EDITORIAL Leading retailers look set to shake up strategies in the face of new and existing challenges

In today’s InternetRetailing we’re reporting as leading retailers shake up their management teams – just in time for new challenges to emerge. John Lewis’s new chairman Sharon White started work this week, warning of store closures and job losses while suggesting a new ethical and environmental direction. The partnership also has a new head of strategy and commercial development. Marks & Spencer, meanwhile, has a new strategy and transformation director. 

The changes come just as retailers face a fresh onslaught of challenges. Brexit may be done, but what it means is yet to be decided. This week the European Commission warned in a briefing document that businesses must now plan for the country to leave the European single market and customs union – and that’s likely to have significant effects for both the retail and the logistics industries. 

Meanwhile, UK multichannel retailer Burberry warned that its business would be affected as the coronavirus hits footfall to its Chinese shops. The effect of the virus, which has restricted travel and factory operations, is also being felt in the car industry’s supply chain, and is highly likely to be felt by UK and European retailers as well in due course. In China itself, fewer people are going to shops, but more are buying online, according to JD.com. That brings its own logistics challenges. 

All of this comes at a time that has been dubbed one of retail crisis for the UK by the Centre for Retail Research. Across the industry, retailers are closing shops as customers make more of their purchases online, and amid the extra complications of Brexit – and now, potentially, coronavirus. This year alone, the CRR predicts that more than 17,000 shops will close. 

With the popularity of AI on the rise, many organisations are evaluating how they can use it to drive the business forward. In today’s guest comment, Sandra Schroeter of LogMeIn argues that customer engagement could be the perfect door into the AI world.

From our European coverage, we report as Zalando begins shipping to southern Europe from Verona and we report on Frasers Group’s plans for Frasers, as news comes that its Dublin store is to close.

Image: Adobe Stock

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