The high street fashion retailer New Look has been struggling lately. The brand’s financial losses are in the millions, while like-for-like sales are down 11%. New Look is having to seek help from a CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement). This rescue plan will help them to save money by focusing on store rent costs. Expensive rent bills for the high street premises are a large contributor to their losses. The company might still be able to climb out of trouble, unlike Maplins and Toys R Us. Both businesses are unable to find buyers to bail them out.
What Will New Look Do to Avoid Administration?
For New Look, the recovery plan involves closing stores that are no longer making a profit. Sixty stores which under-perform are due to close by the end of the year. 393 of the chain’s stores have new lease terms with rent reductions of up to 55%. Together, these measures will help the company to get back on track towards profitability. However, companies like Toys R Us still closed down after attempting CVAs. It’s possible that these actions might not be enough. Executive Chairman Alistair McGeorge says it is a tough but necessary decision.
Why is New Look Closing Stores and Cutting Jobs?
The closure of 60 stores within the next 12 months will be a cause for alarm for employees. These closures put 1,000 jobs at risk. This is a significant amount, as New Look has around 15,000 employees in the UK. Even a cut of 10% of its stores might be too little, though. With almost 600 stores, New Look was already stretching its real estate budget too far. Due to the drop in the pound’s value and wages not keeping up with inflation rates, consumers are not very likely to increase their shopping at New Look just because there are fewer stores.
How Will This Affect Customers and Employees?
The good news for employees at the 60 unlucky stores is that New Look hopes to transfer them to other stores. Rather than surprise 1,000 people with redundancy, the company will look at deploying as many employees as possible to other areas instead. The bad news for customers in these areas is that they will have to travel further if they want to shop at New Look. If shopping in person isn’t so important, customers can still shop online through New Look’s website. The brand will refocus its image on back-to-basics style with a wider appeal.
Thomas Cook has announced new destinations for 2019, including new routes from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and a re-launch of flights to Jamaica in the Caribbean.
The package holiday company has decided to re-launch flights to Jamaica as a result of customer feedback. Flights to Jamaica were previously removed from Thomas Cook’s offerings two years ago. The airline will now offer a weekly flight from Manchester to Montego Bay every Monday, from the 6th May until October 2019. Jamaica is the fourth largest island in the Caribbean and is a popular destination for both families and couples, with all-inclusive hotels offering a slice of luxury in the sunshine. Montego Bay, in particular, is a popular resort for pristine white sand beaches, great diving spots and snorkelling.
For the launch of Summer 2019, there are new flights from Belfast and Cardiff to Tunisia. The airline has also extended its flight offerings from Manchester to Marrakech. For the first time in over 10 years, there will be new routes from Liverpool John Lennon airport to areas in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Canary Islands. The addition of the Liverpool John Lennon Airport provides more choice to customers, with 17 airports to choose from for their summer holiday.
You can book your summer 2019 holiday now, which gives you plenty of time to save up towards it. A spokesperson for Thomas Cook said that the company understands that some people like to travel on the same dates, or to the same hotel each year, so being able to book this early puts them at a serious advantage.
The launch of the Summer 2019 programme comes just after Thomas Cook announced their new buy now, pay later deposit scheme. The new payment plan is designed for customers on a low budget and means that you can book a holiday with £0 deposit. You will then pay the balance using monthly Direct Debit payments. The scheme is available for holidays which are booked at least 14 weeks in advance. The monthly instalment amount will depend on the holiday cost, the date that you booked, the preferred payment date and the departure date.
The price that you pay using the 0% deposit scheme is the same, so there is no extra incentive other than not paying the initial deposit.
Alton Towers has a new ride, Wicker Man, and it’s due to open this Spring. The ride will combine wood and fire for a terrifying experience, and it is the first wooden roller coaster to be built in the UK in over 20 years. The project was led by Great Coasters International, the leading creator of wooden rollercoasters in the world. The ride cost £16m to make and it has taken four years to be completed.
At almost 58 feet tall and with 2,000 feet of wooden tracks, the new coaster is a sprawling, intricately designed ride which is sure to thrill visitors. Until now, we didn’t know much about it, but Alton Towers has now released drone footage of the ride, filmed in the dark in order to show the full effects of the fire and to keep us excited.
