We open this week’s edition with the shift in the table that has been on everyone’s lips, and no I am not talking about Arsenal moving above Tottenham for the first time this season (although that was a nice touch). I am referring to Asda moving into the second, position and is now therefore above Sainsbury’s in the UK supermarkets league. According to the latest figures from Kantar, Sainsbury’s sales fell 1.8% in the 12 weeks leading to the 24th of March. This took its market share to 15.3% and therefore making it 0.5 percentage points lower than last year. It could be said that with the prolonged period of uncertainty that was caused by the on-again off-again SASDA merger, Sainsbury’s haven’t been able to invest the required time into their strategy. Although it is in a highly competitive market, as the merger talks draw to a close, can we expect a refocusing at Sainsbury’s, on the core offer and an experience that will see them take back second spot? It is a long season after all!
Next up, Superdry. All I can say is, toys have been thrown out of the pram. Following the narrow shareholder majority vote (50.75%) to reinstate co-founder Julian Dunkerton as a non-executive director, a mass exodus occurred, with the Chairman, Chief Executive and Chief Finance all amongst the departures. As you can imagine, the stock-market reacted in the only way it knows how to – with the troubled retailer’s shares falling 11%. Dunkerton is set for a huge up-hill climb as he attempts to bring this once admired retailer back to prosperity. I think the first issue will be determining where the key improvement areas are. Product range, online presence or improving legacy strategies would all be good places to start. Dunkerton brings a fresh perspective and new ideas from his time away so perhaps, what to watch will be closer to how fast he can implement his strategy, rather than a long period of defining it.
From hero to zero, Boots started the week on the up, and looked to be weathering the storm that is bashing the hinges off the high-street. Reports early in the week indicated that the cosmetics retailer had purchased an old Marks & Spencers store in Central London on a ten-year lease and they were set to undergo the biggest revamp in their 170-year history. But oh, how it was all too good to be true, with stories coming out the following day, stating the chain had suffered its “most difficult quarter” since the firm’s formation, with UK like-for-like sales down 2.3%. Following this, the company has announced that store closures are imminent, however, I do hope this doesn’t include their latest real-estate investment. Again, another retailer is suffering at the cruel hands of online shopping and rising business rates. The core pharmaceutical /optimal industry has high barriers to entry, combined with Boots being a trusted player here leads me to believe that they will come out of this difficult period. Majoring in these factors and building wider experiences around these unique selling points will help drive the much-needed footfall into their stores.
Consultant, Agile Transformation & Enablement
Area of interest/most experience : Retail, with a focus on Supply Chain Automation and Customer Engagement.