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Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG comments on retailers’ views for 2012

KPMG’s Succeeding in a Changing World Business Leaders Survey asked business leaders from 31 countries across Europe to identify the challenges facing their business in 2012.

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Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail at KPMG comments on retailers’ views for 2012

136 retail business leaders responded.  Here, Helen Dickinson, partner at KPMG LLP, talks about the interesting results of the Business Leader Survey for retailers.

"For me, the most startling figure in our survey results is that 34% do not believe there is over-capacity in the retail market.

Maybe I should be encouraged that so many businesses remain optimistic, believing there is opportunity to secure significant value and volume growth, in the current low growth environment – a backdrop which is certainly here to stay for some time to come.

With online retailing, trying to accurately predict the percentage of total sales this channel will generate is a futile task.
For this survey, I suggested 50% in ten years and just over half of the respondents agreed. That is still a huge leap forward as online sales currently account for under ten percent of the total, although ongoing growth at the current rate would just about get us there.
Actually, I think that the continued blurring of the multi-channel boundaries will soon make the question redundant as technology continues to facilitate the ability to interact with consumers at multiple touch points.

Making investment decisions will become more difficult as identifying the point where a customer made their purchasing decision becomes less and less straightforward.

On the issue of pricing, 31% do not agree with the suggestion that retailers are now locked into a period of promotions and discounting.
This may be admirable optimism. Or maybe the 31% believe that they absolutely understand their customers’ decision-making at different price points – but this is an issue vexing plenty of retailers so the response is somewhat surprising.

Setting and executing pricing policy, consistent with the value proposition, is critical to drive profitable growth as input prices remain under pressure and as buying behaviour evolves.

Elsewhere, I am bemused by the muted retail support for the theme of sustainability. I feel that the need to evolve to more sustainable business models will be the primary driver shaping the future of retail over the next 20 years – just as technology has been for the previous 20 years."
To access the survey, click here.

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