My Column

Parcel move delivers real inspiration

  • Date: Monday 26th October 2020
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According to Dorothy Gail in the Wizard of Oz, ‘There’s No Place Like Home’, and for 2020 in general, that certainly seems to be true.

For the business world, there has certainly been some catching up to do in adopting this culture. At the speed this pandemic has required all of us to adapt, you would be forgiven for thinking you had landed in different world – perhaps just like Oz.

For many years we have heard of the struggles of Royal Mail, with the sharp decline in people sending letters to one another. How heartening it was therefore to see such an established organisation take the radical steps needed to adapt to our modern age.

In an effort to cash-in on the growing demand for online shopping and parcel delivery, Royal Mail has launched a fantastic new service which will allow posties to pick up parcels on their rounds in addition to just delivering.

This is the first major change the postal service has made since the launch of the post-box back in 1852.

The benefits of the new Parcel Collect service will serve those working from home very well and also for those who are anxious or unable to go to the post office.

It’s a clever and well-thought out idea from Royal Mail especially since so many of us are buying and selling online, not to mention it comes at a perfect time for the impending festive season.

Their approach certainly isn’t novel or unique, but it is a clear sign like many others, that it is a business willing to change and evolve to the needs of its customers and I am sure it will be a winner.

I have spoken before about how fantastic it has been to see hospitality businesses adapting quickly and offering take away or delivery services. They have been a true lifeline for many and helped them survive this incredibly challenging time. For some, the success has been so great, that their delivery services are likely to stay a permanent offering, even beyond returning to any level of normality.

One of the true winners in diversification in Scotland is Glasgow chef, Nico Simeone from Six by Nico, who is taking his Home by Nico – which he launched in April in direct response to lockdown restrictions – a step further. 

He has announced that he is launching a new food and drink platform HOME-X, which went live for registrations last week.

Mr Simeone said the concept for HOME-X was shaped by “listening to what people were saying” during lockdown and will offer six-at-home experiences including Home by Nico, which replicates the tasting menu Six By Nico has become renowned for.

Other brands on the platform include the STEM wine club, Chateau-X, The Cheese Club, vegan offering -24-Carrot and E-Eatery, providing a collaboration with some of the UK’s top independent restaurants.

Their diversification proved incredibly successful, with Home by Nico serving more than 100,000 customers across six UK cities during lockdown, and in further good news the launch of HOME-X will create more than 50 much-needed new jobs.

Another way businesses are successfully navigating their way through the ‘home’ trend is through partnerships and affiliations with other like-minded brands.

I was intrigued to read about homebuilder CALA Homes coming together with Urbanpods to offer a genius fix for homebuyers who are in need of an at-home office.

Urbanpods is a Livingston based company which specialises in garden pods and is now available in developments across the west of Scotland when buying a CALA home.

The pods are fully kitted out to allow homeowners a space out with their home to work from – and I have to say I am very impressed, they look brilliant. I am in no doubt this will be a popular choice for many looking for a more permanent solution to at-home working.

Whichever industry we look at, from home building through to delivering and picking up the mail, 2020 has created a seismic shift in the way we operate our businesses and I think this is set to only increase further, both in need and popularity.

Perhaps, business who haven’t yet joined the revolution should consider a new working mantra ‘there’s no place like home’, ‘there’s no place like home, ‘there’s no place like home’ – for the time being anyway.

Side (287 words)

Owning a number of commercial properties and investing heavily within the sector, I always keep a keen eye on industry news – especially during these turbulent times.

Like most sectors, there have been various struggles in 2020, however it was extremely promising to see other businesses continue to invest. 

Land Securities Group, which is one of the UK’s biggest commercial property companies, is planning to sell about a third of its business within the next few years. 

This may sound negative, however the company is planning to reinvest their capital in new city developments after outlining a shift in its strategy – focusing more on developing offices and mixed-use projects.

So many of us are working from home and businesses are seeing the advantages of remote working, so the big question has been whether offices will become a thing of the past.

With this statement of intent from Land Sec, it certainly doesn’t think so and as I have said before, neither do I.

Land Sec does however have a large percentage of retail property across Scotland and the UK, which will be its real worry. 

Its retail parks and shopping centres will form part of the business it is looking to sell and with the high street on its knees at the moment, it could mean big changes for the retail industry going forward.  

The decision is understandable though, especially when you see the challenges that shopping centres are facing, including lower visitor numbers and a massive shift to online shopping. 

Selling on its retail portfolio and investing in commercial developments could have a big impact on both sectors, however only time will tell whether Land Securities is able to realign its focus and adapt successfully.  



Scotland has some breath-taking towns and cities, so it’s no surprise that a number of them have been immortalised with their very own Monopoly board game. Even the Isle of Arran makes an appearance, which is fantastic.

In amongst all of the other world events that have taken place this year, you may recall a contest for Scottish towns to win the chance to land its very own Monopoly edition – with Ayr taking the crown.

The game has now been launched and is available to buy, which really made me smile. It includes Ayr landmarks such as Culzean Castle, Ayr Racecourse, Prestwick Airport and Burns Cottage.

So whether you’re from Ayr or not, it could make the perfect Christmas present, especially when board games have enjoyed a huge revival since lockdown began.


With lockdown restrictions being extended, it is difficult to try and maintain normality, particularly when so many social activities are currently closed.

Even so, I was disappointed to hear that desperate drinkers were going to extreme lengths to get a pint in the pub.

It appears that people are now fabricating funerals in order to drink with friends in restaurants or bars until 10pm, due to funerals and wakes being classed as ‘life events.’

It’s a warning for bars, restaurants and landlords to check all booked funerals are legitimate or else they could risk losing their licence.

It could be seen as a light-hearted prank and way to get around the restrictions, but it could also have devastating effects on the hospitality industry, which is already under strenuous pressure right now.


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