Are online consumers ending physical stores once and for all?

By CA Student Blog

14 January 2019

In the latest blow to the British high street, retailer Laura Ashley announced 40 store closures to refocus on the Asian market for 2019, and HMV called in the administrators for the second time. Will online sales ultimately move the entire high street to a virtual premise?

According to research compiled for PwC by the Local Data Company (LDC), 2018 saw the largest net decline of UK stores for five years between January and June due to widespread closures and a lack of new storefronts to replace them.

This phenomenon has been attributed to the rapid growth of online alternatives and the restructure and diversification of services undertaken by many household names trying to keep up with consumer demand.

Lucy Stainton, Senior Relationship Manager (Retail) at LDC, commented: "While there are still many examples of sectors and brands which remain resilient to market challenges, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the increase in store closures, seen especially in the first half of 2018 when the gap between openings and closures has widened significantly.

"Retailers and leisure operators alike are frantically trying to adjust their business models and concepts to meet evolving consumer habits. Arguably in part these latest figures reflect both; businesses which have struggled to meet consumer demand, but also conversely those operators who are actively managing and reducing their portfolios to ensure their estate remains fit for purpose."

Andrew Khoo Boo Yeow, Executive Chairman of Laura Ashley parent company Malayan United Industries (MUI), said that the company was refocusing to build awareness of the brand, regardless of whether that attracted online or in-person customers.

In HMV's case, slashed budgets have seen a drop in brand-awareness marketing with a knock-on effect for their physical stores, both at home and abroad, including the closure of all Hong Kong stores. The demise of a physical presence is being felt across the world, but there might be lessons to be learned from those who remain resilient, and what they are doing differently with their budgets to survive.

Get in touch

Is time up for high street stores? Could budgets be redeployed or reshaped to move with demand? Share your thoughts with us by emailing or tweet @ICAS_students.

This week, we look at helping you get back into the swing of studying with top tips for note-taking and self-directed study. We also consider some key subject matter for PoT resits and TPS pre-course work. Returning to a busy work and study schedule can be tough, especially when you're moving up a level - see our advice for seeking help if you need it.

Organising your ideal study space

Self-directed study is key to completing your ICAS qualification and associated modules, but even for the best of us, this can be a difficult task to achieve in a structured matter. We investigate approaches for organising the most effective study space.

Back to Basics on the joys of costing: part 2

In the second part of our back to basics on costing, we delve into the other types of costing methods that are available to businesses (and explained in the CA qualification). This is a helpful look at methodologies whether you are beginning your BM TC studies, or if you just need a refresh.

How to approach PoT resit revision

"I didn’t pass my TC PoT exam and I am a bit unsure of how to approach my revision. What is the best way to consolidate my learning, identify my weak areas and be successful in the exam the second time around?"

Top five ways to take notes 

It’s time to take your note-taking skills to the next level. Investigate and experiment with these five methods for yourself, as well as specialist easy-to-read fonts for people with dyslexia.

Tackling TPS pre-course work - TPS Modular Students 

Now that you've got to grips with TPS Assumed Knowledge work, it's time to tackle Pre-Course work for TPS Modular students.

When students should ask for help

The pace is fast and the subject matter complex when you’re training to be a CA. It would not be surprising if you felt overwhelmed or stressed from time to time during your course, but you should always ask for help.

myCABLE, the interactive learning platform

ICAS Events and networking

Monday 7 January

January 2019

7 January 2019: Welcome to a new year!

Welcome back to the CA Student Blog! 2019 may have only just begun but we are still looking forward to the ICAS Admissions Ceremony in March. If you are becoming a CA this year, make sure you don't miss any deadlines.

By now you should know if you have passed TPE with flying colours. All you have to do now is complete your training contract, hand in your logbook for final sign-off and apply for ICAS membership.

