Category Archives: Strategy

Improving is not winning

The roll call of failed or struggling retailers is growing: Toys R Us, Maplin, Poundworld, Carpetright, Mothercare, House of Fraser.  Many more will be added. In the long view, retail has always been an industry of creative destruction. Assets have … Continue reading

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The future of retail: You ain’t seen nothing yet

For some time retail has been “omnichannel” and then “mobile first”. But mobile is moving into the maturity phase.  As one S-curve of adoption slackens off, the next one picks up. So what’s next? Rather than a single answer to that question, … Continue reading

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The grocery market is not Amazon’s true target

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods is not about stores.  Or even about grocery. Most commentators have portrayed Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods as a drawing of the battle lines in the grocery market.  Amazon, it is assumed, wants to become … Continue reading

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The fiction of friction

Current wisdom has it that retailers must smooth away ‘friction’ from the shopping journey. Time is the ultimate scarce resource, we are told, and customers will reward us for giving it back to them. Decluttering, quick check-outs and electronic payments … Continue reading

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Volatility killed the strategic plan

Strategic planning in retail used to be so simple, didn’t it? For the decade up to 2009, more than three quarters of total value creation in the UK retail sector resulted from just three drivers: store roll out enabled by … Continue reading

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Stores are far from a waste of space

Space is big, as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy accurately noted. And with 22 per cent of non-food sales having moved online and the typical store experiencing negative like-for-likes of two to three per cent each year, the retail … Continue reading

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Brexit shows the danger of trusting averages

How did we (including politicians, pollsters, betting markets and pundits) misread the mood of the nation so spectacularly when it came to Brexit? Whether you’re in the half of the population suffering from post-traumatic ballot disorder, or the other half … Continue reading

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Why retailers are choosing to own more of the process, not less

For a brief while the capital-light Uber model was touted as the “future of everything”. Retailers, like incumbents in other industries, fretted how their traditional supply chains might be torn apart by “on-demand” services that use mobile technology to allow … Continue reading

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The productivity conundrum

Christmas saw a continued acceleration of online migration: not perhaps an inflection point, as the trends have progressed now for several years, but certainly a quickening of pace. Each year, the fourth quarter is the one which sees the big … Continue reading

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Multichannel retailers need to play the specialists at their own game

Amidst the frenzy of fast-moving statistics on omnichannel retailing, consider this one.  The five most highly valued retailers in the UK (as measured by p/e ratio) are AO World, Ocado, Asos, Primark and B&M Retail.  All are mono-channel retailers, being … Continue reading

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