US department store Macy’s to introduce mobile checkout-free shopping

US department store Macy’s to introduce mobile checkout-free shopping

Major US department chain Macy’s have announced plans to introduce a new mobile checkout platform within their stores. The platform will allow customers to skip the checkout and pay using their smartphone. Customers will be able to by scan bar codes on items with their phone within the Macy’s mobile app.

The feature will be first introduced in the brand’s Bloomingdale’s store in New York’s Soho neighbourhood and is expected in all Macy’s stores by the end of this year. . To use the service, customers will need to download the free Macy’s app and join Macy’s free Wi-Fi network. As they browse the assortment, customers can scan the items they wish to purchase using their phone’s camera and the app’s built-in scanner. As part of Macy’s ongoing price simplification strategy, the app will easily allow customers to apply relevant offers and rewards to eligible purchases. Once they are ready to checkout, they can pay on the app with their pre-registered credit card to complete the transaction.

From there, customers will be directed to special Mobile Checkout counters set up in close proximity to store exits to have sales assistants verify the purchase, remove security tags, and bag their items.

“As part of our ‘test, iterate and scale’ model for innovation, we are excited to expand our launch of Mobile Checkout powered by the Macy’s app, providing our customers with the opportunity to self-serve and speed their transactions with us in-store,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. “We think of the Macy’s app as a key we hand to our customers, a key that allows them to unlock an enhanced shopping experience – a world of possibilities. With this powerful tool in hand, we give them the opportunity to engage with us on their terms. And we keep adding exciting new features to it based on what they tell us.”

Macy’s is one of America’s most iconic retailers. The company employs over 130,000 people and operates more than 690 department stores under it’s Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s brand long with 160 specialty stores that include Bloomingdale’s The Outlet, Bluemercury and Macy’s Backstage.

Job vacancies in hotel sector increased 200% in last five years

Job vacancies in the hotel sector have increased by almost 200% from 2013- 2017 according to

The job board said demand for key hotel roles such as hotel chef, bartenders, waiters, receptionists, porters, cocktail mixologists and concierges have all increased hugely. Every role has experienced growth in the last five years, particularly since 2016. Vacancies for hotel chefs increased by 149 percent over the five-year period and although vacancies were down by 9pc in 2017 compared to 2016, the number remains high. Hotel bartending, mixologist and concierge vacancies all soared by 80 percent in 2017 compared to just the year before.

Ireland’s hotel sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience,” said Christopher Paye, general manager of Despite a drop in visitors and revenue from the crucial British market, 2016 proved to be a turning point for the sector, thanks to rising numbers of tourists from the rest of Europe, North America and Asia. Paye continues, “However, there is a mounting risk that demand for workers will outstrip supply, and this is already proving the case for chefs,” and he warns the growth of Ireland’s tourism industry will be “short-lived” if the skills shortages are left unaddressed.

The hospitality sector is worth €7.2bn to the Irish economy and supports an estimated 235,000 jobs. There was welcome news for the sector last week when Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys announced changes to employment permit regulations which saw the removal of certain chef grades from the ineligible occupation list. These changes will make it easier to source chefs from outside the European Economic Area.

Meanwhile, hotel group Dalata has said it expects to add some 300 jobs in Ireland this year thanks to the opening of three new hotels, two in Dublin and one in Cork. The new properties are expected to open by the end of the year.

Dunnes stay top of growing grocery market as shoppers spend extra €96m

Dunnes remain top of growing grocery market as Irish shoppers grocery spend increased by €96 million compared to the same period last year.

The Irish grocery market continues to show positive momentum with the latest figures from Kantar Worldpanel, showing growth hit 3.9%. Dave Berry, director at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “Shoppers have spent an additional €96 million on groceries over the latest 12 weeks compared to last year and two factors have led to this growth. “First, shoppers are choosing to buy slightly more expensive items and this is reflected in continued sales growth for brands. Second, customers have picked up more items during their weekly shop, with the cost of the average trip 60c more than this time last year.”

Dunnes Stores remain in the top spot, despite growth falling slightly compared to the previous period, from 5.7% to 5%. Tesco sits in second place but top the charts in terms of growth in the three month period ending 25th February. Berry said: “Tesco tops the charts in terms of growth this month, with sales increasing by almost 7% and market share hitting 22.3%. This time last year the retailer was facing a number of store closures due to strike activity and its most recent performance is reflective of this. The strongest performance for Tesco has been among younger shoppers, with share among the young family demographic increasing from 26.5% last year to 29.3% this year.”

SuperValu sits in third position with market share of 22.0% placing it just 0.3 percentage points behind Tesco. SuperValu continues to build performance outside of its traditional base – with the areas are young families, where market share has increased by almost 2%, and Dublin, where sales have increased by 3.5% performing particularly strong for the retailer. Lidl is the second strongest growing retailer, with an uplift in sales of 5.9%. An increase in shopper loyalty is behind this, with shoppers returning to the store more frequently – resulting in an extra 780,000 trips for Lidl this period compared with last year.

