UK retailers need to pay attention to changing customer demand

Retailers need to pay attention to changing customer demands and keep an eye on cash, if they are to avoid going into administration, say leading London accounting and tax advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Mark Hart a partner in the firm said: “A key issue for retailers as we ease of out lockdown is to ensure they have adequate liquidity.  One way to create this in the short-term is to enhance promotional discounts.  If done correctly, the brand can be protected and revenue and cashflow increased.”

He added: “This can create a much-needed cash lifeline at a time when operating costs, like property and staff are rising, but revenue is only just starting to come back.”

Mark said: “Going forward, it is vital that retailers, especially those which are niche like Victoria’s Secret, which called in the administrators at the end of last week, ensure their business is omni channel and that the online customer experience can be replicated in the in-store experience customers want.  This will maximise sales”.

He added: “Having an effective online presence means investment in digital infrastructure; having a fully thought out stock holding policy which models expectation for demand, sales returns as well as preparing for greater online activity and having an effective sales distribution process.”

Mark said: “For some retailers the balance between a physical presence on the high street and other channels like the internet will have to change. This will need to be done delicately to ensure no loss of loyal customers who will need to be re-educated about how they shop.”

He added: “This should be presented as a positive move to allow the customer more flexibility in terms of whether they buy in a re-invigorated, but smaller high street or whether they buy on-line. Inevitably there will be changes and as the retail footprints on our high streets change retailers will need to renegotiate the terms of their leases and business rates if this part of British shopping and society is to be maintained and jobs protected.”