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Liberty partners with HERO to launch virtual shopping experience

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Liberty store in London, UK
The iconic Liberty store, near Oxford street, opened in London in 1875.

LibertyLondon’s iconic department store, has partnered with HERO® to bring its unique in-person experience to online shoppers. The new virtual shopping service connects online customers live with a department-specific expert in the Liberty store through chat and video consultations. Virtual shopping brings the Liberty store to life online, and shoppers love it: Customers that are virtual shopping with Hero are spending an average of 78% more when interacting with rich imagery and video content from in-store.

Liberty’s partnership with Hero follows the retailer’s global rebrand. Customers from anywhere can now connect with a Liberty store associate in-store when shopping online to receive product recommendations, photos, and video consultations, and ask detailed questions at the tap of a button. Amidst the latest UK lockdown, customers have initiated thousands of virtual shopping sessions on LibertyLondon.com, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds in sales.

“Liberty prides itself on the experience of inspiration and discovery that comes from our store” said Eric Fergusson, E-commerce Director at Liberty. “We’ve taken several steps to permanently bring this feeling to life for our shoppers online, during the current lockdowns and long after. Hero has allowed us to make our store associates central to that experience.”

Liberty’s store associates also use Hero to follow what customers are shopping for in real-time, making it easy to share personalised product recommendations just like they would in-store. They are able to stay in touch with customers and share product updates by text, recommend complementary items, or send notifications when a product is back in stock. To learn more or to connect with a Liberty product expert, visit www.libertylondon.com

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Hospitality industry in the UK threatened by staff shortages

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Two housekeepers making a hotel bed
Housekeepers are expected to receive a 7.4% pay rise, but UK businesses still struggle to recruit staff | Photo: Liliana Drew

The hospitality and leisure sector’s post-pandemic recovery, in the UK, could be severely hampered by the lack of staff, a new report from a British bank has revealed.

“UK Hospitality’s Next Challenge”, a study from Barclays Corporate Banking, shows that the release of pent-up consumer demand for socialising, holidays and experiences following the pandemic has given a boost to the sector. Over three quarters (77%) of H&L operators are confident of growth this year, and had predicted an average 30.5% uplift in revenue compared with pre-pandemic levels. This equates to a £36bn² rise in annual turnover over 2019, and a £54bn increase on 2021.

However, the predicted growth could be stifled by soaring supplier costs and a scramble for talent. Hospitality and leisure businesses report that their transport costs have already spiked by over 38% year-on-year on average, and their utility bills by 37%.

Meanwhile, over nine in 10 (94%) hospitality and leisure businesses are struggling to recruit personnel, with vacancies for cleaning staff (20%), front of house staff (18%), and delivery staff (16%) causing the most issues. There are particularly acute shortages of cleaners in the East Midlands and the East of England (28%).

Almost a fifth (16%) of bars and restaurants are finding it difficult to hire waiting staff, and over two fifths of gyms and leisure centres (42%) cannot find fitness instructors. Recruitment issues also extend to back-of-house and C-suite roles: 17% of operators are having trouble sourcing finance staff and 16% said the same about senior management positions.

“Crucially for the industry, our research shows that talent shortages are also a major concern, with businesses in every vertical finding it challenging to fill their vacancies. It means there is now an added imperative for hospitality and leisure firms to find new and novel ways to recruit, reward and retain their staff.” – says Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure at Barclays Corporate Banking.

Hospitality and leisure operators are already establishing new incentives to recruit and retain talent, including permanent work flexibility, the introduction of bonuses, and an increase in staff welfare budgets.

Almost one in five employers (19%) have also increased wages given to staff. Senior managers are set to receive the biggest boost to their pay packets, with an average increase of 7.7% – equivalent to £2,014 a year for a full-time worker. Delivery riders, housekeepers and kitchen staff are also expected to see their wages rise in 2022.

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Contemporary artist Demit Omphroy partners with GAP for NTF collection

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Artists Demit Omphroy on the streets
Partnership: the limited-edition is Demit Omphroy’s first digital series of NFTs | Photo: Instagram

Contemporary artist and former professional soccer player Demit Omphroy is partnering with GAP for its third collection of limited-edition non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

As the brand, founded in 1969, continues to explore new channels to engage customers in the rapidly evolving digital ecosystem, this spring, Demit launched a limited-edition graphic tee collection featuring his unique and recognizable work, and now the artist is launching his first NFTs with Gap. Demit’s art depicts life through vibrant colors and an expressionistic style, seeing the world through his inner child.  

“My work is playful, expressive, and simplistic, yet loaded with emotion. Being able to express myself through a new digital medium and collaborate with Gap, one of the most iconic brands in history, is exciting for me as a creator.” – celebrates the American artist who is also a citizen of Panama and the Philippines through descent.

On June 15, the One of a Kind digital auction will begin, featuring single edition digital art and a custom, hand-painted Gap denim jacket by Demit.  

In July, Gap x DOGAMÍ NFT wearables will launch as the first fashion collaboration in the petaverse. Digital Gap logo hoodies specifically designed for DOGAMÍ avatars will engage players to express their virtual pet’s individual style that will have a direct impact on game stats. 

“Partnering with unique artists and creators is a cornerstone of our NFT program,” – says Chris Goble, Chief Product Officer at Gap. “We are thrilled to collaborate with Demit and to create this vibrant collection of NFTs and product that amplifies his voice and represents his distinct individual style.”  

The Gap Threads marketplace and DOGAMÍ are both built on Tezos, a more energy efficient blockchain, allowing for minimal energy consumption and a low carbon footprint. Customers can also join Gap’s Discord server to connect, engage, and foster a community with other fans of Gap NFTs. The Discord server can be accessed at discord.gg/gapthreads.

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Samsung showcases bespoke appliances at EuroCucina 2022

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Models showcasing a new Samsung kitchen in Milan
Ready to cook: Samsung is showcasing its new appliances in Milan, including an oven that uses intuitive AI technology

Samsung Electronics is showcasing its latest home appliance technologies at the EuroCucina 2022 event, a biennial exhibition dedicated to the world of kitchen furnishings being held in Milan, Italy.

The South Korean multinational founded in in the 60’s is using 800m2 booth to display a bespoke products in various themes including modern and European stylings. It is the first time the brand is showcasing the new home products in Europe, with visitors being able to experience how some appliances of their latest range can intelligently work together to automate everyday tasks with Samsung’s SmartThings Home Life, a hub for six major home services.

“We are pleased to be back at the EuroCucina event, this year showcasing our all-new Bespoke Home 2022 lineup of products for the European consumers and we are excited for visitors to enjoy a comprehensive look at how our latest innovations come together to offer leading home life experiences.” – says Martin Kanghyup Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics referring to a new range of appliances. Some of them are using intuitive AI technology and an advanced steam cooking function to make preparing meals more convenient.

The EuroCucina 2022 expo will run until next Sunday, June 12th, and over 100 companies are taking part this year.

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