Tuesday 31 January 2023
Tuesday 17 January 2023
Monday 16 January 2023
"We’ve delivered a strong market share performance in the UK and ROI, Booker has continued to grow strongly despite a particularly tough catering backdrop and our Central European business has delivered its highest sales growth for many years.
I’m, of course, extremely proud of the way Tesco has stepped forward to help customers dealing with tough times this Christmas. By delivering relentlessly on the strategic priorities we set out 18 months ago, we have made sure customers know they will benefit from great value and quality in every part of their basket, however they choose to shop with us.
"It has been a huge team effort and I want to thank every colleague across the business for their hard work. I'd also like to thank everyone who generously supported our Winter Food Collection, which has contributed to a record 39m meals donated by Tesco and our customers so far this year.
"We go into the new calendar year with good momentum and I am confident we can continue to maintain our competitiveness and deliver a strong performance relative to the market despite the challenging conditions ahead.”
Thursday 12 January 2023
Wednesday 11 January 2023
New Fully Voice Controlled Smartphone brings hope to the UK’s 5.6 million Elderly struggling to use mainstream Mobile Phones
RealSAM Phone is the third product to be released from the RealThing Ai team, which has partnered with the RNIB and O2 to develop accessible smartphones for blind and partially sighted people since 2018.
Incorporating RealThing Ai’s ground-breaking technology, that's backed by the Australian Government, RealSAM Phone is operated by simple voice controls. Users simply tap a large area on the phone’s screen and use their voice to ask RealSAM to make a call, send a text or use one of the many built-in personal assistant features designed to make life easier. These include a magnifier that can read handwriting or printed text out loud.
UK Country Manager for RealThing Ai, Louise Humphreys, said, “With the Christmas season giving many families the first opportunity in three years to come together, we’ve seen a leap in enquiries from loved ones seeking a solution to stay in touch with their parents and grandparents.
Often contacting us having already explored other options, we’ve been told of relatives struggling to operate mobile phones with small buttons, to install apps or use menus on a touchscreen. We believe there is a need for an alternative phone in the market that’s easy to use, with less features, and that can be operated just by using your voice. We hope that with the launch of RealSAM Phone we can deliver on this need and help many families to stay connected this winter’’.
Who can RealSAM Phone help?
RealSAM Phone is designed for anyone who finds it easier to operate a smartphone by voice. Based on voice technology that has been used by blind and partially sighted people in the UK, US and Australia over 4 years, this may include people experiencing sight loss, physical barriers such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and arthritis, or memory impairments, such as dementia. RealSAM Phone can also connect to hearing aids, using Bluetooth to stream the phone’s audio directly.
How is RealThing Ai different from other Voice Control services?
RealThing Ai is a global business specialising in developing conversational Ai technology. RealThing’s solution is unique in that it can multi-task. For example, if a customer is using a RealSAM Phone to check the weather and a call arrives, they will be alerted to answer the call and returned to the weather at the end of the call.
RealThing Ai’s ability to manage complex interactions means it performs particularly well when voice is the only way to operate a technology.
What features does RealSAM Phone have?
RealSAM Phone is unique from other mainstream smartphones in that it has no on-screen apps, or buttons, so users simply tap the screen and talk to access its features. New features and apps are developed based on customer feedback and updated on to the phone automatically.
The features currently available on RealSAM that can be used by voice include:
- Making and receiving calls
- Sending and receiving messages
- Alerting contacts that you need assistance
- Turning on the inbuilt video magnifier
- Adding contacts to your address book
- Getting help from the Be My Eyes Service
- Setting reminders
- Finding out the time
- Checking the weather.
What handset is RealSAM Phone available on?
RealSAM Phone is based on a customised Samsung Galaxy A04 handset installed with the RealThing Ai voice software. The Samsung Galaxy A04 is an Android 12 device featuring a 50MP main camera for exceptional image clarity, 32GB of storage, and a 5000 mAh battery for up to 54 hours talk time (4). RealSAM Phone comes with a 24-month warranty and unlimited software upgrades.
What customer support is available?
RealThing Ai offers all customers ongoing and unlimited business hours telephone support from its UK based customer support team. This includes help with adding contacts and connecting the phone to wifi. Customers can also log in to the RealSAM web portal to manage the phone’s contacts remotely.
