COMMERCIAL ALUMINIUM SHOPFRONTS
We stand for quality, value for money, honesty and unrivalled customer service. Our dedicated and reliable in-house team of experts assures unrivalled product excellence and second-to-none customer service. As a reputable market leader, our Health & Safety credentials and building regulations knowledge - including the Disability Discrimination Act – affords unequivocal expertise.
From the initial consultation and survey, to the technical planning and design, and the manufacture and installation; everything we do is planned with precision and comes with reliable after-sales care.
Aluminium Shopfront Installation Specialists
We have developed a reputation for delivering high-quality, hand-crafted products with a reliably quick turnaround. We pride ourselves in providing an outstanding service and have become a leader in the fenestration industry. Our experts have been privileged to work with a variety of large, reputable businesses and organisations.
In a world of stiff competition, we appreciate that being able to make a strong, long-lasting first impression is important. What better way to achieve this than by making the exterior of your building stand out from the crowd? With the help of our highly-skilled, creative engineers, this is entirely possible. A new, fully branded entrance or cleverly renovated office or shopfront is crucial to converting passing footfall into loyal custom. Our industry expertise will help you to make a big statement.
By recognising that quality is paramount, from the initial consultation right through to installation and after-care, our services are completed with pride in our work and client satisfaction in our minds. With most construction projects, timing is crucial and that is why we complete our tasks as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality.
As all our products come with a twelve-month guarantee, you will have complete peace of mind in the knowledge that you are making a sound investment.
© Copyright RossographerWith the loss of almost 30,000 UK jobs, the dramatic collapse of retail chain Woolworths in 2008 sent shock waves rippling through the high street. After 129 years' trading, analysts wondered how the former global brand could have crashed so suddenly, with little warning.The first Woolworths had opened in New York City in 1879 and the company had continually expanded throughout the 20th century, making record profits of £105.1 million in 1998. Yet 10 years later, the rise and fall of Woolworths was complete, as 800 UK stores closed their doors for the final time.So, whatever happened to Woolworths, and how did such a massive brand fall victim to the challenging economic climate of the 21st century? OriginsAmerican entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth was just 24 years old when he launched his first shop in Utica, New York, on 22nd February 1878. He called it Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store, which was the equivalent of today's discount stores, such as the £1 shop.This was the beginning of the concept of the five-and-dime store, or the variety store, when a shop would sell a wide assortment of cheap items for household and personal use. Woolworths became known as the "cheap and cheerful" shop, where all the products cost five cents each.In addition, the store introduced a new way of serving customers. Prior to this, it was normal to give the retailer a list of what you wanted, as a lot of goods were kept behind the counter, so the shopkeeper could personally serve the customer.The new Woolworth shop was revolutionary, in that the merchandise was on open shelves that the public could access themselves. This enabled them to browse the products and choose what they wanted at their leisure, without the aid of a retail assistant.Pioneering the modern methods of merchandising, direct purchasing, sales and customer services which are still in use today, this created a retail model which has been followed worldwide. ExpansionOn 18th July 1879, Frank Woolworth joined forces with his younger brother Charles Sumner Woolworth, who was 23, to open another store of the same name in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The second store was an even bigger success than the first and the Woolworth brothers had invented a money-making formula with their five-and-dime chain.They continued to open new stores during the late 19th century throughout the United States. By 1904, they had already built their own empire and had expanded into Canada too.In November 1909, the first UK Woolworths opened on Church Street in Liverpool. The highest price of any item in the shop was 6d - the shop was a huge hit! It received a lot of favourable publicity in the newspapers, where it was described as stocking an "infinite" selection of wares.The brothers had initially operated as the Woolworth Syndicate but their brand name changed to the FW Woolworth Company in 1912.By the mid-1920s, they were opening one new shop every 17 days! In the UK, Woolworths' familiar red fascia and brand name on the high street was welcomed, as it was a kind of seal of approval for their town centre. 