It took a hot summer and a football tournament to drive home the message that bricks and mortar is no longer good enough. Woolworths suffered losses this summer and is now focusing on bricks and clicks to ensure all gaps are plugged in future.
The combined effect of the World Cup and an extraordinarily hot summer has hit retailers hard. Woolworths is a prime example of a company that has now seen the light. It was geared up to make a killing on the World Cup with its stock of England flags and related merchandise but it hadn’t gambled on the fact that as soon as the football got underway half the population would be glued to the telly and a long way from the high street. The hot weather ensured that the other half of the population was glued to the deck chair.
Woolworths has reported a drop in like for like sales in the group's 821 stores of 7.7% in the 25 weeks to 22 July. A small proportion of this was due to stores being closed for refurbishment to the new 10/10 format.
BUSINESS FORUM COMMENT
The need for a combined online/offline strategy is highlighted by this unusual situation. There will always be things that affect businesses that are outside their immediate control. Town centres are affected by anything that disturbs traffic flow. Hot weather causes congestion particularly in seaside towns such as Brighton and major events local or national will always get in the way of business.
By having a strong presence online as well as in the high street retailers can cover their backs to an extent and pick up extra business at times when the high street is a no-go area.
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