This year, our Retail Briefings brought together leading retailers at breakfast events across the UK to assess how the retail sector fared in 2019, and discuss what it might look like in 2020 and how they can thrive in a changing environment.
2019 was another tough year in the retail sector. We saw political and economic uncertainty affect consumer confidence and poor weather impact high-street footfall, creating an even more difficult trading environment. But it wasn’t all bad news: we saw a record-breaking Black Friday weekend and significant success for certain online and high-street retailers across the Golden Quarter.
While we may see similar challenges in the year ahead, there are opportunities in the sector for those retailers that can get it right. The dawn of a new decade looks set to be another demanding year for retail, but we believe there are reasons to be optimistic for responsive and agile retailers.
At each event, we surveyed attendees on what they thought their biggest challenges would be in 2020. Across all events, the three most consistent challenges were sustainability, costs reduction, and management of store and lease portfolios. Our Retail Outlook 2020 looks at each of these areas in detail and provides strategies to help retailers succeed in the year ahead.
Of those retailers, investors and intermediaries polled at our nationwide events, 55% put sustainability in their top 3 strategic priorities for 2020, whilst 45% cited cost reduction and 37% mentioned optimising their store estates