Tag Archives | retail trends

Affordability, not affordable luxury, key trend for next 20 years

The world changes, and successful companies and people learn to change with it.  That was the blog’s experience 20 years ago in one of ICI’s most profitable business.  As an executive team, we expected recessions to take place every 3-4 years.  But we began to realise we were being too cautious in our strategies, and missing opportunities. […]

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Tesco sees shoppers entering the New Normal

Tesco is the world’s 3rd largest retailer, operating in most major markets. A new analysis by its CEO, Philip Clarke, confirms that a generational change is underway in Western shopping patterns. Writing in the Financial Times, he notes: • ‘Britons are economising in ways I have never seen in my 30 years in grocery retailing’ […]

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High oil prices hit retail spending

Brent oil prices have just finished a record sequence of 240 days above $100/bbl. This was longer than the 170 days in 2008. And longer, on an inflation-adjusted basis, than in any previous period of high oil prices. In Europe, prices were actually higher than in 2008 due to the lower value of the euro […]

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US home prices slip as foreclosures increase

Since 2007, every spring sees a rush of forecasters to claim that – finally – the US housing market has hit bottom. Sadly, for those trapped in foreclosure, and for those in the chemical industry who depend on housing sales, there is little real evidence today for such optimism. Housing also provides a good example […]

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India’s failed reforms leave food to rot

Many analysts have argued that demand in India could easily replace volumes lost due to a slowing Western economy. Sadly, this week has provided further evidence of why this is merely wishful thinking. As the chart shows, India’s GDP is the same size as Canada’s. But India’s 1.4bn people means its GDP/capita is only $1371, […]

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Lower earnings, pensions, hit US consumers

Wall Street analysts have their bonuses to consider at this time of year. So it is no surprise that they are talking up the prospects for the Christmas season – the peak shopping period of the year in the West. But those involved in shipping goods don’t see the same rosy picture: • In August, […]

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Tesco says ‘Today is the New Normal’

The world’s leading retailers have been extremely reliable leading indicators for the chemical industry, since the Great Recession began. They were the first, back in July 2007, to highlight the major changes underway in consumer markets. Tesco, the world’s 3rd largest retailer, warned then that they were changing their focus away from more affluent shoppers […]

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Wal-Mart sends a message

The blog is a great believer in the predictive power of the retail sector. Wal-Mart and Tesco were the first to spot the downturn in the summer of 2007, a year before it became obvious to everyone else. Now Wal-Mart’s problems are providing some important messages about how companies need to adjust their strategies to […]

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Western retailing enters the New Normal

More evidence is emerging of the major changes taking place in Western retailing as we transition to the New Normal. Last week, my fellow blogger Doris de Guzman reported from the World Detergents conference that: • P&G’s CEO Robert McDonald noted that in “the last 18 months, 60% of all new laundry and detergent products […]

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McBride warns of “weak retail sales across Europe”

The blog is a great believer in the retail sector’s ability to help us forecast chemical industry trends. McBride is Europe’s leading ‘own brand’ in the household and personal sector. Its profit warning on Thursday of “weak retail sales across Europe“, therefore rings alarm bells. The sector is a large outlet for chemicals, and has […]

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