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IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016: The Event

Creative Class 2016
  • 11 Jul

Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016: The Event

Last week Retail Assist was named one of Nottingham’s Creative Class 2016! This means we have been recognised as one of ten Nottinghamshire companies highlighted for their growth, innovation and creativity. Nottingham Means Business hosted an unveiling event for the 10 winning businesses, on the evening of Thursday 7th July at the Nottingham Contemporary, and we wanted to give you an insight into the evening. After some initial official photography, the evening began with drinks and canapes.  Following this our Head of Project Services, Kevin Greathead, graced the stage for a question and answer session, where he told fellow Creative Class and Nottingham Means Business members about Retail Assist’s journey as a business. Here’s some of his answers and discussion that took place on the stage: What do Retail Assist do? “We’re all about supporting retailers/hospitality operators and managing IT services for them, allowing them to be innovative and push through with their business and customer growth plans. We originally started with a small office in Bingham, and now have 6 different sites over the UK.” “We play the part of the glue between the retailer/hospitality operator and technology. Retail Assist was created in 1999 because we recognised a niche in the market, where retailers needed someone to help implement their IT systems quickly and cost effectively.” Innovation “Retail and hospitality are fast paced industries. As the market moves faster, we want to help develop systems to keep this pace, and innovation is really key to us. For example, we work with a company called Shutl, who offer 90 minute delivery for online retailing. As retailing never stops, we are supporting retailers 24x7x365.” Internationalisation “We support 8,100 outlets across the globe and 1/3 of our Help Desk team speak foreign languages. We’re talking to people in their languages as we know it is key to give them the right support when they need it. Karen Millen use our Help Desk’s specialist French language support, and experienced a 55% reduction in average call resolution time as a result.” Experience “We are a real advocate of trying to work with retailers in the city. For example, we’ll have people from our Help Desk go to Pizza Hut restaurants to work with the store teams, to see how they do things. It helps educate our team to give them front line experience, whilst creating great relationships with our customers.” Following Kevin’s session on stage we heard from the other 9 members of the Creative Class, and it was inspiring to hear such positive stories of growth and innovation coming from the city. Thank you to Nottingham Means Business and the Creative Quarter for this fantastic recognition. We look forward to the year ahead as part of Nottingham’s Creative Class. Should you want to hear more of our story and how we are providing support to leading retail and hospitality businesses just get in touch on 0115 904 2777 or info@retail-assist.co.uk. The Usual Suspects… L-R Alex Broxson – Head of Marketing, Kevin Greathead –…
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The Pud Store
  • 2 Apr

“The proof is in the puddin”: local independent retailer The Pud Store is taking the high street by storm

First published April 2015 There’s a new kidswear retailer in town, and it’s expanding its high street stores at a fantastic rate in the East Midlands area. The Pud Store, set up by Frances Bishop, sells an exclusive range of designer brand and boutique childrenswear at fantastic outlet prices. Featured recently in Drapers, and with the Drapers Independent and Nottingham Post Business Awards firmly in their sights, they sure have successes to shout about. Given that Retail Assist began in 1999 working with high street childrenswear retailer, Adams, we wondered how much the business start-up experience has changed in this sector over the last 15 years, and the secret to Pud’s success. Q: Latest high street reports unfortunately didn’t bear positive news, with store closures totalling 16 a day as consumers shopping online challenge the relevance of the physical store. But it couldn’t be more different for Pud! As you continue to expand your business, what is it that keeps the customers coming through Pud’s doors? A: We opened in Nottingham as a pop-up on Bridlesmith Gate, which was a prime location to get us noticed and on the map as a new business. With a loyal customer base, now that we’ve moved to Flying Horse Walk, the boutique feel and more relaxing arcade location aligns really well with the brand. We actually began the business online in January 2014, but felt that we needed a physical store in order to engage better with our customer. The brands we were buying in were relatively unknown at the time, so we wanted to put them in front of the customer in order for them to feel the quality. The unique in-store experience we offer at Pud is what we attribute our high street success to, as well as stocking some amazing brands such as Lilly & Sid (that we won exclusivity to trade over TK Maxx!), Bea Cadillac, Ben Sherman, French Connection and Converse. Q: What is it that’s setting you apart from other childrenswear retailers out there? What do your customers really value about Pud? A: You’ve got to really know your customer to do well on the high street, and we are designed with mothers in mind! Our feeding room has been praised as a bit of a haven, where mothers can relax and feed their little ones in a comfortable environment. The store is also designed clutter-free in order to allow pushchair room, and a relaxed space to browse. We’ve also had a lot of customers commenting on how practical the kids play area and child friendly décor is: there’s no worries if the kids get carried away colouring, they can even write on the chalk walls. Shopping with children shouldn’t have to be stressful and rushed, and in our stores we try our very best to facilitate an easy and enjoyable experience, that is memorable and ‘stand-out’ enough to ensure repeat custom. Q: So, a store in Doncaster, Nottingham and Radcliffe; are there any more exciting plans…
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  • 19 Jan

