Boux Avenue poaches Ted Baker exec as new marketing chief

Boux Avenue poaches Ted Baker exec as new marketing chief

Boux Avenue
// Boux Avenue hires Ted Baker’s digital officer Jason Beckley as marketing boss
// Beckley was the chief customer, marketing and digital officer since last January

Boux Avenue has poached Ted Baker’s digital officer Jason Beckley as its new chief marketing officer.

Beckley will join the lingerie retailer from Ted Baker, where he has worked as chief customer, marketing and digital officer since last January.

He has held marketing roles at a range of fashion retailers including Clarks, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen and Alfred Dunhill.

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In his new role, Beckley will take responsibility for the development and delivery of Boux Avenue’s brand growth strategy, as well as focusing on customer experience, brand advocacy, and powering sales both in store and online.

Beckley said of his appointment: “Personally, I am really inspired and motivated by what Theo and the team at Boux have built.

“It really is very unique in the retail sector to see such a definitively digital-driven operating model; this will unlock the potential and give us the opportunity to go on and define the category.

“It’s a great privilege to join the group on this exciting journey.”

Boux Avenue chairman Theo Paphitis added: “We are delighted to welcome Jason to Boux Avenue. He brings with him a depth of expertise that will guide the brand through the next phase of its evolution.

“His creativity and deep understanding of marketing and customer acquisition will ensure that Boux’s position in the marketplace, both in store and online, will go from strength to strength.”

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M&S to add more high-street brands online as it looks to rival John Lewis and Next

M&S to add more high-street brands online as it looks to rival John Lewis and Next

M&S is thought to be planning to increase the number of third-party brands it sells to 100 from 60.
// Marks & Spencer will be adding more names to its ‘Brands at M&S’ banner as it looks to rival Next and John Lewis
// Last month the retailer poached Amazon exec Nishi Mahajan to mastermind the strategy

Marks & Spencer is set to launch a major push to sell more high-street brands alongside its own clothes in a bid to entice shoppers away from high-street rivals Next and John Lewis.

According to the Telegraph, the retailer is thought to be planning to increase the number of third-party brands it sells to 100 from 60, with hopes it will significantly boost sales.

It has already started selling clothes from brands including Crew Clothing, Nobody’s Child and Joules alongside its own fashion lines.

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Senior figures believe third-party sales could eventually be as high as £1bn – almost a tenth of total revenues for M&S, which last year posted sales of £10.9bn.

The push into third-party brands is being driven by new hire Nishi Mahajan, who the business poached last month from her role running Amazon’s fashion business.

Part of the growth will be driven by clothing, but M&S is also looking to sell beauty sportswear and homeware brands on its website.

The step-up will mean more investment from M&S into warehouse space, although it is not currently seeking to buy any specific depots.

M&S started selling brands on its website two years ago and has enjoyed significant growth from shoppers looking for high-street names on its site. 

In the three months to the end of December, sales of third-party brands were up 50%.

The push by M&S comes after a similar rollout of more lines on rival Next, which has gone from 500 third-party brands to 1,000 in around three years.

A spokesman for M&S said the company was, however, taking a different approach to Next, and instead was being “very clear that curated choice is key – not a plethora of brands that are hard for our customers to navigate”.

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The next round: Why non-alcoholic distillery Brunswick Aces is eying Europe 

The next round: Why non-alcoholic distillery Brunswick Aces is eying Europe 

Starting in 2017 in a garage in Melbourne’s inner-north, Brunswick Aces has since grown exponentially with its dual offering of gin and non-alcoholic options. The brand has just appointed Gurdeep Dhaliwal as director of global sales – its first senior hire outside Australia and New Zealand – signalling a further emphasis on growth in international areas. He also joins as a shareholder and co-owner. Brunswick Aces already has a presence in the Australasian and North American market. But wit

ut with Dhaliwal based in the UK, the appointment will help to position the organisation to become more involved in the European market over the next few years.

According to co-founder and CEO Stephen Lawrence, the brand – which specialises in non-alcoholic drinks – aims to bring a uniquely Australian offering to the region. Brand director Stuart Henshall also told Inside Retail that the export and international market provides a huge opportunity for the business. 

Henshall said that Brunswick Aces closed a successful fundraising round in December 2022, which secured more than $500,000 for the business. The funding will be allocated to supporting the brand’s expansion into new markets, as well as domestic sales growth. 

He added that its shipments to North America have increased over the last year, with the brand continuing to focus on expansion in the region. 

“Australian food and drink continues to enjoy a stellar reputation on the global stage and we’re excited to be able to represent our distilling industry by exporting to these key markets,” he said.

