August 6, 2014

Ah Mr Grey, we’ve been expecting you…

I’ve been trying to think of the last time the pleasure products sector had a ‘real world’ event to look forward to which it can capitalise on, and I can’t think of a single example. I am not referring to annual occasions, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, when we are competing with every other [...]
April 3, 2014

Which companies are winning friends…

Just as the April issue was being put to bed I took a sneaky peek at the nominations we’d received for this year’s ETO Awards. I was delighted for two reasons. Firstly, because the way the shortlists are shaping up it looks like we will be calling some new names to the stage this year; [...]
October 8, 2013

Licensed retailer? You owe Tim Hemming a drink

If you’re a licensed retailer you should be interested in Paul Smith’s feature on page 28 of the latest issue. Over a two month period he contacted 100 councils around the UK and asked if they had considered the precedent set by the Court of Appeal earlier this year [Soho retailers vs Westminster City Council, [...]
August 29, 2013

A polarising of industry opinion

I’ve noticed a definite polarising of industry opinion regarding Fifty Shades of Grey in recent months. Those closest to the brand – and it has been a brand, not just a book, for almost a year – and those selling it are no doubt delighted that it is continuing to extend its reach into almost [...]
June 12, 2013

The lifeblood of our industry

As I write this there’s definitely a bit of a buzz in the air surrounding this month’s ETO Show. It’s easy to be cynical about trade shows, and some people are – regardless of which event they are visiting. “Same old shit but in a different box,” one retailer said to me last year at [...]
May 9, 2013

It’s that time of year again…

In the last issue we revealed the finalists for the 2013 ETO Awards and I’d like to pass on my sincere congratulations to every single finalist. Whether you go on to win your category or not, you have already beaten off stiff competition to get to this stage and can feel justly proud that your [...]
March 8, 2013

So farewell then AITA

In the March issue of ETO we look back at the life and times of AITA, the operatic-sounding trade association which is facing its final curtain. I was planning to run a standard-size feature recording AITA’s highlights but, when I actually did the looking back, there were a lot more than I remembered and it [...]
February 28, 2013

Lessons from the High Street

The poor old British High Street took a bit of a kicking earlier this year when specialist retail chains Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster called in administrators within days of each other.
December 7, 2012

The UK needs a flagship consumer event, now more than ever

I strongly suspect that 2012 has been the best year ever for pleasure products, with so many previously niche items finding their way into the mainstream and retailer after retailer reporting record sales figures. Who, this time last year, would have possibly predicted that at one point in the summer there would be a global [...]
November 7, 2012

The chain store massacre

I am indebted to William W Watt for the quote: “Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say.”