Fast beats slow in retail

New research launched by Boxwood and Planet Retail shows that although leaders are facing serious challenges as a result of unprecedented macro-economic issues – they don’t lie awake at night thinking about them. Their focus is much more pragmatic – how to play the best hand from the cards they have been dealt.

What they are struggling with most is the delicate balancing act between meeting short-term financial targets and investing in future growth. While employing a number of different strategies, the research shows success comes down to people – getting the right people and galvanising them around a clear, compelling vision.

Investment in multichannel is seen as critical, but not all are convinced that it will provide a superior return on investment. It is simply a mandatory response to customer demands. In today’s market, the traditional advantages of scale are less and less relevant. Instead speed and agility in the core value chain are increasingly the key to competitive advantage. As one leader put it, “it’s no longer big beats little – it’s fast beats slow.”

In today’s marketplace, ‘less is more’ is a clear strategy for success. A key response to the current environment is ruthlessly focusing on the things that really add value to the business and eliminating everything else. Exiting non-core or low-profit parts of the business to focus resources on the areas where true competitive advantage lies.

The constant pressure to stay focused and upbeat, however, is taking a considerable personal toll on many, and leaders need to take care of themselves, as well as their people. Building a strong senior management team around them and establishing an effective support network, both inside and outside the business. These factors are increasingly critical as they strive to find new ways of transforming their business – and winning in some of the toughest times in living memory.

To find out more, download the full report at