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VisitEngland has launched a new initiative targeted at young people to inspire them to take a short break at home in England.

The digital clips target young Brits with images of experiences and activities typically taken during a gap-year that can be condensed into what VisitEngland has termed a ‘microgap,’ a short domestic break of one to three nights.
 
The series of seven 10-second clips are being displayed on digital billboards across 100 locations including railway stations and shopping centres in England, Scotland and Wales.
 
The activity, which runs for three weeks, is part of VisitEngland’s wider #MyMicrogap campaign which launched last year to encourage more young Brits to holiday at home.
 
VisitBritain/VisitEngland Director of Marketing Clare Mullin said: “From walking with Alpacas in the Lake District to road-tripping through the North York Moors National Park, from sampling the food stalls in Pop Brixton in London to unleashing your creative side painting murals in Manchester, we want young Brits to discover the great experiences right here on their doorstep.
 
“By igniting the passion to holiday at home and encouraging young Brits to try something new we can boost growth from tourism now, spread its economic benefits across more of the year and cement the holiday habits of the future.”
 
The #MyMicrogap campaign follows research by VisitEngland into the travel habits of young Brits which showed that less than a quarter (24%) of 18-to-34 year olds were likely to take a career break to travel in the next three years.
 
The idea of ‘microgapping’ however appealed to almost two-thirds (64%) with more than half (57%) likely to take a microgap during the next three years. Research showed that young people keen on taking a microgap wanted the same self-development opportunities typical of a gap-year. Top activities and experiences sought were wellbeing and relaxation, visiting iconic landmarks, trying local food and drink and seeing nature and wildlife.
 
Statistics show that 16-34 year olds took almost 1.4 million fewer holidays in Britain than a decade previously.
 
The campaign is run by VisitEngland in partnership with the tourism organisations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and is part of a drive to get more young people to holiday at home, whether learning a new skill, volunteering or ticking off a bucket list experience.
 
#MyMicrogap, part of the UK Government’s GREAT Britain & Northern Ireland campaign, is expected to generate an additional £62 million in domestic tourism spend for the economy. It builds on an earlier campaign in 2017 which targeted the ‘lost generation’ of young Brits to take a holiday at home.

A new report just out suggests kitchen sales will rise by £50million in 2019, despite ongoing challenges for the £3billion kitchen products industry.
 
Based on kitchen suppliers’ data, the research by MTW Research found that higher-value rigid kitchen cabinets, cooking appliances, premium taps, and dishwashers are outperforming the kitchen market. However, the mid-market continues to experience a squeeze on both prices and profits, with online retailers continuing to gain share through aggressive pricing strategies.
 
Looking at the top 10 kitchen design trends in 2019, the report noted that designs are “more complex and nuanced than ever, as consumers seek enhanced personalisation of their kitchens rather than traditional ‘off the shelf’ solutions”. The wide-ranging innovation in kitchen design continues to support the higher-value kitchen market in 2019, whilst at the same time the ‘unobtrusive kitchen’ continues to gain share due to more smaller, urban ‘open plan living’ homes.
 
Commenting on the findings, MTW director Mark Waddy said: “Sophisticated consumers know that the old binary choice of ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’ kitchen design is defunct. The kitchen market is more complex than ever in terms of design, specification and purchasing criteria and several kitchen suppliers have fallen foul of rapid trend changes recently”.
 
MTW point to ‘urban’, ‘industrial’, ‘chic rustic’, ‘vintage’ and other kitchen designs driving the market in 2019. Knowledgeable consumers are seeking retailers and manufacturers who can help to create a distinctly personalised kitchen. The report identifies a number of growth opportunities in 2019, though warns that “suppliers slow to identify the new trends continue to languish in a fiercely competitive kitchen market with static volumes and a growing threat of price deflation”.
 
Based on data from companies reporting over £180million profit, the report finds that the ‘connected kitchen’ is driving value growth in the luxury kitchen market, with this impetus steadily filtering into the high-mid market. Smart extractors, voice-activated hobs and built-in cabinet smart speakers are just a few examples given that illustrate how kitchen retailers are integrating technology with kitchen cabinets, worktops, taps and appliances to differentiate kitchen designs.
 
On distribution trends, Waddy identifies, “a discernible shift in kitchen distribution for 2019,” adding: “Kitchen retailers have mostly won the battle against the sheds, who are repositioning to more traditional DIY market positions. Growth in the lower-value sector is likely to be elusive in 2019, forcing online and DIY channels to engage in a ‘battle royale’ on pricing, with profound implications for kitchen suppliers with poorly-defined market positions.”
 
Lower growth in the mass market is likely to be compounded by the ‘kitchen refresh’ trend in 2019, with cost-conscious consumers opting to switch-out doors, handles and taps, rather than undertake larger scale full kitchen refits. However, real-term growth is forecast to return to the market in H2 2020 according to MTW. Overall, the report depicts a cautiously positive kitchen market in 2019, though suppliers and retailers clearly need to identify the increasing number of pitfalls evident.”
 