Riders will twist and turn through the tracks before passing through a wooden structure on fire, which is half a ram’s head and half a human head. The twelve trains will pass through the tracks three times before coming to a dizzying halt.
A spokesperson for Alton Towers said:
“We are hoping that visitors will be blown away by Wicker Man’s breathtaking size, whilst the primal essence of the wooden coaster and amazing effects will leave them wanting to ride again”
The ride is not based on the 1973 film the Wicker Man, nor the American sequel starring Nicholas Cage. In the original film, a policeman attempts to find a missing girl before realising that the island he is searching for her on, practices pagan rituals. We were first introduced to the idea of the Wicker Man via Alton Tower’s Halloween mazes – one of which focused on a mysterious group of people in the woods.
After the Smiler crash a few years ago, it’s understandable that some visitors will be concerned about safety. However, Alton Towers has stated that not only have they used the latest innovations in safety technology, the ride is also undergoing rigorous testing – which you can see in another video of drone footage released on the Alton Towers Facebook account as part of a live video. Operators will also have to undergo hundreds of hours of training before the ride is open to the public so that visitors can enjoy the ride with the utmost level of confidence.
If you’re looking forward to visiting the park for the Wicker Man ride and you’re hoping for a ticket promotion, you’re in luck. Seabrook Crisps is set to run a promotion on both multipack and single packs of their new Fiery Woodsmoked BBQ flavour, which has been developed specifically for the promotion in mind. The promotion will offer customers 2 for 1 entry, worth up to £55. The flavour is limited edition and will be available from April this year, to coincide with the launch of the ride.
Are you looking forward to riding the Wicker Man coaster?
After consultations on how to improve customer satisfaction for railway passengers last autumn, changes will be coming later this year. More than half of customers aren’t happy with the way that train companies handle their complaints. The introduction of a new rail ombudsman service is going to help commuters get the resolution they deserve. Until now, train passengers with a dispute had to contact the independent watchdog Transport Focus. While Transport Focus can demand a response, they have no legal power to make the train company take action. The customer would have to take the train company to small claims court to get compensation. This obviously causes a great deal of hassle for the individual.
The Trouble with Train Companies
Previously, the only complaint which could result in a refund was a delay. Paying the customer back was at the train company’s discretion, depending on the severity of the complaint. This is still true, but in the last couple of years, the law has changed. Since October 2016, an extension to the Consumer Rights Act allows passengers to claim their money back for other issues. This could be anything from health and safety concerns to staff misconduct or service failures. The problem is that several train companies did not update their complaints or refund processes on their websites. Many customers did not know this new information about their entitlement to a refund and missed out as a result.
Mandatory Scheme Registration
The Office of Rail and Road confirms that when they launch the scheme later this year, all train companies must participate. This regulator of the railways will make registering for the ombudsman a requirement. Having this be a requirement for an operating license will give the ombudsman the power of a statutory body. The ombudsman will be able to make legally binding decisions for railway complaint cases. The Chartered Trading Standards Institute will help to approve and monitor the standards of the scheme. Customers will still have to wait 8 weeks after making a complaint to a train company before escalating to the ombudsman. According to the Office of Rail and Road, this could be sooner in some cases.
How Will a Rail Ombudsman Help?
When it launches, the ombudsman scheme will be able to deliver appropriate responses to customers with complaints instead of just support. The service will be free, and customers can use it to make compensation claims. The Rail Delivery Group is developing the scheme to meet the legal standards of the Ombudsman Association. The ombudsman will improve standards across the rail industry, as its investigations will uncover any failings. The railway companies will have to take action to avoid legal consequences. At the moment, customer surveys show that poor experiences are damaging trust in the companies. The ombudsman will help to restore this trust in the train industry and keep customers using the railways.
TalkTalk Mobile is contacting customers to tell them that they will not renew their contracts when they expire. Now in partnership with O2, TalkTalk Mobile will instead offer customers a discounted O2 contract. TalkTalk intends to close its mobile business to save money, and focus on its broadband services instead. So what does this mean for the 900,000+ SIM customers with TalkTalk Mobile? If you also have TalkTalk broadband, you can get a 25% discount on an O2 bundle. Otherwise, you will have to switch to another provider when your contract ends. TalkTalk Mobile will no longer be an option.
