Why big retailers are failing

Online retail was having an "absolutely huge" influence and companies needed to adapt to meet the changing demands of the market. Photo / File
Online retail was having an "absolutely huge" influence and companies needed to adapt to meet the changing demands of the market. Photo / File

Big retailers who have struck tough times despite the booming economy have themselves to blame, says First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson.

He was making the comments after it was announced yesterday that 10 stores of fashion retailers Marcs and David Lawrence would be closing down in New Zealand.

It is the latest in a slew of well-known retailers to go under in the past year.

Rhodes and Beckett, and Herringbone were placed in voluntary administration in February, leaving the futures of about 140 workers in doubt.

Payless Shoes and Howards Storage World appointed administrators two months ago, while children's retailer Pumpkin Patch entered receivership last October.

Speaking on Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking show, Wilkinson agreed that the retailers had themselves to blame.

"Very much so. It's about moving with the times and it's about being agile," he said.

"There's two things going on: one is the impending headwinds that we're seeing with retail. There's certainly a lot of big retailers making some pretty cathartic decisions, some big moves with the likes of Amazon heading our way.

"But we've also got some specific issues with these troubled retailers: undifferentiated offers, not understanding their markets anymore, no digital visibility or performance."

Online retail was having an "absolutely huge" influence and companies needed to adapt to meet the changing demands of the market.

"We're seeing right now a big shift from retailers telling consumers what they want and what they need to moving towards that understanding. Much stronger interpretation, much more individualistic approach. And that's one of the big issues that happened recently, particularly with these Australasian retailers," he said.

The closure of the Marcs and David Lawrence stores was announced yesterday by administrators Rodgers Reidy, who confirmed it would impact 11 full-time, 22 part-time and 11 casual jobs.

- NZ Herald

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