He added that Brunswick Aces is finalising its entry in the Japanese market, with Europe set to be its next focus, with many countries ranking highly compared to the rest of the world in the consumption of non-alcoholic drinks.

In particular, he noted that Germany, Spain and the UK lead Europe in this area, with the rest of the region continuing to grow at pace.

“Brunswick Aces has a number of unique propositions that it will bring to the European market, [and will offer] some Australian botanicals that aren’t found in the European region,” Henshall said.

No blueprint to follow

According to Henshall, the brand was started by a group of neighbours who loved to share food and drinks together. 

Featuring an engineer and a scientist, the group made gin for a while, under the Brunswick Distillery brand. But a range of personal factors, including a pregnancy and fitness goals, meant that alcohol was off the table. As a result, they decided to make a non-alcoholic gin in order to make everyone feel welcome in social situations.

“From our humble beginnings in a residential street, [we opened] Australia’s first non-alcoholic distillery [and] non-alcoholic bar, [and became] the first distillery globally to introduce zero per cent and 40 per cent alcohol options of the same botanical blends,” he said.

Amid Covid-19 restrictions, the brand expanded its e-commerce presence in order to meet market demand. It expanded from a non-alcoholic sapiir store selling two blends, to a range of beers, wines and spirits that were also available in the bar. Sapiir is the brand’s term for its non-alcoholic gin. 

Its wholesale channel has also grown, with products now available via platforms including Kaddy, Brands on Parade, NOC, and Paramount. Brunswick Aces is also stocked in Dan Murphy’s nationwide, with the brand expanding its gin and sapiir lines through Liquorland and IGA networks, as well as in independent stores.

Henshall added that Brunswick Aces is most popular with females over 30, but the brand targets all demographics. This includes non-drinkers, and people who drink moderately. 

“One of the key learnings we’ve had from running Australia’s first non-alcoholic bar, is that moderat[e drinkers] and consumers are still looking for that elevated experience, where they feel prioritised and not [as] an after-thought,’ he said.

“Our non-alcoholic cocktails are the biggest draw for people to visit us, and we’re pleased to have welcomed everyone from first-dates, to pregnant couples, and older groups who all enjoy sipping on a fresh hand-made cocktail.

“As we [were] the first non-alcoholic distillery and bar space in Australia, there has been no blueprint to follow, so we continue to learn and adapt to ensure we give our customers the best experience.”

High standard

Having already entered the market in Amsterdam and the UK, Brunswick Aces plans to target regions systematically.

In addition to the hire of Gurdeep, the brand is in the process of setting up a regional storage facility in central Europe, which will help to ensure that it can provide timely and effective delivery and support. 

Henshall also said that production is ramping up in Brunswick East to meet increasing demand, with expansion plans in this area set to be completed by the end of 2024.

He noted that the brand has kept its production and quality control in-house, and works directly with its raw materials producers. This, he said, enables for robust quality control and assurance checks at every stage of production.

“From sourcing the best raw ingredients and assessing the quality before they go into the stills, to testing the liquid before and after the bottling process, we can ensure that everything that leaves the distillery is to our high standard,” he said.

He added that Brunswick Aces hasn’t increased prices since its inception. Rather, it has looked at ways to absorb the cost of raw materials as a cost-saving initiative.

“Our recent bottle redesign has meant our packaging production and shipping costs have reduced, allowing us to avoid hefty price increases,” he said.

“We’re also developing some eco-initiatives to reduce production costs [which will] allow us to keep prices accessible. [This includes] water cooling recirculation and solar [initiatives].”

Making everyone feel welcome

Regarding its domestic plans, Brunswick Aces is working with Paramount as its primary distributor.

Henshall said that its strongest presence is in Victoria, with New South Wales and South Australia the next biggest markets. The brand is reviewing its national distribution requirements with the goal of expanding further in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

He added that the distillery in Brunswick East has recently undergone extensive renovations, and was closed to the public. But it’s set to reopen in April with a refreshed look, new and private dining and events spaces and a range of other features.

“We will also be working on expanding our experiential offering and creating more out of venue events to [make] everyone [feel] welcome,” he said. 

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The next round: Why non-alcoholic distillery Brunswick Aces is eying Europe 

How Coupang is chasing growth in Korea’s fragmented e-commerce market

Coupang, Korea’s e-commerce giant and Amazon look-a-like, has taken big steps in the past six months toward sustainable profitability, a genuine rarity in such a cut-throat industry. Its decision last week, reported by Inside Retail Asia on March 14, to withdraw from one of its small handful of overseas markets, Japan, is an important symbolic move even if it makes little immediate difference to the top or bottom line. In essence, the company has conceded that attempts to expand its rapid cons

umables delivery service outside of its domestic market are too risky and too much of a long-term sinkhole for cash when it is coming up against established players with a big head start.