What you need to know

  • You can check the status of your logbook by contacting Education Support.
  • Applications for membership must be submitted by midday Friday 1 March 2019 to be eligible for the 2019 CA Admissions Ceremony.
  • The event will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) on Saturday 23 March 2019.
  • You can invite up to two guests free of charge.
  • The dress code is formal.

ICAS 2019 Admission Ceremony - Register now

If you didn't receive good news about your TPE results, don't panic! You will be automatically enrolled to resit exams in the next diet. However, if you wish to defer this, please contact the ICAS exam team as soon as possible.

Can't make it?

If you are unable to attend the Admissions Ceremony, you will still be inducted into membership in your absence and can use the designation CA after your name.

New CAs in London are invited to a special drinks reception on Thursday 4 April 2019 at The Deck in London’s National Theatre to celebrate with the ICAS Chief Executive, ICAS President, and 2018 One Young CA Michael Scott.

Don't forget to follow the excitement of the day and support your fellow newly-qualified CAs on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #ICASclassof2019.

Reminder: Have you received TPE joining instructions?

TPE 2019 officially starts this week.

Some TPE students heading to the May 2019 examinations will receive joining instructions directing them to the introduction material, which advises that technical knowledge needs to be up to date.

TC and TPS Technical knowledge is assumed at TPE. It is important that you start to work on this as soon as possible.

Those students awaiting TPS results in January, before being enrolled for TPE, will be contacted with details about the introduction material to allow you to start working on your technical revision. A second round of joining instructions will be sent out after TPS results are issued.

Get in touch

Are you looking forward to the Admissions Ceremony? How do you hope to use your CA qualification going forward? Tell us by emailing or tweet @ICAS_students.

In this week's blog, we help those diving into new subjects and modules with guides for moving to a different level and preparing course materials. We also take a look at setting targets for the new year (personally and professionally).

Five student tips for the new year

As we ease into the new year, it’s all too easy for previous worries to resurface after the holidays. Here are quick-fire tips for starting your year right and with success in mind.

How to tackle TPS assumed knowledge work

Aimed at students who will be sitting their first attempt at TPS exams in June 2019, TPS Level Controller Lauren O’Brien explains the ins and outs of the TPS pre-course work.

Transitions: TPS to TPE

TPE Level Controller Catherine Devaney explains how the level changes from TPS, and what you are expected to complete when achieving your qualification.

Eight New Year resolutions for CA students

Fresh out of ideas for your New Year's resolutions? Here are eight targets for CA students to meet in 2018.

Studying for TC? It's time to get back to basics

ICAS tutors have put together a series of Back to Basics guides, infographics and support material on many of the TC subjects that students have found tricky in the past.

The joys of costing: part 1

There are several topics that are likely come to mind when students think back to their good old Business Management (BM) Days. A straw poll of former BM students revealed that absorption and marginal costing still give some nightmares!

December 2018

Monday 10 December: Signing off and wishing you a great 2019!

As we approach the end of the year, this week's blog will be the last until we welcome you back in 2019.

We want to wish all those CA trainees sitting FR, ABS, Taxation and Afin this week the best of luck, and we have our fingers crossed for those students receiving TPE results on the 20th!

While we look ahead to a brand new year, we also take a look back at some of the most popular articles this year.

Most read in 2018

  1. Back to Basics: Calculating a tax-adjusted trading profit / loss
  2. Tests of control and substantive testing
  3. Back to basics: Overall vs Performance Materiality
  4. Back to Basics: Calculating the cost of debt
  5. Back to Basics: Valuation of ordinary shares - four methods

Fun facts

Student Blog 2018

Get in touch

What would you like to see on the CA Student Blog in 2019? Would you like to be a contributor? Share your feedback at @ICAS_students on Twitter or email

In this week's blog, we share advice for overcoming nerves and clearing those final exam hurdles before the holiday season. We also examine the growth in fraud schemes surrounding online payments in 2018 and how to steer clear of them. Finally, to round off the year, we recommend a couple of TED Talks on career building and making better decisions - or if you'd rather watch something more seasonal, check out our five festive films list.

