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Etail investment rises up the agenda

Fashion retailers and brands are to ramp up investment in ecommerce over the next three years as the market begins to pick up, according to research.

The Technology in Fashion report, commissioned by software company Prologic, claims that as the economy picks up, a readiness to put money behind IT shows that retailers are beginning to invest in their businesses again, rather than cutting costs.

The report surveyed 40 major fashion retailers and brands, which together represent 18% of the UK fashion retail market.

Last year 80% of retailers and brands said cost-cutting was a key strategy for survival, compared with just 40% this year.

Some 63% of companies said investment in ecommerce and home shopping would be a key strategy for survival over the next 12 months.

The top investment priority for brands and retailers over the next three years is website development above other business technologies such as stock management systems.

Some 56% of the retailers and brands surveyed said website development was their key investment priority, compared with 49% this time last year.

This willingness to invest correlates with more positive trading forecasts. Just 12% of respondents expected sales to fall over the coming 12 months, compared with 41% last year.

The report also found that investment in IT had returned to previous levels after falling last year as the recession hit.

This year, investment in IT has risen to an average of 2.3% of retail sales, against 1.8% last year.

Prologic product management director Simon Hanson said: “Retailers are upping their investment in ecommerce now because retail sales are flat while ecommerce is still growing rapidly.”

Committed to the web

  • 56% of retailers named their website as the top investment priority for the next three years, compared with 49% last year
  • Internet sales now account for an average 6.3% of overall sales. (This question was not asked last year)
  • 32% said investment in IT would increase next year, compared with 14% who forecast an increase this time last year

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