Thursday 30 August 2012

Discount stores boom as upmarket shoppers brag...

The economic quagmire has provided the perfect breeding ground for general merchandise discounters, who have expanded aggressively – more than filling the void created by the collapse of Woolworths in 2008. Analysts at the IGD predict the value retail sector will be worth £8bn by 2015.

Classless appeal
But the key to discounter success is their classless appeal. Mature NAMs will remember their first visits to Aldi Berlin in the early 1990s, and their bemusement at the shopper transport parked outside – ranging from students bikes to state-of-art Mercedes. As we all knew at the time, this could never happen in the UK….

City paying heed
The growing might of chains such as Poundland, Wilkinsons and Home Bargains means the City is starting to take notice. Stockbrokers Shore Capital believes discount retail is the fastest growing area of the whole market, with the strongest performers potential candidates for stock exchange listings or takeovers by quoted chains further down the line.

The forward working environment 
Given their arrival at critical mass in a flat-line economy, we reckon that discounters are merely at the start of a five year opportunity to gain share in the UK. NAMs need to second-guess the politicians: they have been telling us about imminent recovery for the past five years.
Having thus established politicians' credibility, with little change to EU/global economic conditions, is it likely that we can expect any real uplift in the next 5 years…?

Competition hots up...
The competitive landscape ranges from single-price chains such as Poundland and 99p Stores to general discounters such as Home Bargains and B&M Stores. But the rapid expansion of what were once regional, often family-run, companies means the retailers are now treading on each other's toes.

A zero-sum future?
This means that market will operate on a zero-sum basis with any share gains at the expense of not only other retailers but also of other discounters.
In other words suppliers have to prepare discounter strategies that are in harmony with  overall trade strategies, taking care to avoid inadvertent compromise or conflict.

This means that suppliers need to factor discounters more aggressively into their organisational structures and trade strategies, ‘permanently’…

Permanently? Bear in mind that the other characteristic is that discounters thrive in a downturn, but rarely surrender any gains in market share in a rebound… 

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