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Issue:- 9 February  2012


WOMEN are meant to be the experts at shopping; but new research shows the whole experience leaves them flustered and stressed.  The surprise findings emerged in a study of 2,000 people, and shows that not all women get "retail therapy" from a spot of shopping.

In fact, in a supermarket environment, 33% of ladies get themselves into a complete flap every time they do the weekly shop.  And this is despite being organised and armed with shopping lists, money off-coupons, tissues, vouchers and recycled carrier bags.

In contrast, 75% of men quite enjoy their food shopping experience, and are happy to navigate their way around the aisles searching out products.  In fact, men are generally less forgetful about what they want to buy, are less likely to feel rushed by the cashiers and are more methodical at the checkouts.

Helen Nunn, Head of Marketing at The Co-operative Food, said:- "We suspect one of the key reasons why women are more agitated in the supermarket is largely because they are rushing round trying to conduct the shopping as quickly as possible. Doing the food shop will be one item on a massive list of jobs, and something which simply has to be done at speed. Men seem to adopt a much more laid back and methodical approach, taking their time looking for bargains and make sure they’re getting the most for their money."

The survey shows two thirds of females dislike battling the crowds in the supermarket to get at what they want, and 34% hate it when other people’s children get in their way.  10% of women even admitted to having an argument with another shopper in the supermarket; either because of trolley rage, fighting over the same item or queue jumping.  40% of women can’t stand feeling rushed when the cashier scans items too quickly so they struggle to get everything into the right bags.  And 35% claim they are shocked every time they reach the till and realise how much they have spent.

But the poll suggests women ARE the savvier shoppers; as they are less baffled by all the different brands in the shop and are more likely to ask for help if needed.  As a consequence, 80% of women always come home armed with bargains compared to 67% of men.  And whereas 51% of men are most likely to opt for brands they know the best, 26% of women will simply buy anything which appears on offer.  But men are happy to use technology to get what they want in the supermarket; being more likely to whip out their mobile phone to compare prices or download vouchers as they shop.

Helen Nunn, for The Co-operative Food, continues:- "Both men and women are consciously becoming savvier shoppers because of the current economic climate, but it’s clear from these findings that they’re using different approaches to net their bargains. This study suggests men have more time to stroll around and use their mobile to check out deals and compare prices online, and that’s resulting in a new breed of male supermarket shoppers.  However, our focus on Big Deals within Easy Reach makes it easy for everyone to pick up a bargain."


1. Having to battle the crowds to reach products

2. Struggle to pack bags quickly enough

3. Getting to the end of the supermarket and realising something is forgotten

4. Shocked to discover how much everything has added up to

5. Can’t stand other people’s children

6. Feel rushed by cashiers as they scan the food too quickly

7. Spend hours hunting for the most basic items

8. End up squashing all the soft items with the heavy ones I the shopping trolley

9. Having to shop on a Saturday

10. Can’t fit everything into the trolley

Fresh approach to business records checks

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have announced a fresh approach to its business records checks programme in 2012, following a review.

The review, which included discussions of the pilot programme with trade and professional bodies’ representatives, found clear evidence that it is effective in improving record-keeping practices in smaller businesses. However, it recommended that the checks are more targeted in future, linking to available education and support.

The pilot programme of business records checks (BRCs) began in April last year and involved checks by HMRC on the standard of small and medium-sized enterprises’ statutory business records. Up until 4 January 2012, 2,437 business records checks had been carried out. These found that 28% of those businesses visited had some issue with their record keeping, and an additional 11% had issues serious enough to warrant a follow-up visit.

HMRC will now postpone making any new business records check appointments until the revamped approach outlined in the report is launched early in the 2012/13 financial year. This will allow further consultation with representative bodies on the implementation of the recommendations in the review and on some details of the new approach. In the interim, HMRC will only undertake visits already booked, as well as follow-up visits to businesses that have already been identified as having seriously inadequate statutory records.

HMRC’s Director of Local Compliance, Richard Summersgill, said:- "4 out of 10 businesses had an issue with their business records, and of those that required a follow-up visit, we found that some 90% subsequently improved their record-keeping.  However, after reviewing the pilot programme and listening to the views of businesses and representative bodies, we acknowledge the need for a fresh approach to business records checks.  The BRC visits provide benefits for the business and HMRC. We want businesses to pay the right amount of tax at the right time, avoiding potential interest and penalties. The checks also give greater assurance to HMRC when the business submits its tax returns."

Love is in the air!

LIVERPOOL will be feeling the love on Thursday, 9 February 2012, when Merseyside Polonia hosts its annual pre-valentine event.  ‘Love in Every Language’ takes place at Kensington Fire Station. It is a celebration of love poetry from around the world. The evening will include poems read by members of communities living in Liverpool including Polish, Greek, Croatian, Hebrew, Hungarian, Czech as well as English.  Anybody who would like to share a poem from their country is welcome to come along.  There will be music from accomplished harpist Stan Ambrose and also an amateur performance of Edith Piaf songs accompanied by accordion.

Merseyside Polonia was set up in 2008 to strengthen bonds between Polish people and local residents and encourage friendships between people of different cultural backgrounds.  It has been a huge success giving people the opportunity to get to know Liverpool’s Polish community better and enjoy Polish and international culture, films, food and art.  The evening will be especially poignant for the Polish community as one of their most famous contemporary poets; Wislawa Szymborska; died last week. Wislawa, a Nobel Prize-winning poet, used the imagery of everyday objects to explore dramatic themes of human experience including love, war and death. The event will be dedicated to her memory and will present her life and poetry as part of the evening

Gosia McKane from Merseyside Polonia said:- "The Kensington area has become increasingly diverse in recent years with people from many different countries making it their home.  This event is a chance for people to come along and meet their neighbours and find out more about the wide range of different cultures in the area."

Admission is free and there will be refreshments (tea, coffee, juice) and some home made cakes.

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