How much does it cost?
RealSAM Phone can be bought unlocked and SIM free for GBP £499 (excl. VAT) or on a 36-month contract including unlimited UK calls, texts and 1GB data on the O2 network for GBP £19.99 a month. RealSAM Phone is included in the RNIB Technology Grant Scheme (5), offering eligible customers up to GBP £350 off the cost of purchasing. VAT exemptions may apply for people with a disability.
RealThing Ai also offers a no quibble 60 day returns policy allowing users to try RealSAM Phone for an extended period while deciding if it’s right for them.
How do I find out more?
For more information call the RealThing Ai Customer Service team on 01733 514612 or visit the RealSAM UK website here https://realsam.co.uk.
Tuesday 10 January 2023
Monday 9 January 2023
In a bid to get the best Christmas products without bigger prices, shoppers switched £62.8m spend to Lidl GB – almost triple that of Christmas ‘21. This contributed to a rise of +24.5% in overall sales Year on Year and witnessed Lidl celebrate its busiest ever day of trading in 28 years on Friday 23rd December. (That's Christmas believes that was the day we bought the veg, the stollen and the extra mince pies?)
Families filling their fridges and food cupboards with produce from Lidl GB were also able to benefit from some of the lowest prices on the market, with a Christmas dinner costing a very reasonable £2.75 per head. As people turned to the discounter for seasonal staples, its ‘Pick of the Week’ Christmas veg returned at a very tempting 19p each, with sales jumping by over a third (37%) Year On Year. (YOY)
Festive treats also topped shopping lists with Lidl’s Deluxe 24 Month Matured Christmas Pudding sales increasing by 185% YoY. Fuelled by the Negroni Sbagliato trend which went viral online, the retailer helped households enjoy almost 7 million glasses of prosecco. Traditional Christmas classics remained popular with 1.7m glasses of Lidl mulled wine served, and sales of its premium Deluxe own-label cheese range increased by nearly 30%.
Ryan McDonnell, the CEO at Lidl GB, said: “Every week of the year we are seeing more customers coming through our doors, switching spend to Lidl from the traditional supermarkets. We know they switch to us to make savings, but then they stay with us when they realise that they’re not having to compromise on quality, and this Christmas was no exception.
“Our strategy - great quality products offered at low prices - has remained the same since we first opened our doors over 28 years ago. But that is only because it’s as relevant now as it ever has been. It is working because we are seeing big switching gains with over £63m of spend moving to us in the four weeks to the 25th of December. We only see this momentum continuing in 2023.”
As people looked to get into the festive spirit, many turned to the discounter to decorate their homes, with sales of Christmas lights and decorations up 85% and 71% respectively. It was also the season for giving, with over 1.8 million rolls of wrapping paper sold, equating to over 6,000 miles, the distance from London to the North Pole and back again.
Lidl shoppers also showed their generosity by way of the supermarket’s initiatives supporting the wider community, with over 60,000 new and unopened toys and games being donated to families in need over Christmas through its Lidl Bear Toy Bank.
Following its pledge to make its largest community food donation ever, the equivalent of 1 million meals were donated through surplus food donations. On Christmas Eve alone, the retailer donated approximately 150,000 meals to those who were in need.
McDonnell went on to say: “As we head into another new year, we’re laser focused on strengthening our infrastructure across the country. As we continue with the expansion of our distribution centres in Belvedere and Bridgend, we’re set to open our biggest ever warehouse in Luton later this year.
"This doubles down on our efforts of giving more communities access to our unrivalled quality-value combination, something that’s particularly important as families continue to tighten their belts in the current climate.”
Saturday 7 January 2023
Aldi delivered its best ever Christmas with sales during December topping £1.4 billion for the first time ever
Aldi's sales growth reflects an increased demand for Aldi’s award-winning products, throughout the period, with sales topping £1.4 billion in December for the first time.
Fresh meat sales also saw strong growth too with fresh poultry and pork options both up over 28%, with sales of alternative roasting joints like its Specially Selected Decorative Gammon proving especially popular, in addition to Aldi’s traditional turkey options.