Having previously reported a decline in sales, Aldi’s performance returned to form. Sales have increased by 1.3% and market share stands at 10.6% – just 0.2 percentage points behind Lidl.

Hospitality industry welcomes relaxed work permits for chefs

The hospitality industry has welcomed changes to work permit regulations that aim to make it easier to hire chefs from outside the European Union.

The changes remove some chef grades from the ineligible occupation list, meaning that if an employer has difficulty filling a vacancy they can look outside the EU for a suitably qualified person. The grades that were taken off the ineligible list include executive, head and sous chefs with a minimum of five years’ experience at that level, and chefs de partie, with a minimum of two years’ experience at that level. A quota will apply to the scheme, with a limit of two general employment permits per establishment and an overall quota of general employment permits of 610.

The decision was signed off by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys. Speaking about the decision she said, “My decision to remove certain chef grades from the ineligible lists will ensure that there is a mechanism to address the shortage of qualified chefs in the short term,” she said. “I have applied a quota to ensure that in the longer term the demand for chefs is met from a steady supply in the Irish labour market and, to that end, I am aware of the work that is underway to increase the supply of chefs through training initiatives such as the development of a new commis chef apprenticeship and a chef de partie apprenticeship.”

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) welcomed the changes. “The hospitality industry in Ireland has been under significant strain in recent years in regard to staffing, and allowing more skilled professionals to enter the industry can only encourage further growth in this sector,” said Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the RAI. “The Restaurants Association of Ireland has been lobbying on this issue since 2012. There is an urgent need for 7,000 chefs per year to service our industry.”

The RAI previously warned the shortage of chefs was growing at a rate of 3,000 per year due to a lack of training places, and it had called on the Government to relax the work permit restrictions. The association claimed the shortage was limiting the expansion of the hospitality industry.


Opening date for Krispy’s Kreme first Irish store announced

After months of anticipation, the opening date for Ireland’s first Krispy Kreme has been announced.

The US doughnut giant is opening in the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre after receiving planning permission from Fingal County Council yesterday. The news comes nearly two years after the possibility of an Irish Krispy Kreme hit the news.The planning permission granted to the retailer allows for a large ‘factory store’, a retail and production unit in the shopping centre, including a drive-thru. All going to plan, customers can expect an October opening date for the store. All 16 varieties of Krispy Kreme’s doughnuts will be available in share boxes or individually. The drive-through option will be available seven days per week. Kreme shakes, tea, coffee and other refreshments will also be available in-store and to take away.

According to the Irish Sun, Ireland Country Director Alex Drysdale said: “It is with great excitement that we today announce that the OG of doughnuts, Krispy Kreme Original Glazed, is coming to Ireland this October along with many other delicious flavours for Irish customers to enjoy.” He said “Our Blanchardstown build is underway and we will soon be announcing recruitment details for our Irish operation. We look forward to welcoming all our Irish fans, and those yet to have their first Krispy Kreme experience, through our doors and our drive-thru this October.”

Founded in 1937 by Vernon Rudolph in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Krispy Kreme is a listed company with more than 1,300 stores in 31 countries

Redevelopment set to begin on Portumna’s Shannon Oaks hotel

Work is set to begin on the redevelopment of the old Shannon Oaks hotel in Portumna after the hotel was badly damaged by fire in 2011.

The redevelopment is set to begin in the next few months, meaning the hotel could be potentially open for business by the end of the summer. The redevelopment is part of a €2 million plus investment by the hotel’s new owners, the Comer Group. The development also includes several holiday homes and chalets.

The Shannon Oaks hotel suffered extensive damage after a fire in 2011, a devastating loss for the town of Portumna, located on the banks of Lodge Derg and heavily dependent on tourism. The redevelopment would result in a major multi-million euro boost to the South East Galway town and is expected to have the capacity to create an additional 500 jobs in the town.

The Comers, originally from Glenamaddy, own some 40 hotels across the world and eight in Ireland including Nox in Co.Galway, the Glashaus Hotel in Tallaght, Dublin and Palmerstown House in Kildare. Luke Comer told The Connacht Tribune that he intends to restore the hotel to its former glory. “We have purchased the property and we want to turn it into a new state of the art hotel in Portumna where we feel has loads of potential. We have put the project out to tender and obviously, we would prefer to secure a local builder. “It is in a prime location and we would hope that the new hotel would be up and running by the end of the summer. I understand that there are two local contractors involved in the process.”

Retailers deal with aftermath of Storm Emma

As the thaw continues, retailers around the country are counting the cost of the last week’s weather disruption where heavy snowfall and the Red Weather Alerts saw many forced to close their doors from Wednesday. Some businesses have still not re-opened in the aftermath of the severe weather.

Lorraine Higgins, deputy chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland, said different sectors experienced varying degrees of disruption. “The focus on grocery purchases meant that purchases in other sectors were postponed. Huge losses were incurred as a consequence of being closed for five days. It’s the loss of sales, employee costs and general clean-up costs that they are facing now,” she explained. Ms Higgins said retailers are now trying to encourage footfall back into their stores after several days of closures and some quiet days over the weekend. “Retailers who had an e-commerce capacity were advertising online quite heavily. It’s been a difficult time for many sectors so I’d be encouraging people to go out and support retailers with a physical store presence and divert some of the spend from businesses overseas to retailers here.”