Retail Christmas Round-Up

Following on from our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson’s, feature on BBC Radio Nottingham, we wanted to provide a round-up of shopping habits around the Christmas period. If you would like to hear the full feature with our Head of Marketing, Alex Broxson, who was on BBC Radio Nottingham on Friday 9th January you can catch up here. Her feature begins 52mins and 25secs in to the Mark Dennison show. So after all the presents were opened and crackers had been pulled did people end up hunting out the bargains and shopping on Boxing Day – or did Black Friday dominate the Christmas shopping season? Black Friday is the day that immediately follows the American holiday, Thanks Giving, which falls every 4th Thursday in November. It is also the unofficial kick off of the retail Christmas shopping season. Read more about Black Friday here. Trading during the season was good for most retailers, with retail performance up across the board. Sales growth has also been up with the largest recorded overall trading spend in the past 27 years, with retail sales exceeding £100bn states IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Index reveals. This kicked off with Black Friday which saw an amazing £810m retail spend in just one day. Was it the amazing bargains that drove us to spend on Black Friday? Although there were some great bargains to be had, people’s mentality towards sale shopping seems to have changed. Shoppers are now looking to get pre-Christmas gift deals through Black Friday promotions. Post-Christmas may be the time to then purchase items at lower prices for themselves, and an opportunity for retailers to clear out their Christmas stock for the arrival of their Spring/Summer deliveries. Black Friday sales certainly dominated over Boxing Day this year, with a spike in sales concentrated at the end of November. This saw December sales increase by only 5% year-on-year, which was the lowest recorded growth in the Index for this period. However all was not lost on Boxing Day as the average family still spent £650 in the 12 days after Christmas until January 5th, according to analysis by First Direct. As a whole the increase in retail spend has been bigger and better than ever before throughout the Christmas period. It was surprising to note two especially strong performers from two very different ends of the retail spectrum, including; luxury brand, Fortnum and Mason and discount store, Pound Stretcher – both recording their most successful Christmas’ to date. The most successful retailer over the Christmas period was Ao.com with a 38.0% increase in total sales. John Lewis commented that Black Friday whilst having its obvious advantage also has a down side. With such a high trade volume on one day, ensuring that the correct logistic and supply chain solutions are in place and are working accurately is imperative. With an omnichannel approach retailers can not only take advantage of customers shopping in-store but also online, via whichever channel is most convenient for them; but again if…
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Emmanuel House
  • 12 Jan

We gave Emmanuel House a ‘Cup of Kindness’ for Christmas

Founded in 1976 Emmanuel House was established to support homeless, vulnerable and isolated adults in and around Nottingham. They provide services that meet the basic needs of the individuals who visit them, also providing support and advice to help those individuals feel empowered and able to start making positive changes in their lives. Having recently launched their ‘Cup of Kindness’ appeal Emmanuel House aims to raise more than they did last year and still have a way to go before they achieve the £40,000 milestone. As a local Nottingham company we wanted to contribute towards this extremely worthwhile cause. It is more prevalent than ever, especially during the winter months and Christmas period to be able to provide visitors to Emmanuel House with food, drink, shelter and support. This winter Emmanuel House is expecting a higher demand for its services and will need to increase funding to be able to respond to service user’s needs. The charity serves an average of 80 hot meals every day and also manages the emergency accommodation Winter Shelter for rough sleepers between November and February. The winter shelter provides approximately 22 beds per night to rough-sleeping individuals. Individual needs are assessed at Emmanuel House where, if necessary people are referred to temporary accommodation which is often provided in local church halls. We held numerous activities over the Christmas period in a bid to raise as much money as possible. Through the sale of raffle tickets, Christmas jumper days, an office quiz and much more, we are pleased to announce that we raised enough money to contribute half the total cost for Christmas Day at Emmanuel House. This money will pay towards, Christmas food, a small gift for service users and decorations – all in a bid to make the day slightly better for individuals visiting Emmanuel House on Christmas Day. Alan Morris, our Executive Chairman concludes; “With no statutory funding Emmanuel House rely purely on donations to fund them and enable them to continue with the amazing work they are doing. The service they provide is never more important than in the winter, providing much needed services and support to the homeless and vulnerably housed in Nottingham.”…
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  • 28 Oct

