Asos CEO steps down with immediate effect

UK online fashion retail giant Asos’ CEO Nick Beighton has stepped down as the company warned that its profits are set to drop by as much as 40% in 2020 by comparison to 2021.

Beighton has been in post for 12 years and oversaw the explosive growth of the online giant, which benefitted from the pandemic e-commerce boom and the fact that its returns levels were far lower during the period, creating unusual profitability that cannot be matched as the market normalises.

The outgoing CEO steps down with immediate effect, though will remain available to the company until the end of the year. Chief Financial Officer Matt Dunn is to take on the role while a new cEO is found for the company. Group finance director Katy Mecklenburgh is to be interim CFO.

“I have enjoyed every moment of my 12 years at Asos,” said Beighton.

“When I joined, there were fewer than 200 people and we had annual sales of around £220 million.

“I leave a business reporting turnover of almost £4 billion, with more than 3000 fantastic Asos-ers delivering for 26 million customers in 200 markets around the world.

“I am particularly proud of the way in which we have led our industry on putting sustainability at the heart of everything we do with our Fashion with Integrity programme.”

With regards the financial results, profit before tax was up 36% to £193.6 million on revenues of £3.91 billion – up 22% on 2020.

The growth was driven by demand from the UK and US markets which saw sales grow by 36% and 21% respectively. It now plans to double its US and European businesses and to launch a partner fulfilment programme.

Dunn said: “Asos has delivered another strong performance, with continued growth in customer numbers driving further increases in sales and profits.

“Our success has been underpinned by our focus on delighting fashion-loving 20-something customers with greater choice, service, and engagement.

“We have also continued to invest in our platform and offer, including the successful acquisition and integration of the Topshop brands.”


SMMT – government needs a road map for zero emission HGVs

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the government to work with the industry to enable a clear transition to zero emission HGVs before it commits to an end-of-sale date for fossil fuel powered trucks.

Currently all European truck makers have agreed to sell no more fossil fuelled HGVs by 2040 but there is no current technology that will currently provide full zero emissions operations for all weights and uses of HGVs.

A new SMMT study called Fuelling the Fleet shows that just 0.2% of HGVs were zero emissions in 2020 – passenger car numbers reached this level in 2007. Where it comes to battery electric vans, this was 0.3% in 2020 – a similar figure to cars in 2019. Sales are growing quickly but this amounted to 2.6% of sales between January and July 2021, as against 8.2% of cars.

A number of established van and truck manufacturers have brought a range of HGVs and vans to market, but the SMMT wants a roadmap agreed between the government and industry.

One major barrier to electric HGV uptake is charging infrastructure. Without a dedicated HGV charging network in place the only companies that can make the switch are those that can afford their own chargers. It is estimated that to meet demand, the UK will need 8,200 public HGV charging points by 2030 – effectively, two a day opening every day for the next nine years. Where it comes to hydrogen, posited as the better solution for HGVs, just 11 fuelling pumps are in place in the UK at present.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The industry is committed to be fossil fuel-free, but there is not yet a clear technology path for every weight class and every use case. Before it sets a deadline for the sector, the government must support the technological development and market proposition and provide the right framework, so hauliers don’t defer their decarbonising decision to the last minute. Plans before bans is the key.”


Roadie makes Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies

US outsourced delivery platform Roadie has been recognised on the annual Inc 5000 list of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, ranking 203rd.

Roadie has seen revenue growth of 2,157% in the last three years, boosted in a large part by the pandemic. This is the first time the firm has joined a prestigious industry list. It now has 200,000 drivers and riders and reaches 90% of US households at more than 20,000 zip codes.

The firm has established strong, long-term relationships with major retailers including The Home Depot, Walmart and Best Buy, and also works with a number of small businesses around the USA. At the same time it still delivers mishandled baggage to airline customers of Delta and Southwest.

“For a seven-year-old startup, landing on the Inc. 5000 list — and inside the top 250 our first time, to boot — is an incredible win,” said Roadie founder and CEO Marc Gorlin in a company press release. “I’m thrilled, but can’t say I’m surprised. The Roadie team can do anything.”

“When it comes to consumers’ preference for home delivery, COVID finished what Amazon started,” Gorlin adds. He also explains that customers want their stuff right at their doorsteps when they need it. Noting that the holiday season is coming once again and that this upcoming peak season would “blow old records out of the water,” Roadie has positioned itself to keep building and providing for its customers to make the most out of the retail market.


Renault Trucks launches zero emission vehicle for UK market

Renault Trucks has launched an ell-electric 26 tonne tractor unit for the UK market. Available to order now, the 6×2 Range D Wide ZE zero emission truck is the first for the UK market.

The vehicle is driven by two electric motors that deliver a maximum power of 370kW and a maximum torque of 850Nm. Depending on its application and body specification it has a range of up to 93 miles.

The Renault D Wide ZE truck has a 22kW AC charger and can take up to 150kW of DC fast charging. The 220kW battery is guaranteed for 10 years.

“Today marks a significant milestone in our transformation of urban mobility, with the arrival in the UK of the first fully electric MHD launched earlier this year,” said Carlos Rodrigues, managing director, Renault Trucks UK & Ireland. 

