LATEST NEWS (January 19, 2019) La Caisse Expands its Investment in Metro Supply Chain Group...More

Welcome to the first edition of OurView in Retail! In each edition of this editorial, we will meander through varying industry trends, market developments, consumer behaviours, and any other cool insights that may or may not have caught your attention for a while. Our first edition will highlight some newsworthy developments in 2018, evaluate the outlook for 2019, and offer our opinion on how retailers can keep up the pace.

Consumer Outlook – Into 2019

2018 was marked by strong global economic growth. Bolstered by a strong labour market and growth in disposable personal income, the retail sector witnessed strong record holiday season sales. Interestingly, despite the strong  economic environment, the retail sector saw mixed retail earnings and some high-profile bankruptcies. Looking at a few of the larger players results from 2018, Sobey’s reported a 4th quarter gain in revenue of 7% – up to $6.45 billion – compared to their previous year. Yoga wear specialists Lululemon had 4th quarter sales increase 26% – up to $1.2 billion – compared to their previous years’ sales. Not all retailers, however, have enjoyed the share of growth seen by other companies. Hudson’s Bay Co. reported declining sales – albeit $2.98 billion – a loss of 1.6% compared to their previous years 4th quarter revenue. 2019 is likely to be a year of transition for the industry. Several forecasts point to economic headwinds for the industry, and in a business environment that continues to move at such a rapid pace, companies will require a well-informed supply chain team that will enable them to deliver their brand’s promise to the
consumer. So, what can companies do to anticipate their customer’s needs?

Keeping To Pace

Today’s retail environment is dominated by a consumer with a seemingly endless list of buying options. Companies that are able to harness the power of Big Data in the logistics industry will be the one’s to keep pace and succeed in 2019’s consumer landscape. Data analytics in the logistics industry will provide invaluable information to retailers – illuminating trends during busy periods, predicting potential stock shortages, enabling route optimization, driving labour efficiency, and providing insights for strategic supply chain decisions to find a competitive advantage.

A final send-off until our 2nd edition, where we’ll dive into Big Data and discuss more interesting trends in
the industry. For an informative read on our other sector specialties, be sure to check out some of my colleagues’ articles from the first edition of the ‘Our View’ newsletter.

Matthew Venner
Metro Supply Chain Group