Screwfix research reveals that More than half of UK tradespeople (57%) struggle to find skilled labour

  • More than half of tradespeople (57%) struggle to find skilled labour – 37% think apprenticeships are not respected as much as university and 31% believe school leavers are put off by a poor perception of trade careers

Yeovil, United Kingdom, 2017-Dec-04 — /EPR Retail News/ — UK tradespeople are optimistic about the future, with 82% expecting business activity to remain at the same level or grow over the next 12 months, additionally, nearly half (45%) report being busier than last year. However, research conducted by trade retailer, Screwfix, has revealed the majority (57%) are reporting difficulties in recruiting staff to support them. This is primarily due to:

  • a lack of focus on encouraging new people to train in the trades
  • not enough local skilled tradespeople
  • too much red tape.

For those who struggle to recruit skilled employees, more than one third (37%) believe it is because apprenticeships are not given the same level of respect as a university education. Furthermore, 31% say poor public perception of a career in the trade means school leavers are not interested in pursuing a future in construction.

The research, conducted as part of Screwfix Trade Pulse*, a monthly index of more than 500 UK tradespeople, also revealed strong work levels across the trade at the moment, as nearly one fifth (18%) of tradespeople has more work than they can handle and 40% are quoting for more jobs than 12 months ago.

Nearly all (94%) tradespeople said they would recommend a career in the trade and of the reasons why, 85% say they have a strong sense of achievement when a job is done and, 80% enjoy seeing the results of their hard work.

More than half (57%) of those surveyed said they started as apprentices and, when it comes to increasing the numbers undertaking trade apprenticeships, more than one third (35%) believe greater focus is needed on vocational education in schools. More than one quarter (26%) believe improved awareness about the opportunities offered by a career in the trade would drive greater uptake of apprenticeships, with 19% saying that reducing red tape for employers looking to hire an apprentice should be considered.

The research also looked at views around those entering construction at a later stage in their careers. The significant majority (82%) of tradespeople think more could be done to attract people to the trade further into their working lives. More than two thirds (69%) think increasing awareness of the opportunities available would help attract people into the trade and 61% believe greater knowledge of the support available to retrain is also crucial.

Graham Bell, CEO of Screwfix, comments: “When we speak to tradespeople across our 533 stores, they reflect what these findings show us. Tradespeople tell us they have full work diaries but, many struggle to recruit skilled employees when looking to support their growing business so, it is clear that focused efforts are needed to drive recruitment and training into the trades.

“There is much focus on a reported construction skills challenge with various reasons given including loss of talent during the downturn and a lack of new entrants joining the trade. That’s why, now more than ever, all parties including government, suppliers and education providers should work together. It was encouraging to see the investment pledged into improving construction skills by the government in the recent Budget but, collectively, we also need to demonstrate why construction is such a great sector to work in and, help those who may be interested in embarking on a career in the trade to overcome barriers they may face.  We also need to support tradespeople who want to take on apprentices or hire skilled labour to support their business at a time of much opportunity.”

Screwfix supports the trade however it can, so alongside practical support such as opening a store at the rate of one per week, to bring Screwfix even closer, it offers ‘Your Guide to Hiring an Apprentice’, a free, bitesize guide available in stores for those tradespeople who may be looking to take on an apprentice. To further shine a light on those hardworking new entrants to the trade, it also holds an annual Trade Apprentice competition where a £10,000 business start-up kit is up for grabs. Both this award and its Britain’s Top Tradesperson nationwide search showcase what a great career option the trade offers, whether you start out as an apprentice or retrain later in your working life.

In addition, to support skills growth in the construction trade, Screwfix has recently started to work with colleges directly, partnering locally first with Yeovil College. It has invested in the Screwfix Trade Skills Centre, a new purpose-built site for students studying the pilot Screwfix Trade Academy course, which covers bricklaying, plumbing, carpentry and electrical contracting. The first recruits started in September 2017.

Screwfix is also looking at other ways it can support the trade and will be launching further initiatives in the future.

Screwfix Trade Pulse is a monthly index which surveys more than 500 UK tradespeople to track work levels and optimism among the trade.  Nearly 250 tradespeople were also surveyed on special topic areas including skills and availability of labour. The retailer undertakes the research to gain greater insight into the needs of its customers to ensure it provides the services and products required.
PRESS information:

For more information, please contact:

Georgina Lineton
McCann Public Relations
Tel: 0121 713 3579

Source: Kingfisher

New Research: Consumers Expect to Spend $422 on Holiday Gifts in 2016

FSB-Rect-transparent Logo

NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2016 — /EPR Retail News/ — New research undertaken by Fit Small Business has revealed trends around projected holiday spending this year. The study included questions on how much consumers expected to spend, their willingness to shop at small businesses, and reasons they may choose larger companies. The findings identified room for growth in marketing initiatives for the small business space, as well as overall support for local business.