The move to get rid of the mobile platform comes as part of an effort to overhaul TalkTalk. Previously, TalkTalk relied on Vodafone as a mobile network operator since 2010. Last summer both TalkTalk and Vodafone were among the telecoms companies customers complained about the most. According to Which? TalkTalk has been voted the worst internet service provider in the UK five times in a row.
With this track record, the company desperately needs to shake things up. Apparently, TalkTalk believes the answer is scrapping TalkTalk Mobile. A spokesperson said that the agreement with O2 is great news for TalkTalk Mobile customers. They will now have access to a wider range of 4G services for great value. Shifting Mobile customers to O2 will also allow TalkTalk to invest more time and money into improving the landline, broadband, and TV services on its fixed network.
With the closure of TalkTalk Mobile, customers have few choices. If they take the offer and switch to a discounted O2 tariff, they still have to keep TalkTalk broadband. Alternatively, customers can choose to switch to a different mobile provider entirely. They could still keep a TalkTalk package of other services such as broadband if they chose to. However, the attraction of “quadplay” services is the convenience of not having separate bills.
In withdrawing from the quadruple play market, TalkTalk might lose some of its customers. Additionally, the hassle involved in changing providers might not make staying worth it. Either way, even if they accept the O2 offer, customers will have to get a new SIM and request a PAC code to keep their TalkTalk phone number. As they will effectively be O2 mobile customers, they will have to contact O2 with any problems. If they are still on TalkTalk broadband, they will have to deal with separate customer services all the time.
What Should TalkTalk Mobile Customers Do?
TalkTalk states that business will continue as usual for Mobile customers until their contract runs out. The company will contact every customer in advance to offer them the O2 deal. At the moment, there is no cut-off date which customers have to make a decision by. Even the O2 deal is liable to change, so while it is currently 25% off, this isn’t a permanent discount. For this reason, TalkTalk Mobile customers might be better off looking for a deal elsewhere.
Since switching mid-contract incurs termination fees, even if it’s to O2, customers should wait until their contract is about to end. Around this time, take a look at the packages and prices available across multiple mobile providers to compare them. Sale prices often change throughout the year and only last for a fixed term. Just because it’s cheaper for the first year doesn’t make it worth it to have to switch providers again later. Customers should also take into account local network coverage, customer service quality, and any other incentives before choosing a provider.
Happy New Year, railway commuters! Your travel costs just went up again. Unions and Labour politicians are protesting this increase in train fares at around 40 stations across the country today. As of the beginning of the year, average train fares increased by 3.4%, with season ticket costs rising by 3.6%. This is above the consumer price index inflation rate and the biggest increase in train fares since 2013.
Many commuter routes have increased by over £100 a year, such as Maidenhead to London and Liverpool to Manchester. For many people, train fares pushing up to £4,000 a year are just too much. Plenty of commuters to London are searching for new jobs outside the city to avoid these high transport costs. Even with lower wages outside the capital, workers will still save money without the expensive train journeys.
Protesting the “Pricing Off” of Commuters
The general secretary of the Rail, Maritime, and Transport Workers Union, Mick Cash, noted that people who rely on trains are being pushed out of using the services by the mounting costs. The union advocates for public ownership of the railways. Privatisation led to poor and unreliable services, with customers still expected to pay more for them.
As a result of the price increase, protests are happening outside major train stations across England and Wales. As today is a bank holiday in Scotland, protests will take place there tomorrow instead. The shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald joined protesters at King’s Cross in London earlier today. In an interview, he pointed out that fares have risen three times faster than wages since David Cameron was first Prime Minister.
McDonald was also meant to speak at a protest in Leeds later today, but was unable to make it after his train ironically broke down. According to reports, train services in the north of England are actually the worst in the country. You might already know this, in the likelihood that National Rail has let you down before.
The Defense of Rising Train Fares
The chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, Paul Plummer, tried to explain the price increases. He said that the fare costs will go towards much-needed upgrades and service improvements. Whereas fares used to cover around half of the cost of running trains, this has also risen. Now 70% of the money to run train services comes from ticket sales.
