Hope is not a business strategy

From a profit of £59.3 million to a loss of £10.4 million in 12 months: Einstein was right. Tweet This

It’s time for a reality check in the British retail sector before our own ‘dinosaurs’ go the way of Target and JC Penny.

Einstein said the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result.

Sometimes I wonder if he had the retail industry in mind when he said that.

With the double whammy of austerity and Brexit uncertainty continuing to hit the pockets of consumers, trading conditions are what diplomats would call ‘challenging’.

Today, the British Retail Consortium published a report which concluded that, in the year to October, non-food sales rose by a paltry 0.2%.

That’s the worst performance since the BRC started measuring this area of sales in 2011.

Total retail sales are also in a trough, with October’s like-for like basis down from 2.4% to 0.2%. Well, at least there’s some consistency there!

Paul Martin, the head of retail at KPMG (the firm that compiled the report), offered the opinion that retailers are hoping for a bumper Black Friday.

Well, the last time I looked, ‘Hope’ wasn’t on the curriculum of any major business school. Maybe it was included in the module entitled ‘On a Wing and a Prayer’.

When a company like New Look report a half-year loss of £10.4 million down from a profit of £59.3 million, shareholders have a right to be angry if hope is the only solution on the agenda.

Every business in the world, not just retailers, has to get its head around one very important concept.

Continuous disruption is here to stay.

The old way is broken. Move on or move out.

Even agile startups can quickly fail if they don’t learn to pivot and roll with the punches.
In this fast-moving environment, the best way for big retailers to stay in business, and thrive, is to embrace new technology.

And you are almost spoilt for choice.
There are so many solutions to retailer problems out there, from making replenishment more efficient to creating bespoke promotions at an SKU level.

So, before you get down on your knees and pray for a bumper Black Friday and a Prosperous Christmas, give us a call at Evo Pricing and let’s take Hope out of the equation.


About the writer

Martin Luxton blog.jpg

Martin Luxton is a writer and content strategist who specializes in explaining how technology affects business and everyday life.


Big Data and Predictive Analytics are here to stay and we have only just begun tapping into their enormous potential.