As a prelude to the upcoming World Retail Congress in London (Sept. 19-21), five retail leaders who will be speaking at the event participated in the following Q&A:
What would you say is the biggest issue facing retailers today?
Steve Sadove, CEO and chairman of Saks Inc.: “To remain relevant and meet the needs of customers’ dramatically changing shopping habits, retailers today must quickly and effectively transform into omni-channel organizations. This requires an enormous amount of talent, planning, and commitment of an organization’s monetary and non-monetary resources.”
Ian Cheshire, Group CEO, Kingfisher plc: “Creating distinctive offers in a transparent, commoditized, connected world”.
Ian McCleod, managing director, Coles: “The biggest issue facing retailers is how to engage frugal consumers who are seeking better value on the internet, requiring retailers to expedite multi‐channel retailing”.
Sanjay Kapoor, managing director, Genesis Luxury: “One of the biggest challenges facing retailers today is the extremely high rental cost, especially in markets such as India. The cost of real estate in India today is more than Shanghai and New York. This is due to lack of sufficient supply despite increasing demand for the right retail infrastructure.”
Hugo Bethlem, executive VP, Grupo Pão de Açucar: “The Brazilian macro-economic indicators suggest that it should be delivering a strong consumer environment with good revenue distribution, the lowest ever unemployment rate, low inflation, access to credit and falling interest rates. But retail sales are not as great as they could be. The second half of 2012 is expected to be stronger than the first half and the opportunity for consolidation and market share gains are positive.”
What guarantees success in today’s retail climate?
Steve Sadove: “I don’t think success is ever ‘guaranteed.’ You can certainly improve your chances if you