Back to basics: IR35

The distinction between employed and self-employed individuals, discussed in 'Back to basics: the Gig Economy' is also subject to anti-avoidance legislation, known as the 'IR35 rules'. Find out what the rules are, and what they mean for taxpayers.

Machines make better decisions?

Your approach to decision-making, in any aspect of life, can have a profound effect on what opportunities come your way. Could thinking like a computer be the solution to choosing the right path?

Staying safe online: Over £500m stolen by fraudsters in 2018

Despite new security measures and intervention by the finance industry, scammers still made off with £503.4m in the first half of 2018. Find out about different types of fraud and read our top tips for avoiding being taken advantage of.

TED talks: the career advice you probably didn't get

Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women, a management consulting firm seeking to close the 'leadership gender gap' through professional development programmes, presents this TED talk on the kinds of career advice you have probably not experienced. Food for thought over the Christmas and New Year break!

Five skills to calm your nerves

Work, exams and the pressures of everyday life can unexpectedly wear you down. Stress and anxiety lead to sleepless nights, a lack of focus and even illness, but there are methods to treat yourself well - read our nerve-calming skills for a zen-like attitude!

Five festive films!

It’s the season of goodwill and peace to all people, but we also know it’s the season of snuggling on the sofa in a onesie with a box of sugar-overload and a good movie. Here’s our pick of films for festive trainee CAs looking to wind-down over the festive period (and we've managed to sneak in some finance themes too!).

Monday 3 December: The end of share destruction?

Share destruction, a popular mechanism for protecting share value when assets decline, is on thin ice in EU money markets.

Regulators in Ireland and Luxembourg have ordered funds to submit plans for new structures that disallow the process, disappointing investors who hoped it would be exempt from new European Commission money market rules

'Share destruction' or 'reverse distribution' refers to a specific method of cancelling shares that allows funds to maintain a consistent share price even if associated assets lose value. Share cancellation in general will not be permitted under the new market rules from January 2019.

Irish Funds, the trade body for asset managers in Ireland, told the Financial Times: "In the interests of investors and to avoid unnecessary market disruption we have requested and expect reasonable transition arrangements are facilitated during 2019."

These changes are part of the EU's measures to introduce stress test and liquidity requirements for Euro-denominated markets.

Get in touch

Is scrapping the share destruction system a good move? What do you think the effect will be on transparency in money markets? Share your thoughts @ICAS_students on Twitter or email

In this week's blog, we take a look at how tax works in the gig economy and investigate the basics of corporate insolvency. We also show you how to measure your life success and examine the situation surrounding an FCA fine for financial reporting. To gear up for exams, we also round-up the resources available online for TPS and suggest some brain food for exam day breakfasts.

Back to Basics: Gig economy

What is the Gig Economy and how does it affect tax status? We go back to basics on the considerations to be made around employment and self-employment.

Back to Basics: Corporate Insolvency

Insolvency is taught at TPS Advanced Finance and is also relevant to TPE case studies, where a company is, or may become insolvent. Read our back to basics on corporate insolvency for a great summary on types of voluntary liquidation and more.

The triple-A rating: three ways to measure success

"How do you measure success?" It's the interview and evaluation question that can leave a lot of us stumped. Surely 'success' is self-explanatory, right?

The best exam day breakfasts

Your brain needs fat, water, vitamins, minerals and glucose (carbohydrates and sugar) - in that order. Our quick-fire guide and links to easy recipes will take the stress out of nutritious eating for study and exams.

Back to basics for TPS level

ICAS tutors have put together a series of Back to Basics guides, infographics and support material on TPS subjects.

Financial Reporting lessons from Rio Tinto

On 17 October 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA’) fined the global mining group Rio Tinto plc £27,385,400 for failures in its 2012 half-year accounts. But what were those failures, why was such a fine necessary and are there any financial reporting lessons for CA students?


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