Retail Assist takes part in Robin Hood Day

Everyone has heard of Robin Hood, Nottinghamshire’s most famous heroic outlaw and the world’s favourite folk hero. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor alongside his band of Merry Men, his adventures have been retold down the generations, from medieval ballads to Hollywood blockbusters. So this weekend, when Nottingham hosted ‘Robin Hood Day’, as a local Nottingham business we just knew we had to get involved. The Robin Hood Marketing Committee, made up of members from the city and county councils and Experience Nottinghamshire, as well as Robin Hood enthusiasts, decided to set up the event on 25th October to help promote the county’s legendary figure. The idea behind this was that the local community and businesses across Nottinghamshire would get involved, from theming menus to getting dressed up as Robin Hood, becoming an annual event. Tony Bates, a committee member has been instrumental in organising the event using social media to not only advertise the day but also helping to gain interest and traction with local businesses. Tony who also got involved by donning a green outfit himself, commented; “One of our focuses is to claim back Robin Hood for Nottingham. We want a day where people can have fun and celebrate our local legend.” It was nice to see other local businesses getting involved, such as McDonald’s at Exchange Walk’s and their Robin Hood themed tree and also the butchers at the Victoria Market were some of our favourites. We were really excited to get involved and enjoyed getting some pictures on the roof of the Retail Assist building with Nottingham Castle in the background, we also paid the Robin Hood statue a visit. Here at Retail Assist we are an award winning retail IT services and solutions provider. Offering IT support through a dedicated 24/365 service desk, data centre, remote monitoring, supply chain solution and project services. Retail Assist can support multichannel retailers’ head offices, supply chains, websites and stores. If you are interested in our IT systems and support services you can visit our website: www.retail-assist.co.uk or get in touch, email: info@retail-assist.co.uk and telephone: 0115 853 3910. Also keep up to date with our latest news by searching ‘RetailAssist’ on Twitter and Instagram. It was a really great day and anything we can do to help raise awareness not only of Robin Hood, but also Nottingham… sign us up.…
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  • 29 Jul

Fashion Fit For A Prince

Superman logo print baby-grow | Ralph Lauren anchor chino shorts | Petit Bateau knitted cardigan Little Marc Jacobs turn-up chino trousers | Hug Me three-piece | My First Levi’s jeans Last Monday was a big day for the UK, and a big day for retail in turn. With the arrival of the third in line for the British throne – the very cute Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge – came the question on every fashion retailers lips: What will he be wearing? If his mother’s style is anything to go by, the answer could be found on the high street. Personally, we think the new Prince would look very stylish in our picks, above, but can also see him dressed to the nines in everything from Morrisons Nutmeg (for play dates) to Prada (for formal occasions.) Additionally, we already know that the Duke and Duchess aren’t adverse to supporting small scale indie stores, with Prince George’s first appearance being made in a £45 shawl from a firm in our home town of Nottingham, so wouldn’t be surprised if affordable fashion is high on the agenda – a move that would be very good for the British high street and, in turn, the British economy. What do you think to the styles we’ve chosen? How would you dress the royal baby?…
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  • 29 May