Some of these findings included:

  • 52% of consumers plan to shop the weekend following Thanksgiving. Of those aged 35-54 surveyed, over 60% expect to spend $300 or more on gifts this holiday season.
  • Supporting local business emerged as the #1 reason consumers shop small, with 50% of respondents listing it as a major reason they would do so.
  • However, consumers are unaware of Small Business Saturday: over half (54%) said they had never heard of it, and only 15% said they planned to shop on Small Business Saturday.

David Waring, co-founder of Fit Small Business, commented on the findings, saying, “This research illustrates the work small businesses need to put in to make sure Small Business Saturday is a success for them this holiday season. While consumers are happy to support small, local business, they’re not always aware of initiatives to boost spending here. With marketing strategy from business owners it can be a successful and lucrative holiday season.”

This is a huge marketing opportunity for small businesses: Small Business Saturday offers small businesses the context to encourage consumers to shop small, allowing them to emphasize the most pertinent reason people do so – to support small businesses. The full results of the research can be found here.

For further information, please contact:
Katie Biggs, Digital Marketing
+1 718-709-4697

Fit Small Business: Marc Prosser and David Waring launched Fit Small Business in 2013 to help small business owners navigate the questions and difficulties that arise when running a business. Fit Small Business covers topics ranging from small business financing to managing employees to finding customers and building relationships.

David Waring: David Waring served as a top executive at Forex Capital Markets LLC, which he joined as an initial employee and grew to a publicly traded company with over 700 employees. Since then, David has launched several successful websites including Fit Small Business, which offers small businesses the advice and information they need to make the best decisions possible.

Bose and Currys PC World research reveals top music genre London commuters listen to

Bose and Currys PC World research reveals top music genre London commuters listen to
Bose and Currys PC World research reveals top music genre London commuters listen to


London, 2016-Aug-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — If you thought that your fellow commuters were starting the day with an upbeat dance track, you’d be wrong. New research by Bose and Currys PC World reveals that the top genre to listen to while making your daily commute is Rock, with 19% of Londoners choosing this type of music.

Trailing closely behind is Pop music (16%) beating out both RnB (10%) and House/Techno (7%). Perhaps surprisingly, Classical music (7%) ranks higher on the chart than Hip Hop/Rap (5%), Drum n Bass (4%), and Reggae (3%).

In terms of most popular artists, Beyonce reigns over the charts, followed by Rihanna and Drake for joint second, and Katy Perry in third. London it seems has fallen out of love with its own artists, with Adele the only London-born artist to make it in the city’s top 5 artists.

Looking more closely at favourite artists per genre reveals Drum n Bass lovers prefer Rudimental, Jazz listeners tune into Amy Winehouse, and fans of Indie music rate the Arctic Monkeys.

So if you’re intrigued to know if Adele or Skepta is top of your fellow passengers’ playlists, check out our infographic below. It’s jam-packed with interesting stats and facts about London’s music tastes.


Dixons Retail switchboard on 0844 800 2030
Carphone Warehouse switchboard on 0370 111 6565

Source: DixonsCarphone


NCR and Wells Fargo to cooperate on research and development in ATM and retail banking customer experience

Wells Fargo to tap dedicated NCR R&D resources for reimagined ATM and banking store customer experiences

DULUTH, Ga., 2016-Jul-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) today announced a collaboration agreement with Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) to drive unparalleled consumer innovation and dramatically reinvent self-service technology in Wells Fargo’s retail stores.

As part of the agreement, NCR and Wells Fargo will establish a team, focused on research and development in ATM and retail banking customer experience, to create the next generation of technology that drives customer engagement.

NCR’s rich heritage in designing end-to-end solutions that drive seamless omni-channel distribution for customers in a number of industries, combined with Wells Fargo’s leadership in delivering unparalleled omni-channel experience, promises best-in-class customer service options across store, ATM, digital and contact center channels.