Meanwhile, Naver Shopping, which EcomEye has reported runs second to Coupang in Korea in terms of monthly shopper visits to its site or app, has taken a different approach to overseas expansion. It has muscled up its e-commerce offering and gained an important beachhead in the US market with its recent purchase of California-based refashion platform Poshmark.

Even so, Naver, like Coupang, remains focused on actions where speed is of the essence in Korea itself, and is taking aggressive steps to mop up smaller players in the highly fragmented market. Naver, despite easily being Korea’s number one search engine, has long played second fiddle to Coupang in e-commerce, partly because of its inferior infrastructure and logistics capabilities. Coupang launched as a marketplace in 2010 and has made it a priority over the years to invest heavily in infrastructure and technology to enable its unequalled rapid delivery service. Most Koreans live within 10 kilometres of a Coupang distribution centre. The company is particularly fond of robots to increase the efficiency of its logistics system, and CEO Bom Kim vows to use more.

In an attempt to counter Coupang’s technological advantage, Naver announced in January the launch of a new delivery concept called Naver Guaranteed Delivery Service, that would sharpen up delivery times and compensate customers who didn’t get their orders within the specified time. Naver is also lobbing pocket-sized logistics centres into about 3,000 petrol stations across the country operated by SK Energy. It refers to these logistics centres as “micro fulfilment” centres that will get products closer to customers and speed up delivery.

Coupang in front

Naver has a long way to go to catch up with Coupang in terms of revenue. In its fourth-quarter results, announced at the end of February, Coupang reported a second consecutive quarterly net profit, of US$102 million ($152 million), with year-over-year revenue growth of 5 per cent (21 per cent on a constant currency basis). For the whole year, revenues increased by almost 12 per cent (26 per cent on a constant currency basis).

Rocket Wow, Coupang’s subscription service that mimics Amazon Prime, boasted 11 million members at the end of last year, almost double the number at the end of 2020. Wow is the jewel in Coupang’s crown, in the sense that it enables the company to generate a stable income stream from groceries and other consumables, and the cross-shopping opportunities they provide. This is unlike other e-commerce companies in the region, which focus on discretionary items that are more prone to volatility depending on the economic environment, which looks decidedly rocky in the near term at least.

Coupang’s revenues for the whole year 2022 breached $20 billion for the first time, reaching $20.6 billion, and its net loss for the year narrowed to $92 million. The company is also reporting that each new customer cohort is starting to spend at a higher level and spending is growing at a faster pace than in cohorts that have gone before. Still, total revenue growth in the fourth quarter suggested that the brakes are going on. 

Investors don’t like the squealing sound of brakes on a tech company’s revenue growth and that is keeping a lid firmly on Coupang’s stock price, which at the close on 16 March was trading at $12.91 on the NYSE, down more than 13 per cent year to date, 29 per cent on the year and 73 per cent from its record high.

Naver, which is listed on the Korean stock exchange, reported US$6.3 billion ($9.4 billion) in revenue in 2022 and a net profit of $506 million. Its share price is also languishing more than 50 per cent below its high in July 2021. 

The need to mop up the small fry

With Coupang’s prospects for overseas expansion looking shakier, and Naver still playing catch-up in logistics, both companies are anxious to mop up smaller, nimble competitors in the fragmented Korean market. There is no time to lose. Korea has an ageing population with one of the lowest fertility rates on the planet. Moreover, internet and mobile phone adoption are already high so there is no low-hanging fruit in terms of the population remaining to connect. 

Getting more customers is becoming harder: Coupang had 18.1 million active customers in the fourth quarter of 2022, which was an increase of only about 100,000 on the previous quarter. (Active customer is defined as anyone who placed an order during the quarter.)

So consolidating the market by eliminating the smaller fry is imperative for growth. 


Bom and his counterparts at other Korean e-commerce companies have been increasingly sounding the alarm about macro headwinds that are beyond their control and could derail growth in 2023. A more confronting problem in the long-run, however, is not macroeconomic but demographic: The total pie isn’t expanding fast enough, which makes elimination of local competitors and overseas expansion so compelling. But Coupang is finding out that doing argy-bargy on others’ turf in the consumables delivery business may not be viable, no matter how good its logistical capabilities. 