After “decades of underinvestment” fares are rising to support “massively required” railway developments, according to Plummer. He emphasized this by speaking from London Bridge station, where five newly opened platforms will double the station’s passenger flow. Most of the money from fare increases will go towards multiple projects across the country.
With Christmas creeping up, delivery companies will be feeling the strain this time of year. More and more people are buying their gifts online, relying on the courier chosen by the retailer to deliver their orders in time. Whether ordering presents to their own addresses or sending them to the recipient, customers will expect delivery conditions as promised. However, some couriers frequently let retailers and their customers down. Due to the increase in demand, it’s likely to only get worse at this time of year.
The Problem With Yodel
Despite consistently negative feedback over the last several years, many retailers still use Yodel to deliver their goods. Yodel won the not-so-coveted title of Worst Parcel Delivery Firm in a poll of 11,000 consumers on MoneySavingExpert.com following the Christmas 2016 period. There’s been no end of news coverage for ridiculous scenarios involving incompetent Yodel workers. Sometimes there can be some humour in the situation, like leaving a parcel “under the doormat” as a safe place. Most of the time, customers are left dismayed by the shoddy service, and empty-handed as parcels often go missing.
If the problem is the behaviour of the drivers, then should the company itself be getting all this bad press? Well, yes, because no matter how many customers complain, Yodel does not seem to care. The company doesn’t appear to have made any effort to improve either their delivery services or their hiring and training process. Many people who complain using the customer service helpline feel the response was inadequate. An apology or a bouquet of flowers doesn’t fix a broken or missing item.
Know Your Consumer Rights
So, when Yodel’s delivery service inevitably fails to impress, what do you do? A lot of the time, Yodel refuses to claim responsibility in the case of a missing parcel. If they refuse to help, what you need to remember is that your contract as a customer is actually with the retailer. When the delivery service damages the goods or fails to provide them, the retailer will be liable to refund you or provide a replacement.
The founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Martin Lewis, says customers need to “complain to the retailer and make them justify why they use firms with dire reputations. If they won’t, we must stop buying online from firms using crap services.” However, this isn’t always an option. The specific item you want to buy may only be available from a retailer who uses Yodel. Retailers usually choose Yodel to keep their costs down. Yet in the long run, the amount these companies pay out in refunds and replacements surely must create a loss. Not to mention the poor service putting customers off ordering from them ever again.
Remember that you also have the right to return goods for a refund within the seller’s returns policy. Whether you ordered from Amazon, Argos, Boots, or any other retailer using Yodel, always contact the retailer directly to inform them of your situation. Even if the goods aren’t damaged, but the packaging was, you should still be entitled to some kind of compensation. Sometimes, unfortunately, retailers won’t accept your word that you never received your parcel. If Yodel marked it as delivered, even though there’s no sign of it, you may end up out of pocket.
In the case of a missing parcel and no support from the retailer, you’ll have to escalate your complaints. The website Resolver will give you information on your rights and how to complain to Yodel. If you’re not having much luck, follow MoneySavingExpert’s useful guide for complaints escalation. Even if you end up taking them to small claims court, you deserve compensation. Don’t let careless companies ruin your Christmas! If you need to make a complaint to a delivery service besides Yodel, you can find out how here.
Like most people, you are probably ordering many if not most of your Christmas gifts online this year and it’s almost inevitable that at least one of your Christmas gifts won’t arrive when they are due to leave you very stressed and worried. Below is a list of how to complain and inquire about missing packages with different courier companies.
If your parcel is due to be delivered by Royal Mail and it has not arrived yet you can track your delivery on the Royal Mail website here. If there is no information available when you enter your tracking number or if you didn’t receive a tracking number you should contact Royal mail by phone call on 0844 826 8010 or by filling out the claims form here.
You can also track your parcel if it is being delivered by Hermes as they should also send you a delivery tracking number which you can enter onto the site here. If your parcel hasn’t arrived or it arrived late you can contact Hermes by the online chat option here or by calling 0843 208 2273 to speak to someone from customer services about finding your parcel in time for Christmas.