The #Nottingham Retail Scene

Today is the day that Nottingham will *hopefully* be trending on Twitter, thanks to the organisers of ‘Get Nottingham Trending Day’: http://www.getnottinghamtrending.co.uk/ and support of the local community. Having a Head Office based in Nottingham, we at Retail Assist already know that the city is a premier shopping destination. After all, many of our customers have standalone stores here, including: Coast, Jane Norman, Karen Millen, Oasis, Paperchase, Reiss, Warehouse, Whistles, The White Company and White Stuff. Others, such as Jacques Vert, Mint Velvet, Planet, Precis, SuperGroup, Tec7, Windsmoor and World Duty Free have concessions in Nottinghamshire. It goes without saying that everyone at Retail Assist is a fan of these retail outlets; so I wanted to find out which other retail destinations in Nottingham were popular. Below are some responses from the Retail Assist team: Alan Morris – Executive Chairman In my opinion the best shops in Nottingham are John Lewis, due to its product range and diversity; and Lakeland for its customer service.   Alex Ievins – Head of Marketing My favourite shops are firstly Sugar Cane – Nottingham’s finest pick n mix sweet shop – and of course TK Maxx.   Borys Krywyj – Head of Sales Hugo Boss has well integrated CRM. Weavers – a local wine shop – has excellent customer service. My favourite furniture shop is Raspberry Village. Emily Harrison – Help Desk Call Handler A good shop is The Tokenhouse, which stocks lovely quirky presents.   Fiona Holmes – Head of Commercial Management Marks and Spencer has great customer service – recently I ordered a linen basket online to collect in store. The sales assistant saw that I was pregnant and arranged for a male colleague to carry it to the office for me. Helen Simmons – Systems Analyst The Marks and Spencer food hall is great as you get served fast at lunchtime, even with a big queue. Also there are always plenty of staff at Clarks shoes and sizes are usually in stock or can be ordered in a short time. Finally, there are lots of bargains to be had at New Look during sale time. Rumyana Topliyska – Contracts Administrator I enjoy shopping at Holland & Barrett, the other shop where I could spend more than an hour is Home Sense. What do you love about Notts? Tweet us your answers at @RetailAssist.…
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  • 28 May

Retail Assist Loves #Nottingham

Tomorrow, a campaign has been organised to get Nottingham trending on Twitter. This idea was generated up to raise awareness of the city: http://www.getnottinghamtrending.co.uk/. As Retail Assist’s Head office is based in the centre of Nottingham, we thought it would be a nice idea to get involved. Personally, one of my favourite things about being based in the city centre is the ability to go out clothes shopping during my lunch break – I’m not sure my bank manager agrees however! I also wanted to find out what some of the team thought about living and working in Nottingham. Below are their responses to the question “What do you love about Nottingham?” Alan Morris – Executive Chairman – The city’s potential. – Activities: Great sports facilities and the organisation of amateur provisions. Alex Ievins – Head of Marketing – The busy atmosphere. – Activities: I love the amount of woodland near where I live and the ability to get out running and biking. – Restaurants: Tarn Thai, Tamatanga, Jamie’s Italian and Browns. – Bars: Tilt, Tantra, Saltwater. Borys Krywyj – Head of Sales – Park: Wollaton Park. – Best Architecture / Buildings: Watson Fothergill buildings dotted around the city. – Pub: The Bread and Bitter on Mapperly top. – Sandwich Bars / Cafés: Brown Bettys and Philpotts. – Restaurant: Bar Iberico. Emily Harrison – Help Desk Call Handler – Park: University Park. – Activity: Wollaton Park’s Splendor Festival. – Getting around: Good transport links to London, Manchester etc. – Sandwich Bar / Café: Homemade Café. – Bar: Saltwater. – Restaurant: Opium. Helen Simmons – Systems Analyst – Activities: Goose Fair and the summer festival at the Embankment, with fireworks, a market and a fair – Events held in the Market Square: ice rink, Christmas market and the summer beach. – Historic places: The Castle, Wollaton Park, Newstead Abbey, Belvoir Castle. – Entertainment: CapitalFM Arena, Theatre Royal, Concert Hall, Cornerhouse, Showcase cinema. – Getting around: the public transport system is being further improved through the Tram Network being extended. There’s a great canal path to cycle home to Beeston. Rumyana Topliyska – Contracts Administrator – Park: Arnot Hill Park. – Getting around: Nottingham is almost in the heart of England, so it’s a good starting point for short trips / days out. What do you love about Notts? Tweet us your answers at @RetailAssist.…
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