Curium Solutions – Simplified Change Management, Birmingham, West Midlands

Retail – a legal perspective

By Kathryn Hobbs

11 Jan 2018

Retail – a legal perspective from Gateley Plc

In 2016, the UK retail sector generated more than £358bn in sales revenue, employed more than 2.9 million people and contributed nearly 6 per cent of the UK’s GDP. However, many retail businesses are now operating under significant pressure. They face multiple and varied challenges, as a combination of increasing costs and waning consumer confidence and demand.

Just this week, John Lewis, Boohoo, Next, Fat Face and Tesco all announced positive Christmas trading results, while Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Mothercare struggled.

Curium founding director Andy Dawson says, “At times like these, when retailers are facing lots of headwinds, there will always be winners and losers, but success is often due to execution of a well thought-out strategy. It is very clear that those retailers who have embraced change and adapted to customer needs seem to be the winners.”

Over the past few months, we have published blogs looking at the winners and losers in a fast-moving and highly competitive retail market. This week, Andy considered what 2018 has in store for retailers, having covered retail trends in December 2017.

Retail insolvency is a theme picked up by legal services business Gateley Plc in its three-part series: UK retail – is the perfect storm brewing and webinar.

In both, Gateley assesses whether there is cause for concern, and why, reviews the trends shaping 2018, and suggests options for retailers in distress.

In her guest blog: Insolvency bingo retail expert Donna Worsley argued that meeting customer demands, dealing with pace of change, developing digital capabilities and more, are not impossible.

However, to do so, retailers need both the right strategy and an engaged army willing to fight. In her view, companies which don’t, won’t survive.

Time then, as Andy says, to get back to basics:

  • People first – focus on your people as they are your biggest assets / advocates or potential detractors
  • Delight your customers, listen to them, love them and develop two-way trusted relationships at every possible touch point
  • The amount of change will never slow down; accept that, welcome it and develop a core change capability in your business
  • Take calculated risks and never be afraid to say, “I don’t know” and ask for help, inside or outside your organisation
  • Embrace TetraMap, get to know yourself and your team better
  • Have fun and good luck!

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