Clothes on hangers

Retail and Fashion

There are few sectors of the economy which were hit as hard by the recent financial turmoil as the retail business. Cash-strapped consumers in developed economies, in which retail plays such as large role, have had their appetites for items such as fashion and electronic goods dimmed by stagnant wages and tighter personal debt controls.

In response, retailers have had to focus on their own costs, as consumers demand better deals and competition with low cost retailers becomes ever more intense. At the same time, traditional bricks and mortar stores have had to respond to the rising challenge posed by “e-tailers” such as Amazon, whose operational model of home delivery has led to a wholescale change in the buying behaviour of consumers. Forward-thinking traditional retailers have responded with increasingly popular click and collect services as part of an omni-channel offering.

It all makes for an incredibly complex landscape, where the wrong strategic supply chain decision can have dramatic consequences. Yet if the challenges are more pronounced than ever, so too are the opportunities, with a growing middle class in emerging markets such as China, the Middle East and India all offering potential growth to western retailers – either through the vast shopping malls springing up in the Gulf, or via e-commerce channels that are showing such robust growth in Asia. These trends require new skills of logistics, as this is a world where aspects such as duty management and control over multi-directional trade are becomingly increasingly important.

Metro Shipping’s team of supply chain professionals has a proven track record in servicing the retail sector, with a strong appreciation of how to blend transport modes, with sea freight used for continual fulfilment of retail lines that sell year-round, and air freight chosen for quick access to market for items such as fast fashion, when there are opportunities for large volumes of sales – we understand how to use supply chains to mitigate risks while also exploiting opportunities.