Gloomy summer could aid channel retails specialists

The latest insight into the state of the high street reveals that those that are managing to do well have slick supply chain infrastructure

With the high street suffering through a wet July and emptier stores than normal as shoppers stay away watching the Olympics the focus has sharpened around the supply chain.

With some fashion stores being caught off guard after weeks of rain to find that they didn't have summer stock in place for a few days of hot sunshine the lessons appear to concern the back-end systems that are in place, potentially giving those selling infrastructure to retail a shot in the arm.

The latest figures for last month's high street activity from BDO showed that sales were down by 2.9%, the sharpest fall since October 2011, and this month with the Capital resembling a ghost town and shoppers glued to their TV sets it could be just as bad.

But faced with tough conditions Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said that there were some examples of retailers who did manage to buck the gloomy trend.

"There are retailers, particularly in the discounting space, who are bucking this trend through flexible and responsive supply chains. The quicker you can get your products to market, the louder you will hear tills ring," he said.

"Many fashion stores were caught out when, after weeks of rain, Britain basked in temperatures of 30 degrees. Getting your supply chain right is the new retail battleground and those who achieve flexibility and agility will survive and prosper.," he added.

He also recommended a continuing investment in online efforts with ecommerce delivering an increase in sales year-on-year.

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