SuperGroup’s supply chain-induced woes have been a timely reminder of just how much financial success hinges on a smooth supply chain operation.

Supergroup’s supply chain-induced woes have been a timely reminder of just how much financial success hinges on a smooth supply chain operation. The fashion retailer warned that problems with a new warehouse system had resulted in a “significant but temporary” reduction in the amount and range of stock reaching its stores. The end result is a potential £9m being wiped off its annual profits.

Not being able to get stock to stores was a problem for countless retailers last winter as snow and ice resulted in millions of Christmas presents left stranded in warehouses. M and M Direct was forced to halt guaranteed pre-Christmas deliveries three days earlier than expected. The upshot was a loss of £2.5m sales.

Our feature on carriers considers issues retailers face with fulfilment. As retailers strive to keep costs down and offer customers free delivery, do they risk hindering the service provided by their carriers? And as online sales volumes continue to climb, is there sufficient capacity to cope with an unexpected surge in online orders?

For its ability to cope with the unexpected, World Duty Free’s award- winning supply chain team is second to none. We take a look at the fascinating world of travel retail, where there is hardly any airside storage capacity and a major flight delay can drastically affect sales. When it comes to agility, it’s a model from which every retailer could learn a thing or two.

The feature on price optimisation shows how advanced analytics can bring about better demand forecasting and optimise the flow of stock. And finally, if retail supply chain teams didn’t have enough to think about, there is the added logistical challenge of next year’s Olympic Games. The retail supply chain professional’s job appears busier than ever, but then that’s just the way they like it.