And customers treated themselves to award-winning desserts too, with Aldi seeing sales of chilled desserts and fresh cheeses jump by almost 30% and 50% respectively.
Meanwhile, snacks like crisps and nuts were up over 40% as the World Cup coincided with the run up to Christmas for the first time.
Giles Hurley, CEO of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “This year, Christmas was all about family and football as people came together to celebrate in a way we’ve not enjoyed for years. I’m immensely proud of our amazing colleagues who once again went above and beyond to deliver an amazing Christmas for our customers.
“As the UK’s cheapest supermarket, we were able to help shoppers enjoy the Christmas they deserved and provide them with the highest quality products at the most affordable prices.
“As we head into a new year, our promise to customers is they'll always get the UK’s lowest prices at Aldi, no matter what.”
Aldi was named Christmas Retailer of the Year at the industry-renowned Quality Food Awards. The awards, which celebrate the best in retail food, also saw Aldi claim top prize for no fewer than 48 products, including having the best mince pies and the best pigs in blankets.
Together, customers bought in excess of 48 million mince pies, 38 million pigs-in-blankets and over 1,700 tonnes of sprouts in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Meanwhile, Aldi continued its year-round partnership with Neighbourly by donating thousands of meals on Christmas and New Year’s Eve to local charities, food banks and community groups across the country, in addition to its £250,000 Emergency Winter Foodbank Fund.
Friday 6 January 2023
As the cost-of-living crisis worsens, many of us are beginning the new year seeking out ways to save money on their normal day to day living costs.
Holly Andrews, Managing Director at KIS Finance has been looking at the 50 best money saving tips that are really quick and simple but offer genuine ways to cut your expenditure without impacting on your lifestyle.
Holly says: “The new year is the ideal time to shake up our spending habits and look for ways to streamline our expenditure, but most money saving tips mean having to cut back and give up things that you like.
"However here at KIS Finance we have looked into the 50 simplest ways you can use to save money with little effort but with some really great potential rewards.
"If you try our easy to follow tips you can significantly reduce your expenditure without reducing your enjoyment of life.”
Our guide gives some great practical advice on:
Saving money when using your car by:
Using fuel price comparison sites
Avoiding premium fuels
Driving for efficiency
Regularly checking your tyre pressures
Reducing the weight of your vehicle
Spending less on your Electricity and Gas by:
Using a comparison site
Insulating your home cheaply
Turning off individual radiators
Running your washing machine on a low
Buying a shower timer
Only boiling the amount of water that you need to
Paying less for your holidays by:
Traveling outside of the most popular times
Being flexible over your destination
Avoiding expensive mobile phone data charges
Enjoy the local cuisine
Making your food budget go further by:
Shopping in the evenings
Going to the supermarket alone
Using Apps to avoid food waste
Enjoying takeaways for less by:
Going for collection instead of delivery
Look for cashback deals
Not ordering on a Friday or Saturday
Not just throwing away junk mail
Considering supermarket alternatives
Getting a better deal with your bank by:
Switching bank accounts
Making better use of your credit cards by:
Setting up a direct debit
Consolidating your credit cards
Removing your payment details from shopping
Saving money on your loans and mortgages by:
Comparing fixed rate mortgage offers
Cost effective mobile phones and internet by:
Cancelling your landline if no longer needed
Only paying for what you need
Saving money on entertainment by:
Utilising voucher schemes
Looking for free days out
Investing in a Kids Pass
Spending less on travel costs by:
Buying a family and friends rail card (Or other appropriate rail cards)
Reducing your tax liabilities by:
Checking your tax code
Utilising any employee benefits
Reviewing your Council Tax
Getting a better deal on your insurance by:
Using a comparison site
Taking out home care cover
Only paying for the cover you need
Increasing your policy excess
Installing additional security to your home
Not overestimating your mileage for car
Getting a black box insurance policy
Saving money on your direct debits and subscriptions by:
Auditing your direct debits and standing orders
Checking recurring payments
Streamlining your streaming services
Full details on all of these simple, but highly effective money saving tips can be found in their full report at: https://www.kisbridgingloans.co.uk/consumer-guides/50-top-money-saving-tips-to-get-your-new-year-off-to-a-positive-start