Greggs is to extend its concept store format, which gives shoppers more space to shop, to further outlets in London ahead of a national roll-out.The bakery chain has seen double-digit sales growth at the eight stores in London it has refurbished with the new look and plans to revamp a further 19 shops in the capital in the second half, before rolling out the concept to the rest of the country.The new-concept stores sport a red and brown colour scheme, with more space for customers to browse fixtures, contem-porary spot lighting and large photos of the baking process. Some of the shops also have small seating areas. Extra space is provided in the stores by moving the production area to other parts of the building.”Where we have the space and can give that space back to customers it provides an easier shopping experience. The challenge is that no two shops at Greggs are the same, so we have to do a site-by-site analysis. We’ll see more of them going forward, not just in London but across the country,” chief executive Ken McMeikan told British Baker.Greggs revealed the new-concept store roll-out as it announced its half-year results. Total group sales in the 26 weeks to 3 July increased by 2.9% compared to same period in 2009, with like-for-like sales up 0.7%. Underlying operating profit grew by 4%.The retailer said it was on track to open 50-60 net new shops in 2010, as part of its plan to open a further 600 outlets.
Jean Forrest (sitting) with The Peninsula Tokyo general manager Malcolm Thompson Amid hefty renovations and soft refurbishments across its portfolio, The Peninsula Hotels has undertaken a strategic approach to e-commerce, ensuring the brand’s relevance and service.With luxury hotels in nine cities in Asia and the United States, the prestigious hotel brand has this year set up a dedicated e-commerce team in its corporate office in Hong Kong and looks to hire an e-commerce manager in each of its properties this year and in 2011, The Peninsula Hotels marketing general manager Jean Forrest told e-Travel Blackboard.“We don’t get as many bookings from the web as say the Marriotts or the Sheratons,” she said, but added that the company has always been innovative, in tune with the needs and booking habits of its discerning clientele.For instance, according to Ms Forrest, The Peninsula Hotels is the first hotel group to offer a real-time room reservation iPhone application which can seamlessly drive bookings to their reservations system without any manual intervention.The service has since been extended to include real-time multi-lingual food and booking reservations, and is set to include spa appointments in the future.These innovations are in line with The Peninsula Hotels’ strategy to offer the best and latest services to guests, staying up to date and relevant in a changing world, Ms Forrest said.“We are purchasing a system now so that we can track and respond to online posts,” she said, adding that rather than a selling tool, the brand’s online and social media presence will be used to “reach a new demographic”.“Will we sell differently? Not really?”“We’re trying to have interesting conversations in this sphere but ultimately want to drive people to experience our website.” Source = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F