For a quick prospect list of kitchen product-related companies in the database, check out the Lists section.
 US brand MOD Pizza is opening its 10th UK restaurant later this month, in Coventry.
 
The company, whose UK operation MOD UK is backed by Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone, will hit double figures when it opens its restaurant in the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre in the city.
 
MOD UK currently operates sites in London, Borehamwood, Leeds, Nottingham, Leicester, Romford, Watford and Gateshead.
 
“We are extremely excited to open in Coventry and bring MOD to this fantastic community,” says John Nelson, CEO of MOD Pizza UK.
 
MOD Pizza was founded in Seattle in 2008 by husband and wife team Scott and Ally Svenson and operates more than 390 restaurants in the US across 28 states. It made its UK debut in Leeds in 2016.
 
The company has been ranked as America’s fastest growing chain restaurant by Technomic and has more than tripled in size in terms of restaurant numbers in the US. However, its UK arm has expanded at a much slower rate despite the fact that it is headed up by Dunstone, who also brought US burger chain Five Guys to the UK through private company Freston Ventures and spearheaded its rapid rollout across the country.
 
MOD Pizza operates in the fast-casual pizza segment with a Subway-style ordering process that allows customers to create their own pizzas and salads choosing from a range of more than 30 toppings.
The Restaurant Group (TRG) believes that its acquisition last year of pan-Asian brand Wagamama will be transformative for the company.
 
In the group’s annual results for the year to 30 December 2018, the company said that the addition of Wagamama, comprising 133 sites, will help the business “address delivery opportunities via restaurants and delivery kitchens, pilot pan-Asian cuisine ‘food-to-go’ offerings, explore international growth options and deliver at least £22m of synergies”.
 
TRG, which spent £559m on the acquisition of Wagamama, reported a 2% drop in like-for-like sales, with total sales up to £686m.
 
The 12-month period also saw the concessions business open 21 new units and enter four new airports, while a record 21 pubs were launched.
 
Following the end of the reporting period, like-for-like sales were up 2.8% for the 10 weeks to 10 March 2019.
 
Andy McCue, chief executive officer of TRG, said: “We have made significant progress in 2018, acquiring a differentiated, high-growth business in Wagamama, opening a record number of new sites in both our pubs and concessions businesses, and driving improved like-for-like sales momentum in the leisure business throughout 2018. We now have a business that is orientated strongly towards growth and we continue to focus on delivering shareholder value.”
 
TRG operates a total of more than 650 restaurants and pub restaurants throughout the UK. Its brands include Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito.
McVitie’s today launched a comedy hero film for its new Jaffa Cakes Nibbles campaign, ‘Jaffa Whaaaaat?’, starring popular TV star Joey Essex. The integrated campaign sees McVitie’s pleading with Jaffa fans to help describe the new McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles, which launched last month, after the brand confessed it had no idea what it had created.
 
The humorous hero film, which is now live across the brand’s social media channels, is directed by Jack Clough from HunkyDory Films, best known for directing the multi award-winning comedy ‘People Just Do Nothing’ (2014) and ‘Skins’ (2007).
 
In the 37-second film, Jaffa Cakes lovers are seen enjoying their McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles in different moments – relaxing, working and commuting – before the star of the show, a pygmy goat* named ‘Nibbles’, appears everywhere they turn, like a scene from a horror film.
 
Joey Essex, who aptly portrays McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes playful and cheeky brand personality, is seen waiting in a beauty salon about to top up his orange tan while enjoying McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles, when out comes the curious goat from inside the tanning booth staring him down.
 
The amusing film aims to ignite a public debate around what the new McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles really are (is it a cake, biscuit, chocolate?) and encourage the nation to share their own ludicrous descriptions on social media, using the campaign hashtag #JaffaWhaaaaat.
 
It will run across multiple platforms including social media, radio and PR until 14 April 2019.
 
Emma Stowers, brand director for McVitie’s at pladis UK&I, said: “Whilst we made the new McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles irresistible to nibble, they’re totally impossible to describe and we’re slightly stumped. We’re asking the nation to unleash their playful, cheeky side and help us describe them in their own unique way. We’re very excited to launch this fun, playful campaign which truly reflects the McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes brand personality and allows us to engage with its fans.”
 
The campaign film was produced by The&Partnership London and is the first campaign for McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes from the UK-based agency.

Leading paint brand Dulux has launched a new partnership as part of its Colour of the Year 2019 initiative.
 
The joint venture with author and broadcaster, Fearne Cotton (pictured), is designed to help homeowners embrace colour in their home.
 
The collaboration with the TV personality will also help professional decorators communicate the best use of colour to their customers and encourage homeowners to embrace new, ‘on trend’ shades in their homes.
 
The videos produced with Fearne talk about how to create stylish interiors and will act as a tool for professional painters and decorators to demonstrate how and why the Dulux Colour of the Year, Spiced Honey™? and the supporting ColourFutures™? 2019 palettes work so well in the home.
 
