The Giant Slowdown
Sobering reading in this week’s The Grocer regarding the global 50’s struggle to grow both turnover and margins. However, if you dig deeper there are also burgeoning buds of hope, with the giant monoliths looking to diversification and technology to drive opportunity. Andy Clarke of Asda predictably asserts that global retailers will have a greater leverage over the global suppliers, whilst Paul Polman of Unilever observes that whilst consolidation has delivered a new dimension to the industry, you cannot save your way to prosperity.
However, for me, as a shopper and as someone who has a vested interested in the face of European retail, fragmentation as demanded by increasingly vocal consumers will be the ‘watch out’ for the immediate future. Adapting to changing tastes quickly and educating both retail staff and shoppers is exciting. Shopping is becoming a regular adventure with new discoveries in every aisle providing of course that availability and compliance are assured so that shoppers can actually buy the products. Let’s hope that the monoliths continue the diversification in Europe and don’t just look to the emerging markets as advocated by OC&C.