For parcel that was meant to be delivered with Parcelforce, you can track your parcel here. If you have no luck tracking your parcel it is best you call Parcelforce on 0843 557 4879 to speak to a member of the customer service team about finding your parcel or to ask about receiving compensation for a late or lost parcel. If you would prefer to not talk on the phone to customer services you can contact the customer service team on the help form available here.
As DPD is one of the main courier services, you will most likely end up using it for one of your deliveries this Christmas – if your delivery has not arrived on time or it has not arrived at all you can contact DPD by calling the customer service team on 0843 557 3392 to find out where your parcel may be. If you haven’t already you can try and track your parcel here.
If your parcel has not arrived and it was due to be delivered by UPS you can try to track your parcels whereabouts here or you can directly contact UPS regarding you late or missing parcel by calling 0843 557 3634 to speak to a member of the customer service team about your package. You can also contact them by using the online chat feature here.
If you need to track down your yodel parcel you can do so by entering your tracking code here on the website. Alternatively, if you believe you need to speak to a member of the customer services team regarding your package you can call 0844 556 4733 or use the chat feature on the website here.
Amazon has introduced a new feature to their services that means you’ll never want to shop anywhere else again, since they’re becoming increasingly accessible for every situation. As if it wasn’t already amazingly easy to access your future purchases with Amazon’s same-day delivery, their robot-deliveries and their idea for a click and collect supermarket that removes any need for cash or aisles. And now, they’ve decided to push the boat out even further, and have decided that they want to bring their couriers into your home.
Yep, you read that right – Amazon has decided that nothing would be better for you than if a random member of their courier team would be able to be let into your home to leave your parcel inside whenever you’re not there to collect it yourself. Amazon believes that their new lock-and-camera system can make gaining access to your home while you’re out a lot more secure, so you can always receive your parcels.
Amazon Prime members can buy the Key edition of the Cloud Cam as well as a smart lock for a total of $249 – and it will all be installed for free. When you get one of the locks on your door with the indoor security camera monitoring your doorway, the in-home kit will allow any authorised people into your home.
When Amazon delivery employees arrive at your home they won’t be given a passcode to your home, they will instead have request permission to enter your home. From here, Amazon’s records will verify that their employee is at the right address at the right time, and then by using their encryption process the Cloud Cam will begin recording and your door will be unlocked so that the employee can enter.
Amazon customers will even be able to stay on top of their in-home deliveries with real-time alerts, where they can watch the video of the delivery in real time or after it has been completed.
As well as being able to let Amazon employees enter your home, you can also give your friends and family temporary, recurring or permanent access to entering your home. You’ll also be able to allow other service employees like cleaners, dog walkers and others to enter your home on specific dates and times.
This is just another way Amazon is making it easier for customers to receive their orders in a quick and secure manner. The company has also recently announced Hub, which will be a locker-like system that you can use if you’re living in an apartment complex and want to make sure that all of your parcels are delivered safely and securely.
Amazon Key will be launching on the 8th November 2017, and will initially run through 37 cities in the US, and will work with same-day, one-day, two-day and standard delivery orders.
As we enter the colder half of the year, we start to see the beginnings of Christmas’s emergence, and with that, we see the entrance of beauty advent calendars.
Beauty brands all over start to tease us all by making advent calendars full of tiny versions of their products so that we can fawn over the brands we love every day through December. It is a much-beloved time of the year, and honestly, makes the run-up to Christmas that much more exciting. It’s like when you were excited to eat your chocolate advent calendars as a kid, but now you get to open new products that you can put on your face and body to make you look and feel amazing.
All kinds of brands have jumped on this bandwagon, meaning that there is always a mix of luxury brands mixed in as well as the standard brands you would expect. With this in mind, we decided to compile a list of the best luxury and standard advent calendars that you can purchase this year!
Luxury (over £100)
This is John Lewis‘ first ever beauty advent calendar, and as a start-off point it looks like they’re coming out strong. With 25 items available in the calendar, ranging from brands like MAC, Benefit and even a Hermes fragrance, this calendar could definitely be worth the £149 that John Lewis are asking for. This calendar is available now, so make sure you don’t miss out!
