In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as the latest Dun & Bradstreet figures on business failures show just how tough the retail climate has become. Almost 400 retailers went bust over the summer and early autumn – in the third quarter of the year, with House of Fraser the most high profile victim.
Meanwhile, British Retail Consortium figures out today suggest slow growth for sales in October both online and offline, while Amazon’s preparations for Black Friday week show how competitive that time of year is set to be. All of this evidence points to challenging times for retailers, especially those trading on the high street. In the words of Dun & Bradstreet’s Markus Kruger, "the long-term trend towards internet shopping will persist, thereby putting pressure on bricks and mortar retailers." It’s easy to take a negative view.
But amid these challenging times, Morrisons and New Look today post hopeful figures. Both are going through transformation programmes that focus on selling to shoppers at a time when shopping is changing. Morrisons, which posts rising quarterly sales, is focusing on digital loyalty, on online shopping but also on wholesale and on revamping its stores. New Look has gone back to basics, and, by focusing on the most profitable sales, has moved back into the black for the first half of its financial year. There are useful insights here for other retailers too, about the way that strategies focusing how customers want to buy can prove successful for retailers in varied sectors.
We look beyond our shores to Stockholm, Sweden, too, as Clas Ohlson joins forces with Microsoft to deliver digital window shopping.
Today’s guest comment comes from Georgina Nelson of TruRating who considers the fake review trap - and what to do about it.