“Aligning our development strategy with NCR allows us to shape the future of technology in our stores and ATMs to benefit Wells Fargo customers,” said Jonathan Velline, head of ATM Banking and Store Strategy for Wells Fargo. “We have a long history of innovation, and we expect this collaboration with NCR to add to our legacy, deliver the next generation of technology in our physical channels and further enhance customer experience.”

Over the past eight years, NCR and Wells Fargo have worked together to bring a number of industry-leading technologies to life. These technologies range from cash- and check-processing innovations to high-touch concierge solutions delivered through self-service devices, to next-generation materials that improve the longevity and usability of the physical channels.

This agreement builds on that heritage of collaborative innovation and expands the relationship to a more strategic level, co-locating team members from both companies to develop the technologies that will shape the future of retail banking stores and ATMs. It reflects a shared commitment to design and deliver delightful consumer experiences at every touchpoint, and embodies the mission of the NCR CxBanking solution framework: to enable financial institutions to connect and transact seamlessly with the consumers and small businesses who require their services.

“Wells Fargo is one of the most innovative banks globally, and our work with them has created breakthroughs in amazing, personalized customer experiences,” said Bill Nuti, Chairman and CEO, NCR Corporation. “In addition, Wells Fargo will have access to our global innovation community, customer engineers and executive leadership to provide support in Wells Fargo’s lab. Through this relationship, we’ll work hand-in-hand to drive market-leading efficiencies, greater solution quality and improved speed-to-market.”

About NCR
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a leader in omni-channel solutions, turning everyday interactions with businesses into exceptional experiences. With its software, hardware and portfolio of services, NCR enables more than 550 million transactions daily across retail, financial, travel, hospitality, telecom and technology, and small business. NCR solutions run the everyday transactions that make your life easier.

NCR is headquartered in Duluth, Ga., with over 30,000 employees and does business in 180 countries. NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.  All other trademarks or registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.

NCR encourages investors to visit its website, which is updated regularly with financial and other important information about NCR.

Twitter: @NCRCorporation

Investor Contact
Gavin Bell
NCR Corporation

Media Contact:
Scott Sykes
NCR Corporation

Source: NCR Corporation

Accenture research: retailers’ inflexible operating models are hindering their ability to be competitive and achieve growth

NEW YORK, 2016-Jul-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — New research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) shows that retailers’ inflexible operating models are hindering their ability to be competitive and achieve growth. The findings highlight the need for retailers to become more agile – constantly learning about their customers and flexing to deliver relevant, engaging and useful interactions with consumers.

The research, Increasing Agility to Fuel Growth and Competitiveness, surveyed 700 executives across 13 industries in nine geographies about the challenges and opportunities associated with creating cost-competitive operating models and reinvesting in growth. Accenture also polled retail industry analysts on the industry environment and retailers’ performance, as well as their view of these challenges and opportunities.

The research found that the majority of retailers (88 percent) are focused on getting leaner to free up the funds necessary to reinvest in growth. When it comes to reinvesting those cost savings, most retailers see investing in digital and entering new markets as keys to driving growth. This is consistent with where industry analysts see growth opportunities. Just over half of retailers (52 percent) strongly feel their businesses are investing in innovation in order to gain a competitive advantage with primary areas of focus being expanding into new geographies (cited by 60 percent), digital technologies (54 percent) and enhancing customer experiences (52 percent).

“The retail industry is evolving faster than ever, and there are tremendous opportunities for retailers to increase adaptability and competitiveness,” said Courtney Spitz, managing director in Accenture Products’ Retail Practice. “It is encouraging that the majority of retailers are willing to use new business models, including partners for business services, shared services, and digital solutions, to drive value and growth. Digital – when part of the overarching business strategy – can simultaneously enhance flexibility and reduce operating costs as well as contribute to growth in new markets and channels.”

Opportunities to Achieve Growth
According to Accenture’s research, retailers see inflexible operating models as a core challenge, with only 17 percent (compared to 25 percent of other industry respondents) saying they have an agile operating model that can adapt to consistently deliver on strategy and execute activities that drive value for the organization. Barriers to advancing their operating models, according to retail executives surveyed, include technology (cited by 46 percent), the cost of the effort (42 percent) and experience to lead the transformation (42 percent).

The research also reveals that retailers are further challenged when it comes to executing cost reduction programs and prioritizing growth investments. Only 38 percent of retail executives surveyed said their companies are prioritizing reinvestment of cost savings in alignment with the business strategy, indicating they are likely weakening efforts and slowing progress.

