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How the retail and logistics industries are responding to high online demand and no deal Brexit fears

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As the UK teeters on the edge of a no deal Brexit, we report as retailers stockpile ahead of the change in relationship with the European Union on January 1. Deal or no deal, the way we trade with the EU will alter for good in just three weeks time.

The shift to online shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic is, inevitably putting a strain on delivery services. We consider how delivery companies and retailers are responding as more people than ever turn online for their shopping amid a pandemic that has dramatically speeded up the pace of change.

Today French Connection says it is continuing to sell more online, although repeated non-essential retail closures as a result of lockdowns have affected its stores. But footfall did start to rise again when its shops in England were able to reopen in December. 

Covid-19 – and a new joint venture with M&S – has transformed Ocado’s business. We report as the online grocer predicts earnings will be twice as high in the current full financial year as last. M&S is proving the big draw, while shoppers are also buying as they opt to buy in very different ways from those they were used to last year. 

And Frasers Group this week showed how its £100m ‘elevation without limits’ strategy is starting to bear fruit, as it continues to shift the balance away from its Sports Direct roots and towards its new premium luxury fashion, as represented by its House of Fraser and Flannels shops. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Guy Elliott of Publicis Sapient, who considers what the future holds for the British high street, in the wake of the failures of both Arcadia Group and Debenhams. He says there’s no need for pessimism and that the popular concern that this news represents another step in the death of the high street should be dismissed. 

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