This is where Naver may have an advantage: using its resources to acquire dominant players in niche markets. Poshmark in the resale segment, for example, will give it access to the US market and at the same time potentially expand its reach among fashionistas in Asia itself.

The outlook for their smaller competitors in Korea is bleaker. This is a ‘red ocean’ industry, and the sharks are circling.

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TC Nighthawks launches with mission to curb rising car thefts

TC Nighthawks launches with mission to curb rising car thefts

MINNEAPOLIS — It started with a common sense idea.

“You can track your phone or like your airpods or your headphones, so I was wondering why couldn’t you do the same for your car, I guess,” said Tanisha Robinson, the daughter of TC Nighthawks founder Lacey Gauthier.

Last summer, Robinson overheard her mom on a Zoom meeting about car thefts, and TC Nighthawks was born.

“It’s been insane,” said Gauthier. “We started this as something we wanted to help our immediate community — the Nokomis and Longfellow areas. And it’s turned into a state-wide mission now.”

Stolen car numbers are rising fast. This year, there have already been 900 more motor vehicle thefts than at this time in 2022. That’s an increase of 85%.

“One thing that everyone’s concerned was carjacking. People are scared to go to the store in the middle of the day which is unheard of,” said Gauthier. “Women are getting attacked. Children are in the backseat of these cars.”

TC Nighthawks provides a product — the GPS tracker.

“When activated there’s no alarm and there’s no way to alert the criminals that they’re being tracked,” said Gauthier.

They also provided a service. The organization plans to work with police to locate stolen vehicles fast.

“I was told by a few different policemen that the average response time is 45 minutes to eight hours,” said Gauthier. “With our app, we’ve brought that down to getting the information to police in less than four minutes.”

TC Nighthawks also provides drone photography to locate cars, and a towing service to retrieve them.

“It’s crazy. We’ve always had the technology,” said Gauthier. “Nobody’s just sat down and put together a plan to formulate it.”

They say the business plan keeps police safe. This week, will be the first with TC Nighthawks trackers in cars.

“A big company coulda did it and they would have farther outreach than us,” said Robinson. “Somebody has to start something to spark a wave.”

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John Lewis Partnership eyes stake sale, ending 100% staff ownership

John Lewis Partnership eyes stake sale, ending 100% staff ownership

John Lewis Partnership looks to sell stake, ending 100% staff ownership model
// John Lewis Partnership is at the early stages of exploring a sale of a minority stake in the business to raise funds
// The sale would involve changing its employee-owned structure, which would need to be voted through by a council made up of its staff

John Lewis Partnership is mulling diluting its partnership structure, meaning it would no longer be 100% owned by its staff.

Chair Dame Sharon White is thought to be exploring the possibility of changing the retailer’s mutual structure in order to sell a minority stake to raise between £1 billion and £2 billion of new investment, according to The Sunday Times.

John Lewis Partnership, which owns both John Lewis and Waitrose, was put into a trust in 1950 by the founder’s son John Spedan Lewis.

In order to sell a stake, a change would be needed to the John Lewis constitution, which would have to be voted on by its partnership council, made up of around 60 staff.

More than two-thirds of the council would need to approve the plan.

However, any money raised through selling shares would go into the business, rather than to staff.

The business has been struggling of late and is amid a turnaround spearheaded by White.

This week it unveiled a £234m loss – £78m stripping out exceptionals – and was forced to scrap its annual staff bonus.

The retailer unveiled an aggressive cost-cutting plan and finance director Bérangère Michel warned that job cuts would be likely.

The plan was met with criticism from some analysts.

Savvy Marketing chief executive Catherine Shuttleworth said: “It’s cost-cutting plan. It’s not a retail recovery plan – and that concerns me. There’s not enough said about how they’re going to drive sales.”

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The partnership is understood to need up to £2bn investment in order to invest in better technology and data analysis as well as improving Waitrose’s supply chain.

A senior source told the newspaper that the business would only consider selling a minority stake.

“This would be to secure the partnership model and ensure co-ownership continues. There could be a shareholder but partners would still own the majority,” the source said.

It is also understood that the investor would have to share the partnership’s employee-centric values.

The idea of moving away from full employee ownership is likely to prove controversial. The last time it was mooted in 1999, one correspondent in  JLP’s internal magazine described staff pushing for a stock market float as “gullible, greedy and selfish”.

John Lewis said: “We’ve always said we would seek partnerships to help fund our transformation and exciting growth plans.

“We’ve done this with [online grocer] Ocado in the past and now with [housing partner] Abrdn. Our partners, who own the business, will be the first to hear about any developments.”

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