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Editors’ comment – RetailX Brand Index Report 2019

Welcome to the  third annual edition of the RetailX Brand Index (RXBX). Here, we once again put the spotlight on Europe’s direct-selling brands. These are businesses that sell direct to customers and also supply their goods via the wholesale market, such as Adidas, Apple and Nespresso; or they are retail brands, such as New Look, Fat Face and River Island.

Based on ongoing RetailX research for the IREU Top500, our unique, performance-based ranking of Europe’s top retailers, we have looked in detail at how these direct-selling brands have been shaping and reacting to a changing market. These results determine the RXBX Top250 (page 8). We have done this across six Performance Dimensions: Strategy & Innovation, The Customer, Operations & Logistics, Merchandising, Brand Engagement and Mobile & Cross-channel. For a full analysis of individual Performance Dimensions, including lists of which direct-selling brands have performed most strongly within each individual Dimension.

First, though, in our strategic overview, we look at the way direct-selling brands are adapting to a rapidly changing business landscape, In part, it’s the story of how a combination of shoppers who lead increasingly busy lives, social media influencers and changing attitudes are shaping how retail is conducted.

But it’s also a story of how retailers of all kinds are having to balance convenience and cost in terms of the kinds of services they provide. It’s all very well to offer free deliveries, for example, and this may well help take market share, but it can add costs that affect the bottom line.

In this context, our case study on New Look is fascinating, in focusing on the retailer’s turnaround plans after expansion came to a temporary halt when it had to enter a CVA (company voluntary arrangement). We also look at how Nespresso has built brand loyalty through membership initiatives.

We would like to thank our Knowledge Partners, who have generously contributed their expertise and insights. As always, we welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis on retail and brand commerce in the UK and across Europe.

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Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, Editors

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