Retail is still very much riding the recovery-rollercoaster

Approaching Retail in 2023 with Guts

Retail is still very much riding the recovery-rollercoaster. And in 2022, many retailers were still finding their post-pandemic flow, amidst new challenges, thanks to omnichannel and agility – providing opportunities to give a great shopping experience and responding rapidly to challenges.

This is a huge positive for any brand heading into 2023 because unpredictability still lies at the heart of the retail picture across Europe. Recession across the continent, energy crises and continuing war in Ukraine has led the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to paint a gloomy picture for 2023.

But, in December 2022, Britain saw a surprise boost in retail sales of 11% – despite economists forecasting a very different picture and predicting a 21% decline. And this was echoed across Europe. According to EU sales data, Europe saw a 0.9% growth in retail sales for the month of December.

These signs are encouraging. Despite what many would argue have been the toughest years for retailers in decades, growth and opportunities are still waiting to be found.

But as forecasts are predicted to remain challenging, retailers would be wise to approach 2023 with a whole lot of guts and a little bit of guidance.


Build-in stability

As retailers, we’re reliant on so many external factors when it comes to success. Will our supply chain be reliable? Will consumers still be willing to spend? Will our business rates and expenses remain affordable? What global events will impact on our business this year?

Now is the time to even out what you can to reduce some of the potential uncertainties.

We’ve spoken at length on the changes we’ve made to our business model to ensure we can remain a stable and reliable partner for the retailers who work with us. Some of these include increasing the flexibility and insight of the stock we store, reducing our carbon footprint and expenditure on our head office and switching our supply chain to local producers wherever possible (86% of the products we source are from Europe).

Not only does this mean steadiness for us, but stability for our customers who can rely on us to provide a constant and reliable service. This shouldn’t be underestimated as the retail picture in 2023 continues to be uncertain.

Looking at all the areas in your business where you can bring some solidity would be wise. Whether that is through automation, supply chain changes or energy improvements – opportunities are there.

Be prepared to budge…on everything

If there was a word for retail in 2022, it would have been ‘agility’. Retailers that had the most successes, were those that rolled with the punches and kept learning.

McKinsey & Company suggests that “Commercial effectiveness” is one of the key areas to focus on for 2023 and agility sits at its heart.

“Commercial effectiveness requires an orchestrated response that blends a deep understanding of how the market and customers interact; actions to fine-tune pricing, promotions, assortment strategy, and communications; and an operating model that uses data to make forward-looking decisions.”

In a nutshell, 2023 is omnichannel on steroids. You need enough data across customer, industry, logistics and supply chain to empower you to make brave decisions throughout 2023. To achieve this, you need to make sure your ability to gather data isn’t compromised by outdated technology and slow data-capture.

Investment in slick systems that allow you to integrate all of these will give you the ability to make changes at speed. Being prepared to make these changes across pricing, procurement, logistics, supply chains and sales strategies is your superpower for the year ahead.

Re-think your product ranges

In a recession-fuelled retail market, nice-to-haves frequently get put aside by consumers in favour of the absolute essentials. A recent poll by Ipsos shows that across Europe, consumers are expecting their disposable income to drop as energy prices, war in Ukraine and recession take their toll.

British health and beauty chain, Boots, has launched a budget range to do exactly that. And while they certainly aren’t the most expensive high-street brand, it puts them in touch with a market of consumers willing to spend in their stores.

Those retailers that can offer, or already do, a budget-conscious range of products – or at least, more flexibility, tend to fare better than pure luxury and more expensive brands. 2023 offers you a perfect opportunity to consider your product ranges and market reach among consumers that are feeling the pinch.

If you want to approach 2023 with guts, speak to our team on +31 (0) 88 494 20 80 or email us at

David Mines
Business Development Director

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