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Issue Date:- 24 December 2007

Liverpool’s legendary public houses are being asked to play their part in European Capital of Culture 2008...

THE Liverpool Culture Company is appealing to landlords across Liverpool to take part in Around the City in 80 Pubs – a celebration of the city’s unique pub culture.

The project will aims to explore and promote those things which make Scouse pubs so special – architecture, traditions, music, games, food – and of course – beer!

Councillor Warren Bradley, leader of Liverpool city council and deputy chair of the Liverpool Culture Company, said:- “Liverpool is renowned the world over for the character and hospitality of its pubs – they’re an integral part of the city’s heritage.

Our year as European Capital of Culture will be a great time to celebrate pub culture, and highlight the integral role that pubs play within their communities.

It’s also an opportunity to look at how pubs have evolved to cater to new tastes and appeal to new audiences, so there’s plenty of room for rap and karaoke as well as darts and real ale.”

Organisers are keen to ensure a wide geographical spread for the project, so applications are encouraged from suburban pubs alongside city centre venues.

To get involved, pubs just need to fill in a simple application form, detailing what makes their pub distinctive and highlighting any interesting facts, such as stories about famous visitors, etc. Forms are available from or by calling Ian Jukes on (0151) 233 6394.

Pubs who register their interest in the project will be featured in a special brochure, launched in April 2008. The brochure launch will kick-start a five-month programme of activity, which will culminate in September 2008 with a two-week festival, coinciding with the CAMRA Real Ale Festival and Heritage Open Days.

A single market in postal services is on its way

IN Brussels on 18 December 2007, the liberalisation of postal services across the EU has come a step closer with the vote in the European Parliament's Transport Committee on the recommendations for a second reading on the Internal Market in Community Postal Services.

Despite the attempt in Germany to derail liberalisation by squeezing private suppliers through minimum wage legislation, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, member of the European Parliament's Transport Committee said:- "The negotiations earlier in the year have borne fruit. The Council's common position has taken on board all the main recommendations put forward by the Transport Committee and as a result we have a piece of legislation that will finally pave the way for market liberalisation of postal services across the EU.

The Postal Services Directive as it stands guarantees the universal service, it ensures that postal workers are sufficiently protected, while allowing the industry to grow."


LIVERPOOL shoppers are likely to see some change in their high street shopping experience in 2008, as more of the big retailers turn to in-store design to give online shoppers the retail therapy they’ve been missing.

According to leading shopfitters Morris & Spottiswood, retailers are realising that what online shoppers are missing is the social interaction of a trip to the shops. “People go shopping not just because they want to buy things, but because they see it as an entertaining and enjoyable leisure outing which they can do on their own or with their families and friends.

High street retailers are starting to take advantage of this in the design and fit out of their outlets by creating both social and interactive spaces where shoppers can touch, feel and try products – experiences which online shopping can’t provide.” says Chris Saxton, the company’s chief executive.

These observations come at a time when research shows that growth of online sales this year is expected to be much lower than the large increases of 2006 suggesting that the recent surge in e-commerce spending has peaked as consumers once more prefer the local shop to the online store.

While consumers have been spoilt by the convenience of online shopping, Morris & Spottiswood believes retailers are responding to this.

“The new generation of high street shops is aiming to combine both the speed and convenience of online shopping with the creation of a familiar and welcoming sense of place in which the consumer feels feel safe, relaxed and comfortable.

Comfort is also becoming more important than style with stark and modernistic in-store fit out schemes being replaced with comfy sofas, wood finishes, soft lights and furnishings which are more akin to a luxury hotel or family home.

Next year, Morris & Spottiswood expects to see more big high street retailers following their supermarket sisters in moving away from ‘identikit‘ store fit outs and tailoring the look and feel of their outlets to their individual locations.

From high street banks to department stores, retailers will be aiming to engage their customers at a much more emotional level next year.

Fit out schemes are going to be more customer-centric with the emphasis on creating interactive social spaces which provide a much more ‘therapeutic’ retail experience.” says Chris Saxton.

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