James Thompson: Snow shows the need for a slick internet operation
Friday 14 January 2011
Following a blizzard of festive trading updates yesterday, the hoopla around who had a good, bad or ugly Christmas is all but over bar the shouting for another year.
Most retailers will look back on this period and lament huge deluges of snow that wreaked havoc with their peak trading period.
Many will also be cursing the big external factors that continue to put a vice-like grip on household budgets from a hike in VAT to record fuel prices. The ongoing rise in inflation is, of course, just one reason why retailers may be justified in fearing what the first half of 2011 may throw at them, including a potential jolt in public sector job losses. But there are also plenty of other reasons why a large retailer – apart from those selling books, CDs, DVDs and computer games – that has survived the past two years can face the long-term with quiet confidence.
Most of the retailer sector has been through the corporate equivalent of boot camp since late 2008 when it seemed as if Armageddon beckoned. Many of the big chains around today have leaner and more effective workforces, property portfolios and systems, as well as – most importantly – less debt.
However, it would be amiss not to mention the snow regarding the possible retail lessons from Christmas 2010 – such as the importance of having a slick internet operation and a burgeoning overseas model. And here, Tesco remains the yardstick. Despite anaemic underlying festive sales in the UK, it's still on track to deliver pre-tax profits of more than £3.5bn this year. As one non-grocery chief executive said this week, "that's the only figure that matters". When a retailer operates in 14 countries, it can bask in soaring sales in Thailand and China, when most UK retailers are battling blizzards.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing
Syrian teenager Usaid Barho reveals how he escaped from Isis using a suicide vest
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...