesses to sign up to.

There are already a wide range of local businesses signed up to the scheme, each offering different sorts of discounts or rewards. For more information on how to sign up for the card or to add your business to the scheme visit www.shoplocalhastings.co.uk

Posted by: In: Jobs, News, Retail 09 Aug 2013 Comments: 0 Tags: , , , , ,

If you’ve been wondering what the huge white walls are currently in Priory Meadow then guess no more as its going to be the new H&M Hastings store.

The fashion retail chain, H & M are opening a 1500 Sqm superstore in Priory Meadow.


H&M Hastings store opening spring 2014

It is scheduled to open in spring 2014 and is another exciting and well known brand to come to the town and is another great example of the inward investment that is happening all over the area and will provide much needed jobs for people in the town and surrounding areas.

The store takes over three units in the shopping centre so that will give you an idea of the size of the shop.

We’ll keep you updated with this story as it develops regarding the H&M Hastings store.