But while it’s impossible to ignore the huge and dramatic issues facing the global economy, this week’s slew of results show that good retailers can still prosper.
Take JD, which on Tuesday reported a 54 per cent jump in pre-exceptional interim profits. Crucially, trading in its sports and fashion stores continues to be strong, up 5.4 per cent and 8.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis. In a completely different market and with a completely different customer base, Co-op also announced a big jump in profits and a respectable like-for-like increase this week.
Both these performances are exceptional and even the best retailer in the world couldn’t replicate these showings in, for example, the stricken furniture market. But it’s still important to highlight them, otherwise the fog that has enveloped business ever more deeply over recent weeks could be allowed to obscure how retailers are adapting to tougher times and changing customer demands.
JD has the advantage of a youthful customer base that doesn’t generally have mortgages or fuel bills to pay. But it is also getting the retail basics right. It has kept its focus on offering distinctive and often exclusive product and provides a store environment to match. It has made complementary acquisitions in order to bolster its position in its market, which also creates cost efficiencies.
Not every retailer can achieve this level of success. But this issue is packed with ways in which businesses are making sensible responses to tougher times, whether that be a renewed focus on helping consumers save money (page 3) or freezing head office pay to improve efficiency (page 2).
It’s hard out there and the chances are things are going to get worse before they get better. But consumers still have money to spend and good retailers will continue to invest in their businesses to grow their share of spend. With so much uncertainty, the last thing retail as an industry should do is talk ourselves into an even worse position than we are.
Tough times mean it’s even more important than ever to celebrate the successes in our industry, and there’s no better way to highlight what you’re doing than entering the Oracle Retail Week Awards. The awards are now open at Retailweekawards.com and are a great way of showing how your business and your teams are beating the downturn.
Visit retail-week.com today to watch Tim Danaher and George MacDonald discuss the week’s retail news in TGi Friday