Retail Review - UK - March 2009
Unprecedented numbers of large retail companies have been affected by administration since the last such report in 2008. And a continuing stream of bad economic and employment news means that the bottom of the financial downturn has yet to be reached.
More company failures are anticipated in 2009, but deteriorating market conditions provide opportunities for new entrants. The key factors being availability of good sites, falling occupancy costs, weak competition and a weak Sterling that is making the UK attractive to foreign investors.
There is certainly life out there in retail to counter the view that bricks and mortar retailing may never recover from this recession. In the same week as Woolworths went into administration and MFI called in administrators for the second time, Swedish homewares and hardware retailer Clas Ohlson opened its first store in the UK.
Nor is Clas Ohlson the only Scandinavian invader to enter the UK market in 2008; Danish furniture retailer JYSK has ambitious plans to create a serious challenge to IKEA. And it is not just the Scandinavians that are enthusiastic about the UK retail market, as 2008 saw a number of first-time launches into the UK by European and US retailers, many opening in London’s long-awaited Westfield mega-mall.
What effects have recent company performances had on trading prospects in the continuing recession?
How are competitor weakness and company failures creating opportunities to exploit trading advantages, both within and between retail categories?
How is consumers’ assessment of their spending priorities affecting retail business?
What impact is innovation having, and what is its influence on competitive prospects?
What opportunities are there for businesses with momentum to develop formats and channels, especially online?
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