Charlotte Tilbury’s Naughty and Nice Magic Box lets us try out her best-selling products in an adorable travel size version of themselves, meaning that we can get an idea of the products we love before we head out to buy them all in an after-Christmas splurge. This calendar includes 12 items and is available soon for £150.
Selfridges are offering an amazing 24 items in their beautifully designed calendar this year, with a wide range of products from brands like Lancome, Victor & Rolf fragrances and Urban Decay as well so that you can really get a full idea of the products that they work with. Their calendar is currently available and is being sold at £120.
Jo Malone’s advent calendars are always famous for smelling delicious and providing an amazing collection of her fragrances, and this year is no different! The Georgian townhouse-designed calendar will hold 24 items ranging through mini perfumes and body creams in all of our favourite scents. The calendar does come in at the hefty price of £300 and is only sold exclusively in Harrods throughout November until it is released nationwide in November.
Estee Lauder’s impressive calendar includes 25 items this year, with a wide range of drawers in its star-shaped design holding all the best Estee Lauder brands, like Clinique, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown and so on. There have only been 1,000 of these calendars created, so if you want one you’ll have to fight for it! At £125 per calendar, they’re offering a great deal as the collection of products inside are worth around £197. This calendar will be available at the end of October.
Fenwick’s gorgeous advent calendar, with its delicately painted doors, generously includes 25 items that are a mix of bath treats, makeup and skincare. The calendar includes popular brands like Lancome, Nars, Clinique and This Works, and is priced at £150 for sale in mid-October.
Standard (under £100)
The Body Shop
The Body Shop have been incredibly generous with their advent calendar this year, as they have created not just one but three calendars for us to choose from, which means you can decide just how much you feel like treating yourself this year. With the prices for the calendars starting at £45, each calendar includes skincare, bath & body products, fragrances and makeup from The Body Shop. Each version of the calendar will give you the chance to save an amazing amount on the products, with the standard calendar saving you £40, and the luxury option saving £113 from the price you would pay separately in store. The calendars are available for sale now.
Soap & Glory
Soap & Glory’s calendar, which is available for sale in Boots stores, has 24 products for you to test in the lead up to Christmas, and provides items from their makeup and skincare ranges so that you’re looking and feeling good, as well as smelling amazing! The calendar is available now for only £40.
Benefit’s calendar manages to sell out every year that they offer it, as it includes all of the fan favourites that you would be looking for in the calendar. The 12 items that are offered in the calendar include the famous Hoola bronza and their ‘They’re Real’ mascara, as well as a great selection of other products. All of the products sold separately would cost around £76, yet Benefit sell their calendar for £34.50. The calendar will be available to buy on the 12th October.
ASOS’s calendar shows their connections to multiple brands that they sell through their online store, and provides 25 items including products from brands like Zoeva, Smashbox, Cowshed and St Tropez as well as many others. The calendar is available for £55 and can be bought now.
NYX is known for their incredible products at low prices, and this translates into their calendars as well. The calendar includes 24 items and has lipsticks and creams, highlighters and eyeshadows among the products it offers. You can buy the NYX advent calendar now for only £50.
The Amazon Beauty calendar displays all of the impressive brands that Amazon are working with, and has 24 items from brands like Laura Geller, Bourjois and John Freida. As well as typical beauty products, they also have a few bath treats included, and are offering the calendar for only £50. The calendar is available to buy now.
Marks and Spencer‘s advent calendar has 24 items from brands like Eyeko, REN and Rodial, and is designed in a beautiful Christmas display, so you know you’ll be excited for the festive season with this calendar. The calendar is available to buy now for only £35, but all customers have to first spend £35 on clothing or homeware in a Marks and Spencer store first before they can buy the calendar.
Feel Unique’s advent calendar has 12 items from popular brands like NYX, Elizabeth Arden and Jurlique, and will make you ready to go out and shop for full versions of all of the products the minute Christmas is over. The products would cost around £90 in retail prices, but are only £30 when sold in the calendar. Feel Unique’s calendar is available from the 19th October.
From making this list, we’ve had so many ideas about the calendar(s) we want to buy! Let us know which calendar you’re going for, or even if you think we’ve missed a great calendar off our list!