“Major cities, starting with London are leading the way regarding air quality improvement. Clean Air Zones and Low Emissions Zones will gradually improve the air quality, but electromobility is the only viable option to achieve climate change and CO2 reduction in the urban environment.  We are delighted to introduce our ZE range fitting most urban and last mile delivery applications from 3.1 tonnes up to 26 tonnes. They are available for delivery here and now in the UK and Ireland.”


NFSP: sub-postmasters planning to quit in numbers

Many UK sub-postmasters are earning less than the National Minimum Wage and are actively considering closing or selling their business according to the National Federation of Subpostmasters (NFSP).

At the NFSP annual conference, Calum Greenhow, Chief Executive of NFSP  revealed the findings of a survey of 1,000 of its members, who have been subpostmasters for an average of 12 years.

The survey found:

76% are making less than the hourly National Minimum Wage from working in their post office

61% are taking home less income over time – and one in five subpostmasters, or their spouse or partner, had to take on work elsewhere to make ends meet

One in three did not take a single day’s holiday last year

22% are planning to close, downsize or hand on their business in the next 12 months

The survey also showed the biggest concerns were falling income and increased expenses, caused by a combination of reductions to remuneration rates; low transaction rates for banking services; increased staff costs; more customers using Royal Mail services directly; and fewer using a Post Office Card Account.

Greenhow told the conference: “We can see how easy it would be for Subpostmasters to lose faith and feel disenfranchised, to feel the system is working against them. For many of you, your feet are going to do the talking”.

He said to subpostmasters: “The social value of the post office network that you are part of is estimated to be as high as £9 billion. This is your collective worth to UK society. We intend to make sure that the government and MPs recognise the vital work carried out by the subpostmasters of this country…The NFSP has been in existence for over 120 years, placing the interests of its members first and we will continue to do that”.


Panther Warehousing offers 7 day a week service

Two man delivery specialist Panther Warehousing is to offer its services seven days a week. This is designed to meet the needs of internet shoppers asking for the same speed of delivery for heavy items as they do smaller items.

Panther Warehousing is offering two hour delivery windows on the day and cut off times as late as 10pm. It also offers collections of items on Bank Holidays, and this the company believes will make it even more popular with clients and customers alike.

Colin McCarthy, Chief Executive, Panther Warehousing, said: “Consumers have become very discerning about what they want from a retailer and one of the deciding factors is definitely the speed and convenience of delivery.

“They want the immediacy of the high street from the comfort of their home.  It can make the difference between a retailer making a sale or not. People aren’t all able to take a day off work during the week to take delivery of a bed, sofa or new kitchen appliance and clearly such large items needs to be delivered to their home.

“Saturday and Sunday deliveries are the obvious answer, so it was a logical step for us to provide that service as we have always put our customers and in turn their customers at the heart of our operations.

“Consumer expectations are higher than ever before – people have come to expect that they order one day, will arrive the next, whatever day of the week that happens to be, and their expectations are the same whether it’s a book, bed or a super size American fridge. Our service offers total visibility, flexibility, convenience and choice.”

Panther also offers a ‘day of choice’ option for customers wishing to offer householders the opportunity to plan further ahead when ordering large items, for instance as part of a refurbishment or house move.


New management at ArrowXL

Two man delivery specialists ArrowXL have taken on two key hires for its management team. Adam Jeffryes is to be general manager at the Enfield site and Allan Pape is to be Arrow XL’s new business development manager.

Jeffryes role is to oversee day-to-day operations at the Enfield hub. His last job was at DX Group where he was also general manager for 11 years. Prior to that he was an operations manager at CirtySprint for two years. Jeffryes started out in his career as a Royal Mail postman before eventually being promoted to world class manufacturing lead – he was at Royal Mail for 11 years.

Pape meanwhile spent nine years as a regional sales executive at DPD before moving to ArrowXL. Before that he had worked at UK Mail and Amtrak Express Parcels.

The new appointments come as part of a series of management changes that were sanctioned by ArrowXL’s CEO Charlie Shiels in 2018.

Commenting on his appointment, Jeffryes said, “I am absolutely thrilled to join ArrowXL. I was attracted by the business’s vision and its commitment to excellence. There is a great deal of talent at the company and I’m looking forward to learning alongside the very best.”

Pape added, “I am very excited to join a company of ArrowXL’s stature and making a substantial contribution during the year ahead. I am looking forward to this fresh challenge and meeting some amazing people along the way.”

Shiels concluded, “We are pleased to bring onboard Adam and Allan and I am confident that they will both continue to drive further improvements across our business and secure exciting new opportunities. I’m sure they will play an important role in our future success.”


Apex Insight client reviews shows high satisfaction with report quality and value-for-money

At Apex Insight, we enjoy speaking to clients who use our reports. Anyone who buys from us is entitled to have a conference call to discuss the report and ask any questions they have arising from, or as a result of, it. We also carry out regular customer satisfaction research to see what clients think of our work, how we can improve it and what new areas they would like us to cover.

