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A thriving start to a new year


Good day to you, how has the first month of the year treated you?  Well I hope…hard to believe that it is drawing to a close so soon.  Without dwelling on how quickly we are hurtling into 2016 on to the latest news from the industry.

First things first, a quick overview of who’s hot and who’s not.  As always John Lewis are doing well and have reported a year-on-year sales increase of 7.1%, with online sales climbing by 22.3% due to consumers shopping to combat the colder weather.  Card Factory have also had cause to celebrate with their like-for-likes edging up to 2.8% in 2015 – another year of consistent strong growth.  Amazon have recorded their largest quarterly profit with a total revenue growth of 22%, ensuring the company comfortably passed the £100bn sales mark.

Dixon Carphone reported that sales of mobile phones helped them to achieve strong Christmas sales but they will be closing 134 shops this year, the majority of which will be the standalone shops remaining for each brand.  Shockingly it is Apple who are predicting their first decline since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, as their final quarter sales in 2015 reveal the slowest growth in sales to date.  They are forecasting sales of £35bn-£37bn for the 1st quarter of this year, while the same period last year saw sales of £40bn.

It seems to be Jeweller’s in the spotlight at the moment when it comes to new stores.  French jewellery brand APM Monaco is looking to expand in the UK and Europe, following on from its global success, and will open its first UK store in London’s South Molton Street; advised by Savills, they have taken out a lease that will see their presence remain in London for several years to come.  Green + Benz, another jewellers, have opened a new store next to the 800 year old open air market in Chesterfield.  Designed by Innovare Design, they have created a warm and plush bespoke retail environment befitting of the unique brand.

This week also saw news highlighting how important the creative industries are to UK economic growth.  Statistics released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport show that creative businesses contributed £77.1bn to the British economy in 2013 which increased by £7bn the following year, accounting for 5.1% of the economy in total.  It is a fantastic time to be part of such a growing industry.

Here is a breakdown of the findings to put things into perspective;

  • Design is the UK’s fastest-growing creative sector and is worth £3.2 billion a year to the country’s economy
  • The design sector grew in value by 16.6% from 2013-2014 – faster than any other creative sector.
  • The creative industries sector as a whole is growing at 8.9% a year and is the second fastest-growing UK sector behind construction
  • The UK’s creative industries generate nearly £9.6m an hour for the UK economy
  • The crafts sector is worth £288m a year
  • The advertising and marketing sector is valued at £13.2bn
  • Jobs were up 5.5% in creative sector between 2013 and 2014, compared to a national average increase of just 2.1%

It seems that January 2016 has been a pretty good month all around, and that goes for all at Straco Towers too with lots of placements on the board, new opportunities to work on and carrying out lots of training to make sure we provide the best service possible!  There have also been some fantastic new ideas for the year ahead, which includes the new staff on the horizon, so this is most certainly the place to be.

The big news this week has been our Recruitment Director, Simon, taking on the role of Managing Director as of the 1st February.  He will be hanging up his recruiting gloves (though we are sure they might be put on at the weekend and the odd evening!) to concentrate on overseeing the team and directing the business to the next level, passing on his extensive knowledge and developing everyone individually as well as collaboratively.

Not wanting to overload you with an excess of news and excitement from this week’s blog it is now time to bid you adieu.  Until the next time, in the words of Steve Jobs, “stay hungry, stay foolish”.


If you don’t see a role for you, still send us your CV because new opportunities arise all the time and you might just be what our client is looking for.

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