It’s official. Boris Johnson is the new leader of the Conservative party – and is set to be UK Prime Minister – and Jo Swinson is the leader of the Liberal Democrats. Brexit will be the top priority on both new leaders’ to do lists – and the advice on the importance of avoiding no deal is already coming in.
For Brexit is an issue that affects retailers of all shapes and sizes. Lifestyle and clothing brand Joules said today, as it reported buoyant full-year results on the back of its ’total retail’ strategy that Brexit would be an issue for it – despite its fast growth in sales and profits over the last year. The potential Brexit already adds complexity and uncertainty to its operations and supply chain; a no-deal Brexit would make matters worse, it said. Other retailers start from a less promising situation, as reflected in studies from both Deloitte and KPMG/Ipsos this week that suggest that both consumer confidence and retail health are close to record lows. Retailers across the board will be keen to hear from the incoming Prime Minister more than encouraging words about the "can do spirit" that he has shared so far.
Meanwhile, Paymentsense research suggests that, notwithstanding consumer confidence or Brexit, stores can simply be frustrating places to be, especially for those with experience of shopping online – and that’s part of the reason why they choose to buy over the internet.
Retailers wanting ideas on how to optimise their operations in the face of political, economic and consumer uncertainty will be heading for this year’s IRC 2019, to be held on October 10. In today’s IRC 2019 preview we have the details of the key speakers in the conference’s plenary sessions.
Today’s guest comment comes from Björn Beth of Searchmetrics, who looks at what retailers should think about next in relation to their search strategies.