How to Become an Adaptive Retailer
In order to achieve the adaptability necessary to spur and sustain growth, Accenture recommends retailers take the following three actions:

  1. Rethink the operating model: Digitizing operations and ensuring operating models are fully digital-centric will help enable adaptive retailing, reducing the lead time from product planning to sales, and in turn fuelling growth. Taking it a step further, operating in the cloud will grant businesses access to additional information and technologies.
  2. Make “digital inside” a key element of the business strategy: Digital should be infused in retailers’ core business strategy to help reduce operating costs and increase agility. Digital enhances retailers’ ability to gain and use customer insights to other personalized omni-channel experiences that seek to address customer needs. To be digital inside, retailers should embed analytics everywhere, enable talent with digital tools and adopt multi-speed IT, among other tactics.
  3. Gain everyone on board: Success boils down to leadership support, change management and governance. Retail businesses need to make sure leadership is aligned – from using data to support business decisions, to fully communicating the business strategy, value drivers and anticipated outcomes. Retailers should also organize a dedicated transition team throughout the transformation to becoming an adaptive retailer.

Accenture conducted quantitative and qualitative research across 700 executives in 13 industries and nine geographies to analyze the challenges and opportunities associated with creating cost-competitive operating models and reinvesting in growth. In parallel, Accenture interviewed 65 industry analysts across these industries to understand what external stakeholders measure, value and expect from the companies they cover.

About Accenture
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions – underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network – Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With more than 375,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at


Aleks Vujanic
+ 44 7500 974 814

Source: Accenture

Argos research reveals Irish shoppers still favour quality in store experience

-Over a third (33%) of Irish consumers visit their high street/town centre frequently compared to 9.4% who frequently shop on tablet
– 2016 Irish consumers are bargain hunters and opportunistic – 63% love the thrill of finding a bargain
– It appears Irish mammies don’t know best with only 13% of people trusting their mother’s opinion when shopping
– Some of the top factors for Irish consumers when spending money include value for money and good customer service
– Two thirds of Irish homes contain an Argos catalogue

Milton Keynes , 2016-Jul-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — This year marks the 20th anniversary of Argos in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish shopper first experienced the catalogue giant on 21 January, 1996 when stores opened at Mary Street and Nutgrove in Dublin and Cruises Street in Limerick. 4 more stores followed that year. Over the years, 34 additional Argos stores opened across the country – much to the delight of the Irish consumer. Argos’ journey in the Republic of Ireland began as a brand new shopping experience for the Irish consumer and in the last 20 years, the brand has become a leading retailer in the toys, technology and home/furniture categories.

According to independent research commissioned by Argos and released today, Irish shoppers remain traditional, favouring a quality in store experience. The idea of popping into stores on high street/town centre is still a preferred way to shop in Ireland, with over a third (33%) of people surveyed visiting regularly, compared to 9.4% who shop often on their personal tablet and 16% who shop regularly on their mobile phone.

Irish people are warming to the concept of digital shopping as their interest in ‘Check and Reserve’ and online reviews demonstrate. However, 88.3% of people will choose in store shopping services. This cohort quoted viewing products in real life and visiting the high street to socialise with friends as reasons why they continue to favour in store. Interestingly, reserving products online but completing the purchase in store was also important to this group. This combined with the presence of the Argos catalogue in two thirds of Irish homes details that traditional services remain number one with Irish shoppers.

When choosing where to spend their money, the top factors Irish consumers consider are:
– Good level of customer service in store
– Ability to view products in store
– Quick and convenient service
– Value for money
– Large selection of products on special offer

Whilst the Argos brand seems to be ticking all the boxes and is trusted by the Irish consumer, the research has revealed some interesting insights around Irish people’s trust in each other. When it comes to shopping, mum doesn’t always know best with only 13% stating that they would trust their mum to help them. Similarly, only 17% admit that impulse purchasing drives their shopping habits, again suggesting that Irish consumers may know exactly what they want!

Andy McClelland, Operations Manager, Argos Republic of Ireland said “Argos has been at the forefront of Irish retail for 20 years, serving and responding to the needs of the Irish consumer. The research we have revealed today details that we know the Irish consumer inside out and have done since our arrival here in 1996. We understand the Irish consumer’s desire to research their purchases well in advance and we champion their innate love of a bargain.

Our catalogues are still a favourite in Irish homes and in 2015, over 1 million Argos catalogues were sought by Irish consumers. It is also evident that our services such as Check and Reserve and Online Reviews are very important to the Irish consumer with over a third (37%) of those surveyed reading reviews online before making a purchase and similarly, close to three in ten people (29%) appreciate being able to reserve a product online before picking up in store.

