Retail and Consumer
The retail sector has been undergoing major structural change since well before the Covid-19 pandemic closed stores for months and turned already thin margins into losses.
The High Street’s death by a thousand cuts is symptomatic of major structural changes throughout the retail industry and other consumer sectors, an ongoing shift in shopping patterns that will continue to remove capacity from the town centres until retailers take drastic steps to adapt to the new order.
The more obvious woes of some of the UK’s oldest and largest multiples – famous department store groups, fashion chains and consumer electrical giants no longer with us – are shared with retailers still suffering: -high rents that they cannot afford in a number of its stores; lack of innovation in-store and slowness to grow online; high staffing needs… The list goes on. High Street retailers will continue to shrink unless they provide an engaging in-store experience for millennial consumers who have almost grown up shopping online. Most of these need a very good reason to venture beyond their front doors to partake in discretionary shopping as a leisure activity.
The complexities faced by the sector go far beyond changing demand profiles. Business rates, data security, investment in store technology, price wars and permanent ‘Sale’ periods, not to mention logistics and the supply chain, have forced business owners and management teams to keep moving just to stand still. Furthermore, as in the leisure and hospitality industries, property is a dominant factor in the viability of a business, prompting a need to redefine relationships between landlords and tenants for the foreseeable future.
The Buchler Phillips team is highly experienced across a broad spectrum of retail and consumer businesses, having advised operators from owner-managed single store units to national chains. Our Partners are able to develop creative and flexible strategies to protect companies in these tough sectors from seemingly endless volatility, offering them the best chance of success when trading environments become more benign.
Our areas of work include:
- Tenancy and rent issues
- Guidance on store closures
- Stock control and working capital
- Technology and operating efficiencies
- Relationships with suppliers
- Trading with international partners
- Support with banking arrangements