Retailers should collaborate to survive: “You can’t do it alone”

Sir Stuart Rose, speaking at the World Retail Congress, has said fears the high street is dying are “overblown” and that retailers who “collaborate” will endure.

As reported by, Sir Stuart said: “You [retailers] can’t do it alone. You don’t have the firepower to do it.

“Clever people start collaborating. It’s the same with the whole issue of sustainability – should businesses be a force for good, yes, are they a good place to start, yes, can they do it on their own? No, same for government and NGOs. If you bring all together you can make good progress.”

Nevertheless, he had stern words on how customers now control transactions: “They want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and in any channel that suits them. And one other critical factor has changed as well – it’s no longer at the price we choose to charge them, it’s at the price they choose to pay us.

“The thing has turned on its head, it’s become a demand-led economy and if we don’t understand that customers have plenty of opportunities to go elsewhere then we are lost.”

Other retail heads have been keen to point out that the high street is in trouble, not least the owner of Sports Direct and Evans Cycles, Mike Ashley, who last year chided a commons committee: “It’s not my fault the high street is dying; it’s not House of Fraser, not Marks and Spencer or Debenhams’ fault. It is very simple why the high street is dying. It is the internet that is killing the high street.

“It is just going to die, and you’ll be left with Oxford Street and Bond Street. Outside of London, it’s going to be a ghost town.”

Ashley went on to propose a tax on retailers doing more than 20% business online – a proposal MPs argued would be difficult to implement.

There is a wealth of articles on how bicycle retailers can adapt and modify their businesses to continue to trade in a changing and sometimes challenging retail market. From revenue ideas from the likes of Rick Vosper, to tips on making workshops work harder for retail businesses and lots more articles on the topic. You can dig into some of those here.

There’s more from Sir Stuart Rose on Internet Retailing. Worth a read, we’d say.