20th-century successThe UK Woolworth business empire was being managed by William Stephenson by the 1940s. Frank Woolworth had trained the former freight clerk, who had become his protégé.Stephenson had impressed Frank when he worked for a supplier of the five-cent stores in the early days. He had worked his way up through the company to a managerial role, although he remained a hands-on type of person. Following Frank's death in 1919, Charles Woolworth managed the business with Stephenson.By the 1940s, around 500 Woolworth stores had opened in Britain and it was the biggest high street chain of its era. The expansion continued throughout the next two decades. In 1958, the 1,000th store was opened in Britain in Hove and the chain reached its peak in the late 1960s, when there were 1,141 high street branches.Woolworths was famous for its Christmas shopping campaigns. It became a winter wonderland of festive cheer, Christmas decorations, Santa's grotto in the larger stores and every toy imaginable.It was also famous for its pick and mix sweets, loved by kids and adults alike as they would fill their paper bag with a selection of chocolates and candies of their choice. Seeds of failureIn the 1970s, Woolworth began closing down an average of 15 stores per year but stated this was to fund more modern stores and insisted the brand wasn't downsizing. By the start of the 1980s, there were still around 1,000 UK shops on the high street.The 1980s proved a challenging decade for the retailer. The US parent company sold out in 1982 and the UK arm became independent, forming Woolworths Group plc. However, for the first time, high street stores were closing, without any new ones opening.Woolworths' foray into the large out-of-town hypermarket format (which had begun in the 1960s) wasn't a success and most had been sold by the early 1980s. The management reorganised the merchandise into specific categories, including home, entertainment, kids' toys, clothing and confectionery, but the brand went into a decline and many branches were downsized. The older branches in cities often occupied premises that were as large as a department store and some of these were downsized, or closed altogether. Where did it go wrong?There appeared to be no clearly-defined reason for Woolworths' gradual decline, although business analysts at the BBC described it as having become "something of a lame duck retailer" and claimed it had been losing significant market share against intense competition from newcomers on the high street.Consumers and business leaders were left wondering where it had all gone wrong in 2008 when Woolworths came to a sad end. There were accusations that it hadn't kept pace with the times and had relied too much on its traditional, tried and trusted formula.The US arm of Woolworths (owned by a rival US retail company) had closed down in 1997, after 118 years' trading, but no-one had foreseen the scale of problems that the UK company was suffering. The British chain still appeared to be in relatively good shape, after becoming part of the retail giant Kingfisher, owner of B&Q. In 1998, Woolworths had announced record profits and all seemed to be well.Woolworths and Kingfisher went their separate ways in 2001, after the recession and the credit crunch were said to have impacted negatively on Woolworths. In addition, it was said to be struggling, as rent bills for its UK shops had more than doubled from a manageable £70 million to a staggering £160 million.The brand was also in competition with well-established rivals, such as Argos, plus the new kids on the block, such as the discount chain Poundland and Wilkinson, both of which had entered the non-food market and were attracting Woolworths' customers with their cheap prices.It was also reported that Woolworths had suffered stock shortages and that its stores were perceived to be "unfashionable" in the 21st century, failing to attract the new generation of shoppers.The credit crunch finally succeeded in wiping Woolworths out and it went into administration in 2008. It was described by business analysts as the "bleakest day in retail history", when the chain went into the control of receivers. Its remaining 800 stores closed down and almost 30,000 jobs were lost.There were calls for the government to bail Woolworths out, but the plea fell on deaf ears. A report by the BBC said Woolworths' generally weak position was the reason why the government hadn't intervened. The company reportedly had debts of £385 million and there appeared to be no way back.The company had tried to sell itself for the token sum of £1, with the new buyer taking over the debt and restructuring the business, but eventually, the board simply ran out of time and Woolworths closed down, signalling the end of an era.In April 2017, the company's former director, Tony Page, reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the Woolworths' brand name, leading to rumours that the store may be resurrected, but to date, there has been no confirmation of whether this is the case. First impressions countIt's no secret that today's economic climate presents challenges for even the most successful retailers. In particular, competition from online stores is taking consumers from the high street.First impressions count, so make sure your store's exterior is welcoming and appealing - the kind of shopfront that stops people in their tracks and makes them want to step inside.Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts (CAS) supplies and installs high-quality shopfront windows that will give your retail premises the edge. Please contact us for details of our products and services, we'd love to talk to you!
