Europe woes alike SA

Posted On Friday, 18 May 2001 03:01 Published by
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A problem shared is, well, still a problem. Especially when it comes to retail's woes.

Europe's retail woes sound echo. Rode Friday, May 18, 2001
A problem shared is, well, still a problem. Especially when it comes to retail's woes. Small consolation then to know it's not only SA's shopkeepers that are struggling. It's tough, world-wide.Fresh from Stats SA, just to put you in the picture, is the news that real retail sales for the three months to February 2001 increased by 2,5% (compared with the previous comparable period in 2000). But this is below Standard Bank's expectations of 3,4%, and sales growth would have to be very robust in the second half of 2001 for it to match last year’s 3,5%.

Although these figures will provide little solace for local retailers, it's sort of nice to know that the heavyweights offshore are also struggling. UK retailer Marks & Spencer, for instance, plans to shut down all of its 38 stores in continental Europe, with 3 350 job losses.

Now here's a trend to watch: Marks & Spencer said they were committed to their e-commerce businesses. Other retailers were more cautious and want to watch their online progress first before putting own strategies into place.

Not surprising then that Woolworths CEO, Simon Susman, says of these trends that 'at the heart of retail is understanding the customer'.

The jury is still out whether the realigned Woolies is doing this under Susman's helm, although recent encouraging half-year results signal a healthy course.

Publisher: Rode Friday
Source: Rode Friday

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