Last week was all about department stores as, sadly, BHS hit the buffers. This week, grocery will be in the spotlight.
One thing links the two: the battle to remain relevant in a radically altered retail world.
Sainsbury’s posts full-year results on Wednesday, and a day later Morrisons issues a quarterly trading update.
Each is realigning to take account of industry shifts, such as the rise of the discounters and changes to shopping habits as online retail grows.
Each is doing so by refocusing on traditional strengths while still embracing the new ways.
But it has also been audaciously ambitious with its proposed acquisition of Argos-owner Home Retail, a deal designed to allow it to scale up its general merchandise offer and hugely enhance its multichannel capabilities and appeal to consumers.
How it is faring in its core food market – and, according to Kantar data, it has performed better than its big four peers for a while – and what it may say about the tie-up with Argos will be the things to look out for upon results day.
Like Sainsbury’s, Morrisons has also returned to its roots by focusing on what has traditionally underlined its fundamental consumer appeal, such as value for money and product provenance that it controls because of its food sourcing and processing strength.
And, like Sainsbury’s, it has not shied away from new thinking. Morrisons shocked the industry by striking a deal with Amazon to wholesale a range of products to the etail giant, which is ramping up its own food operations.
Both Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are only a short way along their new retail journeys, but each is doing the right thing by seeking new solutions.
The demise of BHS was a reminder that old ways of doing things are not sufficient today. It was on the way down while Amazon, the epitome of contemporary retail, was on the up at an accelerating pace.
Much that’s happening in retail at the moment really reflects the swathe that Amazon has cut through tradition.
Like Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, retailers more widely must view the landscape through the prism of what Amazon is doing to ensure they do not go the way of BHS, isolated from consumers and the way they shop now.