Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Adding value is key to beating recession says John Lovering

Retailers must focus on pushing their value credentials and building market share to ride through the economic downturn, according to Debenhams chairman John Lovering and New Look chairman Phil Wrigley.

Speaking at the Retail Week Conference 2009 at London’s Hilton Metropole hotel this morning, Lovering said that shoppers would look towards product with perceived value rather than just chasing lower prices in the recession.

“We can’t all be Primark,” he told the delegates.

“Our Designers at Debenhams ranges have outperformed other products and third party brands. Customers want special product rather than the lowest possible price.”

New Look chairman Phil Wrigley added that retailers must: “Attack as well as defend, by trying to gain market share”

Wrigley said: “Its 25% more expensive to source because of the value of the pound against the dollar. That dwarfs the percentage drop in consumer spending. There isn’t much room to wriggle with cost to beat that challenge.  You have to attack as well as defend. You have to take market share to survive and you have to take a lot to thrive. You need a clear vision, a relevant offer to today’s customers and a concept that all stakeholders, management and suppliers buy into.”

He added that retailers should focus on seeking out talent within their companies.

Lovering also said that retail management teams needed to display confident leadership in difficult times.

“Leadership and vision are more important than process. You must convince your team that the future is bright and talk about how it is going to be, not how it was,” said Lovering.

Lovering added that Debenhams was reorganising its supply chain to help cut costs.

“We’ve reduced lines and options in the store by 15% year on year so we buy more with fewer suppliers as long as they agree to share the burden of extra costs,” he said.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Customers will make up their own mind. They know what they want and what they want to pay for it.

    I agree, retailors should focus on Market share but with out compromising their key strenghths. Debenhams Designers may have done well, but the customers want the same but for less now. Disposable incomes have now shrunk and people are struggling. We need to come up with a better plan.

    Whilst companies are focussing on reducing costs and be more efficint,improving supply chain etc, I think there is an oppotunity to lower margins and drive volumes. Yes, share the burden with the suppliers!

    The primary objective is to keep the customers coming to the malls, and high streets and not dissapoint them with high prices and poor quality.

    The leadership needs a new strategy which gives the consumer what they want, and when they want it, but appreciating the pocket size of the customer, as it has changed. Look around you and talk to the people you know.

    It's all about the "survival of the fittest now".

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.