In our most recent exercise we approached all clients who had purchased a report from us in the last year for their input. We managed to speak to 30 and asked them a range of questions including how they scored our reports, from 1-5, for quality and value for money. The charts show the scores we received with the overwhelming majority scoring us either 4 or 5 out of 5 on both measures.

Apex Insight client feedback

While we are very pleased that these scores remained high, as they have been in previous years, we were also grateful for the input from those clients who identified areas where our reports can improve further. We are now working on incorporating these suggestions into our forthcoming reports.

We realise that it can be difficult for new clients to buy from a research provider for the first time. To give a degree of comfort, several clients have given us testimonials that they are happy for us to reproduce on our website. To provide more detail, here is a wider selection of client comments answering, in their own words, two questions: ‘How useful was the report to you?’ and ‘How does the Apex Insight report compare to those from other research providers?’

Names, companies and report titles have been witheld to preserve confidentiality.

‘How useful was the report to you?’

“It was invaluable because we came to the UK and wanted something to teach us how this market works here. And we needed to raise funding. Our investors needed a credible analysis of the market. Using your report we were able to get our funding: £2m” – New market entrant

“I feel Apex Insight reports are written by someone who is familiar with the market, that people in the marketplace are comfortable with what Apex writes, and the banks trust the numbers. I was comfortable presenting the information to our Board” – Corporate

“This is one of our strategic markets and we have many years of experience of it. We found the Apex Insight report very useful. All the areas we wanted were covered well, in particular the analysis of what is a complex value chain. It was more complete in this regard than other sources” – Corporate

“It is comprehensive and does what it says on the tin! A lot of it is based on publicly available information, but it would take me ages to put together if I did it. I think it is comprehensive” – Corporate

“We have been using the Apex Insight reports a lot over the last few months… comprehensive and provide key information, covering the market from different angles: the macro- economic view, market drivers, operating models and so on. There was information on how the numbers were calculated which gives confidence. Our new CEO came from outside this industry and he found the report useful” – Corporate

“It is really useful. The methodology is good: the logical path it takes you through from volume to value and product type. The graphs are good visuals, good comparisons of service offering, and the market trend part was also good” – Corporate

“It’s been useful. It’s the main report I use. I look at it 2-3 times a year. It gives us a bigger-picture view which we then can add to with the more detailed view we have of the market” – Corporate

“The report was very useful and gave good insights and was a good introduction to the sector. It was clear and easy to use. The forecasts were sensible and the industry experts quotes throughout were also good” – Strategy consulting firm

‘How does the Apex Insight report compare to those from other research providers?’

“It was the best report I read on this market… nobody questioned your figures” – Government

“As a company we buy a lot of different research. Overall, I think this Apex Insight one is the best I have seen. It is UK-specific, which is relevant for me, and it delivered everything I was looking for: sensible market figures and insights into competitors, their performance and their current contracts” – Corporate

“We commissioned someone to go out and see what is available on the market and were told that this report by Apex Insight was the best one.” – Public service body

“I have bought 3 or 4 reports from Apex Insight, and once I read them I knew this was the place to go and I don’t need to look elsewhere” – Investor

“It was the first time I had seen firm-ish statistics on our market as there isn’t a great deal out there. I have looked at quite a lot of other reports but they are not at this level. The Apex Insight one is ‘on the money’, it has granularity … I intend to buy the 2017 edition when it comes out.” – Corporate

“We have bought Apex Insight and another report because they cover different things…I would not say that one was better than the other. The Apex one is more of a market insight and the other one is more of a consumer insight” – Corporate

“It was well thought out, accurate and thorough. In the past we have used other sources, but the Apex Insight one is better” – Investor

“It gives a comprehensive overview of the market with good primary data, country-specific stats and breakdowns and detail on the leading players. The Apex Insight report gives recent data, ie figures from 2016, while many other reports give old stats from previous years. Also the Apex Insight one is a bit more granular and has more colour. It is all good, we are still using it” – Investment bank


Apex Insight provides commercial due diligence to support Banijay Zodiak merger

Prior to the merger, Banijay Group, based in Paris, operated across Europe, the US and Australasia, with a particular strength in non-scripted / reality shows.

The merger with Zodiak, also based in Paris and strong across Europe, adds a range of assets including a leading production capability in the UK and a global sales arm with a large library of 20,000 hours of content.

The new merged Banijay Group, which will have revenues of around $1bn, has attracted investment from Vivendi, the parent company of Canal Plus, which has taken a 26.2% stake, alongside existing shareholders, LOV Group and De Agostini.

To support the transaction and subsequent bank syndication exercise, Apex Insight produced an in-depth study of the historical development of, and prospects for, the TV production markets in Europe and the US and Banijay / Zodiak’s position within them. This commercial due diligence work revealed that market growth has speeded up in recent years as television industry innovation has continued and the economic outlook has improved, in particular in markets such as Spain which were impacted by the Eurozone crisis. Forecasts are for growth to continue with Europe in particular benefitting from a more positive outlook for TV advertising revenues.

Philippe Magnani, Principal at LOV Group, said:
“Apex Insight’s work provided a detailed account of how the European and US TV production markets have performed, an explanation of the factors which have driven the trends, and forecasts of how the market is expected to develop in future”