Consumers are under increasing pressure, and a number of retailers have been feeling the full force of this.

Consumers are under increasing pressure, and a number of retailers have been feeling the full force of this.

Focus DIY has fallen into administration; HMV has been forced to sell Waterstone’s; and many others including Mothercare and JJB Sports have been having a hard time of it on the high street. However, as always, there are those that seem to have been doing well - Halfords, Tesco, Primark to name a few - despite all these pressures.

So, if you have a strong value proposition, or a unique brand name, or you are the biggest beast in your jungle, while not resting on your laurels, you are in a stronger position to survive; and in order to survive, you will need to get all the base financial and operational disciplines nailed down to avoid being hit hard by further approaching storms.

At AlixPartners, we work with all kinds of retailers, often in urgent situations where there is a need to do something that really matters. Frequently we help with cash and working capital, rapid EBITDA improvement and managing key stakeholder relationships. In a nutshell, this means getting the business running as efficiently as possible, as quickly as possible, and then telling everyone that you’ve done it.

By doing this, the retailer generates sufficient cash to manage the business and reduces external stakeholder pressure, leaving the business free to work on growing the top line, market share and preparing for the upturn.

Pippa Wicks, Managing Director, AlixPartners