Fearne says: “I’m fascinated by the science of colour and the power it has over mood and behaviour. Changing your home - your most personal space - has the power to create positive change in all areas of your life, from creating a space to think to empowering us to act. Spiced Honey™? is about fostering a sense of positivity with the outside world again. It’s about letting the light in.”
 
2019 marks the 16th year of the global ColourFutures annual trend forecast from Dulux Trade. An expert panel of colour designers, design specialists, trend forecasters, architects and editors from around the world joined together to capture a universal theme, resulting in a colour that suitably embodies our mood of the moment for the year ahead - leading to Spiced Honey to represent 2019.
 
Karen Wilkinson, Dulux Trade Marketing Lead comments: “Supporting professional decorators is a key priority and we know that their customers are often seeking reassurance before they commit to a new colour in the home.
 
"Fearne Cotton is someone that the homeowner audience can really relate to and we hope that by partnering with her and producing assets for everyone to see and use, we’re making the job that little bit easier for painters and decorators, who pride themselves on giving every customer a brilliant finish.
 
“It’s not an easy job to convince proud homeowners to trust you to redecorate their most personal spaces, so anything we can do to help our professional decorators to do this is worthwhile. Helping our trades professionals communicate the added benefits of colour in the home will help them build their businesses and stand out from the competition.”
German auto maker VW is demonstrating the true passion of the newly converted as it pushes deeper into electric vehicle making.
 
The company has announced that it will build 22m EV over the next 10 years, up 7m on its previous target. It will also boost the number of electric vehicle models it makes.
 
“We will significantly step up the pace of our transformation so as to make our company fit for the electric and digital era,” says company COO Ralf Brandstätter.
 
VW explained recently that it plans to invest $50bn over the next five years to transform itself into an EV maker, with strategy chief Michael Jost, adding that the company “was gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum”.
 
At the start of this year, the company launched a new unit, Elli, to provide energy offerings from renewable sources along with smart charging solutions.
The luxury perfume brand Jo Malone is taking over Victoria House in central London for a fragrance retail experience.
 
Jo Malone London will be opening a spring-themed pop-up in central London to showcase its limited edition Blossoms collection.
 
From 29 - 30 March, the Estée Lauder-owned company will be taking over Victoria House in Bloomsbury to introduce consumers to the art of fragrance.
 
An immersive light and sound display will showcase the concept throughout the venue and visitors can try marbling to create a unique box as well as learn about the process of glass tinting.
 
General access to the activation is complimentary and VIP tickets (RRP £25) include two fragrance masterclasses with master perfumers.
 
Large scale immersive experiences have become a popular marketing tactic for the brand in recent years.
In September, the company created a scaled down model its Georgian townhouse headquarters for a six month pop-up in Heathrow airport and encouraged shoppers to play a digital game – stepping inside one of the oversized, branded gift boxes.
Kepak Consumer Foods is rolling out a nationwide campaign for its Rustlers brand, in a move designed to “position it as the ideal hot lunch option”.
 
The “Construction Games ‘Lunch – Nailed It’” campaign will run from today (18 March) and feature TV personality Vogue Williams hosting a series of challenges carried out by celebrities.
 
The campaign will run across Rustlers social media channels and backed by radio and newspaper advertising.
 
Monisha Singh, shopper marketing manager at Kepak Consumer Foods, said: “The Construction Games campaign will drive trial and awareness and provides a really strong platform to position Rustlers as the ideal lunchtime option.
 
“The fact that a third of food-to-go shoppers eat their lunch at their workplace highlights the pivotal role that Rustlers plays in the lunchtime occasion.
 

“Lunchtime is the biggest occasion for Rustlers with more than 48% of all microwavable snacks eaten for lunch

Franchised agency has published research that claims the agency is beating its competitors on several fronts including time to completion.

According to the research, Ewemove has the best instruction-to-completion performance compared to its competitors and the company is poking fun at early detractors who ‘ridiculed’ its sheep logo.
 
Ewemove has employed data firm TwentyEA to research the market, and has now published figures that show it sells homes on average within 146 days of instruction, lower than the industry average of 169 days.
 
TwentyEA’s report also makes the extraordinary claim that Ewemove completes more houses than ‘average agents’ at 70% from new Instruction to completion and win an average of £2,200 more per sale for a typical property being marketed for £250,000.
 
“We’re proud of the report’s findings,” says Ewemove MD Nick Neill (left). “So now the time has come to no longer apologise for what we stand for and our Ewenice the Green Sheep logo.
 
“When EweMove launched in 2013 we were ridiculed for prioritising the delivery of exceptional levels of customer service and gaining fantastic results for sellers. We were also mocked for having a sheep as a logo.
 
“The Industry thought we were a joke, that they had it all sewn up and the way they did things was good enough.
 
“We disagreed and have now proven that a service led organisation with a customer first mentality wins through in the end. It goes to show that it’s not what the industry thinks that matters, it’s how the public and clients respond that makes or breaks your business.”
 
The TwentyEA data also suggests that it is growing at twice the rate of both its traditional and online/hybrid agent competitors when measured by number of instructions.


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