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EDITORIAL Why sustainability and supply chain issues are now high on retail agendas

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Sustainability and supply chain issues remain high on the agenda for retailers of all sizes. Today we’re reporting as Amazon reports a 49% fall in profitability and says that its costs will continue to  rise in the peak trading quarter of its year. That’s because of issues from labour shortages to the rising costs of shipping, among other supply chain issues. 

Apple also cites uncertainty in the wider economy – despite which its sales increased strongly both in the fourth quarter and its full financial year. The retailer, technology company and manufacturer says it is moving towards its 2030 net zero climate ambitions, as it works with its supply chain to install renewable energy. 

Packaging companies are now innovating with sustainable box designs ahead of Cop26 and in response to customer interest in the environmental crisis. DS Smith has produced the first box that follows the circular design metrics it developed last year, while Delta Global has produced the FutureBox for its luxury customers, who it says are setting standards that other luxury brands will now follow. 

Today we also report as Virgin Wines says it grew sales by almost a third in a year that customers shifted online to buy wine in lockdown. It has got ahead of current supply chain issues by buying wine well in advance. 

Meanwihile, Toolstation saw its customer mix return to more normal patterns in the latest quarter of its financial year, as the growth in DIY customers moderates and demand from its trade clients continues to be robust. Parent company Travis Perkins says it is well placed to source materials from its long-established supply chain. 


And retail parks appear to be in favour with retailers and brands whose customers want to buy out of town and want to buy online, using multichannel services. Vacancies at retail parks have fallen in the latest quarter, while overall vacancies remain stable – albeit at record levels – according to the latest BRC-LDC Vacancies Monitor. 


Today’s guest comment comes from Nate Holmes of Widen who says marketers will need to take an omnichannel approach in the future. 

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