Future of discount retail a key theme of Retail Week Live

Monday 16th March 2015

Gordons was delighted to sponsor last week’s Retail Week Live conference at the Hilton Metropole in London, an unrivalled industry gathering that brings together thought-leaders and opinion formers from retail to debate, discuss and analyse key issues and trends in the sector.

A stellar list of speakers included John Roberts of AO.com, Alex Baldock of Shop Direct, Richard Pennycook of Co-Op, Jim McCarthy of Poundland, Anders Kristiansen of New Look, Sebastian James of Dixon Carphone, Tim Steiner of Ocado and Jacqueline Gold of Ann Summers, amongst many others.  Political insight was provided by Lord Peter Mandelson and David Blunkett MP, and the two day conference also featured invaluable insight from a variety of industry consultants and tech experts.

Key themes which featured across many of the presentations included the focus on harnessing ‘big data’ to personalise the customer offering, the constant evolution of technology and how this will affect the shopping experience going forward, and the rise and impact of discount and value retailers.

Mike Coupe of Sainsbury’s, delivered the closing keynote and dismissed talk of the death of the supermarket as a “gross exaggeration”.  Coupe insists that the majority of customers will continue to do their shopping in large stores, even in a decade’s time.

“There is no absolutely no doubt they will have to change in terms of the goods and services they offer, but fundamentally an out of town superstore will be the main point that most of our customers will go to in any given period of time. How we use that space will change quite rapidly. We have to put more goods and services into our out-of-town stores and turn them into shopping destinations.”

Coupe added that discounters Aldi and Lidl will grow their combined market share to around 15% by 2022 and admitted Sainsbury’s could not compete with them on price. “That market share has to come from somewhere and my job is to make sure that doesn’t come from Sainsbury’s. Our business won’t win a price war against the discounters. It has to be differentiated in other ways. What we can win on is range, we can win on service, we can win on having an easier shopping experience, we can win on the quality of the products that we sell.”

Click here to see live tweets from the event from our Retail Partner, Andy Brian.