According to Miss Higgins, the big winners from spending in the online sphere are overseas retailers that do not have a physical presence here, with an estimated two-thirds of spending online by Irish consumers leaving the country. “Many discerning retailers with an online capacity here had sales of 15-20% to encourage people to spend online over the past few days. But that comes at the expense of heavy advertising,” she said. “What this points to is the need for retailers to have ‘omnichannel strategies.’ They’re becoming increasingly important in light of the frequency of recent weather events,” Lorraine Higgins concluded.

The heavy snow presented numerous challenges for grocery stores, which saw huge demand for fresh food in supermarkets over the weekend. Retail group BWG Foods has revealed a Brennan’s Sliced Pan was the number one item in demand over the last few days, followed by litres of milk, 6 packs of eggs, firelighters and wine.

IHF Conference- The Key Take Home Points

Not even the looming threat of the Beast from the East could put a damper on the success of the Irish Hotel Federation’s annual conference last week. Held in the Slieve Russell Hotel, the conference included a fantastic line-up of speakers, interesting insights and informative discussions. General Manager of Excel Recruitment Shane Mclave talks through the main talking points from the event.

2017 success for the industry

There was plenty of positivity new stories from the event. According to IHF chief executive Tim Fenn, 2017 was another strong year for Irish hotels and guesthouses and the seventh year in a row that overseas visitor numbers have grown. The average national room occupancy rate was 73% during the year, a figure driven by a substantial increase in visitor numbers from the US and continental Europe, as well as from the domestic market. This was welcome news for hoteliers and helped to offset the drop in visitors from the UK, where numbers continue to fall. Fenn asserted that the outlook for the sector remains positive with hoteliers confident about the future growth of the tourism and hospitality industry.

Craic alone not enough for tourism

Niall Gibbons of Tourism Ireland also discussed the dramatic drop in British visitors and said “the craic” won’t be enough to recover plummeting visitor numbers. Mr Gibbions said Ireland must hone in on outdoor activities to entice visitors from Great Britain, which is the country’s biggest tourism market. Visitor numbers from Britain have fallen steadily since the Brexit referendum vote in June 2016 and dropped 6% last year to 4.7 million visits. As a result, tourism officials have focused more on opening up ‘emerging’ markets like India and China and winning more business from North America and mainland Europe. Tourism chiefs are hoping to look beyond traditional boozy holidays and hope to win more business in the activities market. Daragh Feighery who will be opening the much anticipated Center Parcs in Longford gave us a sneak peek at what is in store for what will be a huge jewel in the crown for the Midlands with over 1000 staff in employment once the doors are open to the public mid-2019

End to the Chef Crisis in sight?

One of the most exciting talking points from the conference came from TD Brendan Griffin, Minister for State and Tourism. The TD casually mentioned that changes to work regulations for work permits are on the cards for 2018, potentially easing the country’s chef shortage. The statement was met with huge support and enthusiasm from all, particularly hoteliers and business owners all too familiar with the struggle of recruiting and retaining chefs.

Nikki Murran, Excel Recruitment's Director of Grocery Retail Recruitment

Grocery Retail Salary Survey 2018- The Bullet Points

Excel Recruitment are delighted to present our 2018 Grocery Retail Salary Survey with full salary scales for the grocery sector. 2017 was most definitely an interesting year for retail and recruitment. In this blog, Head of Grocery Nikki Murran discusses the main findings and their impact on the industry.


Candidate’s Market and Counter Offers

The economy is growing, wages are rising and the unemployment rate is currently sitting at 6.1%. This is obviously great news but in recruitment terms, it means we are definitely seeing a shift towards a candidate’s market. The competition for top talent is fierce and counter-offers are becoming more and more frequent, with employers working hard to keep talented staff.

Minimum Wage

The increase in minimum wage in January has had a significant impact on the entire grocery retail industry. We have witnessed incremental increases across the industry as the minimum wage hike has caused a knock-on effect across all levels of junior staff in the trade.

Young Talent

Another noticeable side-effect of the recent economic growth is the distinct pattern of young talent leaving retail in favour of other industries. These workers, mainly at trainee level, are often college-educated and eager to pursue a career in their field of study. Others are leaving as they are turned off pursuing a retail career by the idea of long-hours and unsociable shifts or simply don’t see enough progression in their current role.

Fresh Food

In the industry in the area of fresh foods, particularly for Deli Managers, Deli Supervisors, Fresh Food Managers, Bakers and Butchers. It’s an interesting time for fresh foods, with a renewed excitement and passion for the category visible across the industry. Savvy retailers are focused on energising, innovating and expanding their offering and we are seeing a substantial investment in fresh food talent as a result.

To view the Salary Survey and its findings in full, click here.