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EDITORIAL How retailers from Matalan to Joules are responding in a challenging retail environment

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as Joules says that ecommerce now accounts for more than half of its business. That’s part of its total retail strategy of making sure it’s easy for shoppers to buy from it, whether in store or online, or using elements of each. That said, it’s experienced some bumps in the road over Christmas, including supply chain issues and falling sales thanks in part to the later timing of Black Friday 2019. But those issues aside, sales growth is nowhere near as strong as it was the previous year. Joules, just as with so many other retailers, is feeling the effect as consumers hold back on spending. 

Dixons Carphone, owner of Currys PC World and Carphone Warehouse, is feeling it too. It says it grew its market share, but in a declining market, so that its year-on-year figures remain far from buoyant. Matalan chief executive Jason Hargreaves also reported falling sales against what he describes as a backdrop of “unprecedented levels of political uncertainty”. Matalan’s response has been to take a more agile approach to selling, investing in its stores and in its fast-growing online channel. Those unprecedented levels of uncertainty may well continue in 2020 as we wait to see what withdrawal deal the UK will strike with the EU. 

The latest in our series of predictions for 2020 stays on theme as it considers new and emerging retail models that business may want to think more abut in the coming year. From our European coverage, we have the story of how Pandora is looking is staffing up its new digital division. 

In today’s guest comment, Jade Knight of Incopro says the trade in counterfeit clothing, textiles, footwear, handbags, cosmetics, and watches is worth $450 billion annually – but brands are fighting back.

Image: Adobe Stock

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