Photo Credit: Max Pixel/Allen McGregorThe importance of eye-catching window displays in today's challenging retail environment can't be over-emphasised. With high street stores facing stiff competition from online shopping, in addition to the uncertainty posed by Brexit, retailers need all the help they can get to survive the current climate.The retail sector needs to find innovative ways to make window displays more appealing and give them the "wow" factor! While social media campaigns and print advertising have their place, one thing that should always remain in the marketing budget is the window display. Attract window-shoppersThere's a good reason why a fabulous window display is so important - and that's because it works! While the retail sector changes over the years, the use of window displays has remained a proven winner. Brands understand the importance of attracting window-shoppers, connecting with potential new customers and keeping loyal followers interested.If you create an inspirational, high-impact, memorable display that engages the consumer, this will help drive sales. In order to engage at the bricks and mortar retail level, stores must produce displays that showcase not only the brand but also the feeling and lifestyle that are behind it.It's a chance to display your unique personality, turning the heads of passers-by, as you compete with brands of all sizes. The best window display should have the power to engage shoppers enough to make them stop, look back and walk into your store.Before you begin, know your budget - even if you don't have enough money to hire a professional merchandiser, it's possible to create a DIY display that's just as eye-catching, as long as you take the time to do so properly. This means thinking of a theme and researching your design within your budget before you physically do anything. Know your goalDecide what the goal of your window display is - is it to promote a new product, a new style for your brand, or to target a different audience? A good way to start when thinking up a design is to start with a simple pen and paper and sketch some ideas, based on a theme.Your display should tell a basic story, as it's a fact that storytelling is a successful strategic business tool. Research by Keith Quesenberry and Michael Coolsen, published in The Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice in 2014, focused on brands’ use of various strategies to sell products.They concluded that regardless of whether advertisers used cute animals or celebrities, plot development was an integral part of advertising. Quesenberry says this is because humans are social creatures who relate to other people. We've been communicating through stories for around 20,000 years, since the days of cave walls. Begin with a themeWith a window display, it helps to begin with a theme, then use storytelling to turn it into something more interesting. Think what makes you different from other retailers (your competitors) and capitalise on this.When you feel your idea's ready in the conceptual stage, make sure you have the basic tools you need to get started in physically designing the window display. These should include scissors, tape measure, stapler, hammer and nails, double-sided tape, penknife, screwdriver and screws, glue gun, pencil, pen, marker pen and notepad. Also, you will need non-merchandise items to use as props.When you've completed your rough sketch, start putting it into practice, but don't forget to step out into the street to see how it looks from the point of view of passers-by. Decide whether you can add elements suspended from the ceiling, how big your central, focal point should be and how big the overall display should be so that it can even grab shoppers' attention from the other side of the street. Eye-level focal pointAlways keep the focal point at eye level, whether you're dangling decorative items from the ceiling, stacking them pyramid-style or placing them on pedestals. Remember to make a fast impression - most people glance at a window for only 2.5 seconds before walking by, according to a study in the US by Scott Day, of Urban Development Services. You must grab their attention with an eye-catching display.Finally, make sure you change your window display regularly. If you're always busy, changing your window display may not be top of your list of things to do, but it should be!Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts (CAS) provides glass/glazed shop fronts, architectural entrances, façade design and shopfront design services. We stand for expertise, high quality and value for money, pledging unrivalled customer service and reliable after-sales care.For window displays that really pack a punch, contact us for further details of our range of products and services.