Retail Knows First: A New Wave of Recession?

Just as it felt like the economy was looking up, the media is full once again of stories of doom and gloom. From the problems with Greece to the ever-rising inflation levels to the news that many households are worse off now, it seems to be one thing after another. This week has brought a whole new wave of dismay with the news of problems within the retail sector. With fashion retailer Jane Norman, department store TJ Hughes, furniture store Habitat and the owner of Moben and Kitchens Direct, Homeform all announcing that they are going into administration coupled with Thorntons and CarpetRight announcing store closures, things certainly aren’t looking sunny side up.

These stores are not plucked from obscurity; they are households names found on high streets across the country. These announcements increase the necessity to change and implicate new measures to ensure continued success and not be drawn into the misery of these many retailers.

A new book from The Business Leaders Book Club called ‘Lessons Learned from the Recession’, details 60 unique and personal success stories from the 2008 recession to the present. Each chapter comes from a different business leader and details the individual lessons they have learnt and the strategies which they have implemented to ensure ongoing success. These business leaders come from a number of countries and a variety of industry sectors, including a number of chapters from retailers.

One of the chapters, by businesswoman Debra Zimmer who ran a multi-channel furniture business, states that “retail knows first”. In current circumstances, this statement could be seen to prefigure what we have coming up next. She suggests that a retailer knows “at least three to four months ahead of the government what’s happening at consumer level” and that retailers “are the pulse of the consumer.” With what feels like the whole high street in early summer sales to drive consumer spending and stop people sitting on their hard earned, devalued cash it will be interesting to see what happens over the coming months within both the retail sector and the rest of business.

‘Lessons Learned from the Recession’ provides a wealth of information which can help anyone in business to confidently prepare for success regardless of what happens next. Alongside chapters from the retail sector, there are marketers, recruiters, engineers, publishers and leaders from the financial services and real estate sectors. Many of the problems which the contributors detail are not industry specific and their transferable lessons can help even the most established business leader to prepare for tough times.

The eBook version of ‘Lessons Learned from the Recession’ is available as a free download from but a paperback version is also on sale from the same site. For a limited time only, the paperback is available at 50% off the £12.99 RRP by using BLC1000 at the checkout.

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