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What’s been happening in your industry this week? Volume 7

Have you had a busy week? At WOWPOS, we understand that January is a chaotic time for business owners. We understand that news about your industry is probably the last thing on your mind but we want you to keep updated about what has been happening in your industry. Here is a brief summary of this week’s biggest stories in the Retail and Hospitality sector.

What’s been happening in your industry this week? Volume 7


Have you been affected by the tube strike? On Sunday Evening, the staff of the London Underground went on strike for 24 hours. There was a limited service on all London Underground train lines from Sunday evening at 6pm till Monday at 6pm. This affected the retail industry significantly as footfall decreased by 9%. This shows that the tube strike disrupted the travelling of shoppers which led to them being unable to access the stores of retailers. As a retailer, you should expect the tube strike to severely limit your sales. The tube strike disrupted all aspects of retail stores as employees struggled to travel to work which led to many stores being understaffed. Do your customers and employees rely on the London Underground?

2016 was a challenging year for retailers. However, the last 5 weeks of the year were successful for the retail industry with overall sales increasing by 1.7% during December. This was a 0.7% increase on the 1% increase of 2015. Retail sales were slow during the whole of 2016 which meant that December was a pivotal month for retail stores.  The Christmas period started off slow for retailers but ended up exceeding expectations. The third week of December generated more sales than the week of Black Friday. During the third week of December, sales increased by 40% from the start of December. Retailers who sold home accessories, beauty products and toys experienced the most success during the festive season. Was your retail store busy during the Christmas period?

During 2016, Online retail sales were rapidly increasing by double digit growth. This constant increase in sales caused people to have high expectations for online retailers in December. However, they were disappointed as December had the third slowest rate of growth during 2016. In December, online sales increased by 7.2%. This was a decrease of 7.9% from 2015 when online sales increased by 15.1%. This was the first growth below 10% since August and was below the annual average growth of 10%. However, December recorded the 2nd highest volume of online sales in 2016. This shows that expectations for December were extremely high. Was your online store busy during December?


Does your restaurant accept contactless cards? The demand for card machines which accept contactless cards has significantly increased. This is because the number of card machines that accept contactless cards in restaurants has increased by 62% during the course of 2016. If your restaurant does not accept contactless cards, you will struggle to generate sales. It is important for you to accept contactless cards in order to attract customers as 15% of customers will choose restaurants who offer contactless payments. 18% of customers will increase their usage of apps when they are ordering or visiting a restaurant during the next year. Do you cater for the millennial generation? 28% of 18- 34 year olds have stated that they are more likely to choose a restaurant who offers the opportunity to pre-order and pay using a mobile application. This shows that if you do not update your payment methods during 2017, you will struggle to gain sales and compete with your competition.

Are you breaking the law? The National Minimum Wage states that employees who are aged 25 and over must be paid at least £7.20 an hour, 21-24 year olds must be paid £6.95 an hour and £5.55 for employees aged 18-20. For 16-17 year olds, the minimum wage must be £4.00 and apprentices must be paid £3.40 an hour. Many hospitality businesses have breached this law by paying their employees less than the minimum wage. As part of the Government’s £1.7 million campaign to ensure that businesses are paying their employees a sufficient wage, the government have recorded the most bizarre excuses from business owners who are not paying their employees a sufficient wage. One business owner stated that their employee was not a good worker so did not deserve to be paid the national minimum wage. Another business owner said that their workers are often on standby when there are no customers in the shop so he only pays them when they are serving a customer. One businessman comically stated that the national minimum wage doesn’t apply to his business. As a hospitality business, you should prepare to pay your employees a higher wage as the national minimum wage will increase again in April 2017. The rate for over 25s will increase to £7.50. Do you have any excuses?

Where do your tips go? Over 50% of customers are reluctant to leave a tip in restaurants just in case the waiting staff do not receive it. The majority of the 19,317 people surveyed stated that the tipping process was confusing and did not know how the money was shared out. 75% of customers did not know how much of a tip they should leave and 75% of over 55s found it hard to leave a tip when using their card to pay their bill. 81% of restaurants stated that they would welcome clearer legislation regarding the distribution of tips. In 2015, the Government proposed for restaurants to be forced to be more transparent over the distribution of tips. The BHA (British Hospitality Association) code of practice implies that restaurants should be more clear on how they distribute service charges and non-cash tips both online and in person. Customers are encouraged to ask the restaurants if they do not understand how the tips are distributed. Do you share your tips fairly?

Has this week been successful for you?




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