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Microsoft confirms Oxford Circus store debut

Tech giant Microsoft has confirmed it will be opening its first store at London’s Oxford Circus.

After years of speculation, the move will see Microsoft open its first bricks and mortar retail premises in the UK, occupying the site formerly held by United Colours Of Benton at 255-259 Regent Street.

Following a series of successful store openings in the US, the announcement will bring an end to the search of a flagship store in the UK.

Discussing the move with Retail Week, Microsoft UK boss Cindy Rose said: “We couldn’t be happier to be opening a flagship store in the heart of central London at Oxford Circus, where two of the world’s most iconic shopping streets meet.”

“We know our customers and fans, whether they are from London, the broader UK or just visiting, will love our bold plans for the space.

“This will be so much more than just a great place to experience all that is possible with Microsoft, but a real hub for the community where we’ll be bringing to life our passion for helping people explore their creativity through an ambitious program of workshops and training along with moments that work to unite the community.”

The store will offer a variety of digital training programmes, free workshops and the opportunity to participate in Xbox game design sessions.

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Jingle bells, as Selfridges opens Christmas shop

Selfridges has opened its Christmas shop with the theme for 2017 being ‘With Love From.’

The move has been met with a mixture of surprise, excitement and bewilderment by customers passing through the fourth floor of London’s Oxford Street store, with fake fir trees and a jolly Santa greeting people months ahead of the big day.

Opening the Christmas shop last month, the store featured a curated range of London inspired Christmas products, with Christmas food items rolling out last week.

The full 130,000 product range, including 51,000 baubles and 65 light and tree options will commence withy phase two in September.

Speaking about the early opening of the Christmas shop, Selfridges Christmas and home buyer Eleanor Gregory, said: “We’ve been opening the doors to our Christmas Shop during the summer for years now and have become a real destination for fans of Christmas and festive decorations within and outside the UK.

“Some customers return to us year after year, excited at the prospect of discovering the new ranges and adding to their collections.

“They include a large number of domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list.

“This new extension to our usual offer is addressing this growing demand for convenience – domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list.”

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Best business names in Britain revealed

A survey conducted by Vistaprint has revealed the best business names in Britain, with four in 10 Brits saying a company with a witty or memorable name will encourage them to use it over a company with a more mundane moniker.

Topping the charts came Spruce Springclean, a carpet cleaners based in Lostwithiel, Cornwall; followed closely by a Portsmouth-based locksmith called Surelock Homes; and a wine bar in London called Planet of the Grapes.

“Small businesses around the UK are always finding clever and innovative ways to showcase their offerings,” said Oliver Harcourt, head of UK, Vistaprint.

“Having a creative business name is one example of how you can be more memorable to your customers and stand out from the crowd.

Some of the shops from our poll are businesses that are generations old, showing that a catchy name can stand the test of time.”

The research also found that six in 10 respondents would prefer to see a business with a witty or amusing name, while a third said they were more likely to recommend a business worth a witty name than a more traditional one.

Harcourt added: “Our survey also found that eight in ten Brits like to try and shop locally where possible.

“We’re happy to see local stores keeping up the tradition of having creative and witty names as a way to stand out in their communities.

“We look forward to seeing many more to come in the future – and we’ve even created a guide to help new businesses come up with a memorable name for themselves.”

The top 20 business in the UK in full:

  1. Spruce Springclean, Carpet cleaners, Lostwithiel, Cornwall
  2. Surelock Homes, Locksmith, Portsmouth
  3. Planet of the Grapes, Wine Bar and Restaurant, London
  4. Floral and Hardy, Florists, Hertfordshire
  5. A Fish Called Rhondda, Fish and Chip Shop, Pentre, Wales
  6. Wright Hassall, Solicitors, Leamington Spa
  7. Jean Claude Van Man, Removal Company, Merseyside
  8. Sellfridges, White Goods Outlet, Stoke Newington
  9. Grate Expectations, Fireplace Specialists, Wimbledon
  10. Bonnie Tiler, Tiling and Plumbing, Gateshead
  11. Deja Brew, Coffee House, Denton
  12. The Chopfather, Barbers, Bristol
  13. Barnie’s Rubble, DIY Shop, Bolton
  14. Facial Attraction, Beauty Salon, Pontypool, Wales
  15. Samuel ‘L’ Jackson, Driving Instructor, Southport
  16. Hair Raid Shelter, Hairdressers, Downham Market, Norfork
  17. Alan Cartridge, Office Supplies, Leeds
  18. Jason Donervan, Food truck, Bristol
  19. Flying Nemo, Fish and Chips Shop, Yorkshire
  20. PG Trips, Bus Charter, Houghton le Spring
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M&S confirms 525 job cuts from London HQ…

As part of the new M&S chief executive, Steve Rowe’s plans to cut costs and ‘simplify the business’, the retailer has revealed that it will be cutting 525 jobs from its London headquarters and moving an additional 400 positions outside of the capital. 

Reports suggest that the retailer is currently consulting with head office staff in its merchandising, marketing and buying departments, and the number of job losses will be reached through a selection of redundancies and non-replacement of leavers. 

In addition to M&S’s changes to reducing premium pay for Sunday workers, as well as other reductions in its pay and pensions strategy for shop-floor staff, more than 90,000 people signed a petition calling for the plans to be scrapped; prompting M&S to announce on September 2 that employees would receive
extra compensation to ensure salaries will not fall below current rates in future.

In a statement, Rowe explained the decision: “M&S has to become a simpler and more effective
organisation if we are to deliver our plans to recover and grow our business. It is never easy to
propose changes that impact on our people, but I believe that the proposals outlined today are absolutely necessary and will help us build a different type of M&S – one that can take bolder, pacier decisions, be more profitable and ultimately better serve our customers.”

It is thought that 400 logistics and IT employees will move from London locations to the
retailer’s IT centre in Middlesex, and its distribution hub in Hemel Hempstead.