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Powered by people and technology: the retail and wholesale sector view

Gareth Jones

Our annual retail and wholesale whitepaper looks to determine the mood among owner managed businesses (OMBs) operating within the sector. The reports tackles concerns, strategies, perceptions and opportunities that face these businesses when pursuing growth.
This year we have found a slight bounce back in confidence among OMBs in the sector in achieving revenue and profit targets. There has also been a marginal increase in confidence in the general outlook for the year ahead, just over half (53%) of retail and wholesale OMBs are confident about the general outlook for 2018 (a similar result to the 51% last year) – although retail and wholesale OMBs are slightly more cautious about the future than OMBs generally.
They’re also less confident about hitting revenue and profit targets than OMBs generally: 68% of retail and wholesale OMBs expect to hit their revenue targets for 2018 (compared to 71% overall) and 56% are confident about hitting profit targets compared to 64% overall.
The sector faces a fight for survival. The strength of the UK economy continues to be a huge concern for retail and wholesale OMBs in 2018: rising from 66% last year to 86% this year, compared to 78% of OMBs overall this year. When asked about business concerns, just over half (52%) of retail and wholesale OMBs are concerned about the impact of Brexit negotiations on business (in line with the overall result of 51%). We consider the aftermath of Brexit, alongside the full findings of the survey.
On the other hand, retail and wholesale OMBs are more likely than OMBs generally to be launching new products or services this year – 45% are certain or very likely to do so, compared to 37% of OMBs overall. However, this represents a fall from last year (52%).
These are encouraging signs as regardless of the economic climate, combining the power of people and technology is a sound strategy for improving business performance across the retail and wholesale landscape.
Download the full report here.