Total Business Magazine

This Week’s 5 Must-Read Stories You May Have Missed

Coinbase shakes up the payment landscape with the launch of its new Visa debit card, Asos’s profits plunge due to unforeseen issues in its transformation plans and Disney hits the streaming market with the launch of new platform Disney+.

We caught up with our columnist, business transformation expert, author of The Interim Revolution and founder and CEO of Sullivan and Stanley, Pat Lynes, to discuss the biggest news stories you wouldn’t have wanted to miss last week.

1. Coinbase launches Visa debit card

Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase is allowing its customers to spend their digital currency in stores and online with the launch of its new Visa debit card. The card which is the first of its kind in the UK, will see Coinbase convert customers cryptocurrency including bitcoin into pounds. An accompanying mobile app, which records transaction summaries and receipts has been launched alongside the new card.

As the cryptocurrency landscape has seen a lull over the coming months, it’s a logical move by Coinbase and one which I am surprised we haven’t seen sooner. For the banking and payment sector it’s another huge disruption, which if successful will transform the cryptocurrency landscape and cause fresh competition to the already existing establishments.

2. Asos’s profits plunge

Following a difficult year, online fashion retailer Asos has seen its profits plunge. The company blamed the “disruption” caused by major investment in its warehouses, logistics and technology for its pre-tax profits plummeting to £4 million. Despite a 14% rise in sales to £1.3 billion, Asos said its “transformation plans” had hit its creative teams and product ranges, which in turn damaged its important customer perception.

As a big disruptor to the retail world, especially in the online shopping space, it’s interesting to now see Asos struggling to transform and innovate. Its significant loss has proven how important it is to not only prepare for change, but to keep the customer at the heart of the business by including them on the journey and collating feedback to create strong, trusted relationships.

3. The world’s biggest Primark opens its doors in Birmingham

As the media is flooded daily with failing high street stories, it’s great to see a positive expansion story with the launch of Primark’s new Birmingham store. Spanned across five floors and covering 161,000 sq ft, it occupies the former Pavilions Shopping Centre and features a Disney-themed cafe, a beauty studio and barber shop.

Successfully owning the ‘stack them high, sell them cheap’ retail market, it’s a bold move by Primark to broaden its offering and provide an immersive customer experience, which is generally seen to be provided by the higher end brands such as Selfridges. It is clear, unlike many failing high street brands, Primark has listened to its customers and evaluated the market to offer a new concept to its ever-expanding franchise.

4. Disney hits the streaming market

It’s been a long-time coming but Disney finally announced the launch of its own streaming service – Disney+. Set to feature new original content including three Marvel TV series and a new Star Wars series, Disney is trying to walk in the footsteps of Netflix, in a hope to compete with the online streaming leader.

As Disney begins to remove its content from already existing streaming platforms, it will need to keep innovating and transforming at a rapid pace to stay ahead of the game and be a real competitor in this already saturated market.

5. Arcadia retail empire prepares for major overhaul

In a bid to deliver a company-wide overhaul, Sir Philip Green has drafted two restructuring specialists to the board of Arcadia Group. As the company prepares to cut pension payments and shut stores, Jamie Drummond Smith, chairman of the finance group Cattles and Peter Bloxham, ex-head of restructuring and insolvency at law firm Freshfields, will help Arcadia embark on this journey.

When undertaking a huge company-wide transformation it is important to have the right people leading the charge. Bringing experts from outside the fold creates another layer of experience and insight, which accelerates capability and more often than not results in success. At Sullivan & Stanley we are experts in transformation, parachuting interim ‘SWAT teams’ of top 5% executives drawn from our network which we call The Change Society, into businesses to solve problems and drive change. With this in mind, we’ll be keeping a close eye on Arcadia Group’s upcoming change plans.

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