Retail Economics/RBS Outlook for UK Retail 2018
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A vast blanket of uncertainty engulfs the entire economic landscape at present. Attempting to accurately predict the immediate future for the retail industry appears to be a task beyond mortals.
I feel that 2018 will be a memorable year. Pervading structural change continues to rattle traditional business models and will undoubtedly intensify as we move forward.
A tough consumer environment will remain throughout the first half of 2018 as the debilitating squeeze on personal finances finally eases by Q4 2018. Nevertheless, confidence will remain a delicate issue with possible interest rate hikes, a tough labour market and political instability forming an unwelcoming backdrop.
Retailers will also face a continued pincer movement of rising operating and sourcing costs with soft consumer demand. Many retail business models will come under increasing strain as the unforgiving shift towards online and the experience economy collide with inflexible leases, high rents and excess properties.
Focussed work will continue behind the scenes to better understand the role of digital and social marketing in alignment with dazzling in-store experiences, while delivering a truly seamless omnichannel experience.
There’s no question - boardrooms across the UK will have to discuss the ‘embrace, adapt and innovate’ philosophy in order to thrive, or indeed, just to survive.
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