It has been a pleasure for Argos to serve the Irish shopper for the last twenty years and grow to be a leader in the toys, technology and home and furniture categories here in Ireland. We look forward to continuing to innovate in response to their needs.”

The research has detailed that the Irish consumer in 2016 is a bargain hunter and opportunistic when they spend their money – 63% love the thrill of finding a bargain. Women appear to be the biggest bargain hunters, with 72% saying that they love the thrill of finding a bargain, compared to around half (53%) of Irish men.

When it comes to the increasingly popular Black Friday Sale phenomenon, men are leading the way. The research indicates that this calendar shopping day is much more popular with Irish men, 30% of men have bought tech from Argos in Black Friday sales in the last two years compared to just 20% of women. Over a third (37%) have bought products from Argos in the last two years on a Black Friday sale indicating that in-store offers still lead the way with Irish shoppers.

On average, people in Ireland own 15 products from Argos – including the home & furniture range as well as technology, garden, toys and sports & leisure detailing that Argos is still top of its game, 20 years on. This is unsurprising when we consider that Argos provides a product range of over 25,000 items.


t: 0845 120 4365

Source: Argos

New Research Reveals That 31 Million (73%) Shoppers Are Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands By Opting For Supermarket Own Brand Labels In Order to Save Money

As food price increases start to slow down, it’s not just the supermarkets that are busy battling the pricing war. New research from reveals that 31 million (73%) shoppers are taking matters into their own hands by opting for supermarket own brand labels in a bid to save money on the weekly shop. This figure has tripled since August 2008 when just a quarter (25%) of shoppers were ditching premium labels to lighten the financial load of the weekly trolley dash.

Much of this increase can be attributed to supermarkets expanding their own brand products in a bid to stop consumers switching to cheaper chains. This includes the launch of the Waitrose ‘Essentials’ own label range, Tesco’s ‘Discounter’ range and Sainsbury’s ‘switch and save campaign’ which calculates own brand savings. Not only has this activity secured repeat visits from existing customers, according to the recent TNS Worldpanel report it has also slowed the rapid growth of overseas competitors such as Aldi, Iceland and Lidl over the past few months.

Overall, this research has revealed that nine out of ten (90%) UK adults now use recession-busting shopping strategies when they do the weekly shop. Money off vouchers have also reached the top of the shopping list with the number of frugal consumers’ regularly using these has also shot up to 74%, compared with 26% last year. In addition, a fifth of shoppers (20%) now compare prices online before taking a trip down the aisles, this has more than tripled from just 6% in August 2008.

When it comes to shopping online 6.4 million consumers now claim to avoid the hustle bustle of their local supermarket by carrying out their weekly food shop online. Again, this has tripled from just 5% of consumers in August 2008. In fact, this is becoming so popular with consumers, industry commentators predict that the value of online food sales could hit £8 billion by 2011.

These recessionary cut backs could also have positive lifestyle implications for many savvy shoppers as they revert to the good life. Almost a fifth of consumers have now taken to growing their own fruit and vegetables, up from just 8% in August 2008. This has created a waiting list for allotments across the country amongst those who do not have the option at home. Just this week, Tesco has applied for planning permission to create allotments for rent at its Dobbies Garden Centre – they also plan to sell allotment starter kits.

As a result of ‘pinching the pennies’ becoming very much the new ‘splashing the cash’, figures suggest supermarkets may turn out to be one of the few winners in the recession. For example, Morrisons has just surprised the market with an unscheduled trading update indicating full year profits would be £70 million ahead of expectations. Share prices in Sainsbury’s and Tesco have also experienced a rise.

Rumina Hassam, personal finance expert at, says: “In the face of uncertain economic forecasts, continued volatility in the housing market, and worrying increases in national unemployment, Brits are making savvy cutbacks to their fundamental spending routine to beat the recession at its own game.

“The number of Brits making basic changes to their weekly food shopping patterns has increased dramatically since last year, as the effects of the recession continue to amplify. However, despite the economic outlook remaining uncertain, consumers may find they have the last laugh – as the lessons learnt from the schooling in savviness they are currently experiencing as a result of the recession will remain vital, even long after the economy recovers.”

About uSwitch: is a free, impartial online and telephone-based comparison and switching service, helping consumers compare prices on gas, electricity, water, heating cover, home telephone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones, personal finance products and car insurance.

Via EPR Network
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