RETAIL UPDATE: Customer-First Is The Way To Go!

shopping update

Is retail back?  It might be if you consider that I broke with my frugal ways this past week and splurged on some massive (for me!) wardrobe upgrades. I was planning to hit up COS, Anthom (Soho) and All Saints but I started and ended at COS. Great selection this season – I will post my new outfits on the blog this weekend! I was also impressed with COS’ Agnes Martin collection (in collaboration with the Guggenheim). Unfortunately, only the size 2’s and the XLs were left on the racks. But the styling was phenomenal.

Another noteworthy retail event last week – thank you Piers for the invite – was the media preview of the annual PSFK #FutureOfRetail report. The report is available as of today for $1000.00

I was especially intrigued by the major shifts defining customer-first businesses:

    • VIP treatment vs. being treated as an anonymous customer
    • Personalization (at scale) vs. generic customer service
    • Building brand relationships vs. the basic retail transaction model
    • Data-driven assortments/merchandising vs. intuition led
    • A consumer-first focus vs. a purely bottom line orientation

Read on below for info on the continued boom in fast fashion (stats from McKinsey), the move to de-stigmatize “plus size” shopping, and the growth in horticulture sales in the UK fueled by Halloween!

Fast Fashion is Booming/Where is The Environmental Backlash? (Source: McKinsey)


  • Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014
  • The number of garments purchased each year by the average consumer is up 60%
  • Consumers keep clothing half as long as they did 15 years ago
  • Consumers discard items after just seven or eight wears
  • Zara offers 24 new clothing collections each year; H&M offers 12 to 16 and refreshes them weekly
  • In five large developing countries—Brazil, China, India, Mexico, and Russia—apparel sales grew eight times faster than in Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Meijer is ending “plus-size” clothing racks


  • Women shopping for plus-size clothing will no longer have to shop in a different part of the store
  • Straight and extended-sized will be on one rack in the missy and women’s departments as part of an “inclusive shopping experience.”
  • The company will no longer charge more for plus-size apparel.


Online retail sales will hit $440 billion in 2017 (Source: FTI Consulting, Chain Store Age)

  • Online retail sales have grown by 14% vs. store-based sales growth of 2%-3%
  • 90% of shoppers made an online purchase in the past three months
  • For each sales dollar that migrates away from stores to online, only $0.68 stays within the traditional retail ecosystem
  • FTI predicts that online retail sales will reach $562 billion by 2020 and double in online market share by 2026


Garden retail sales rise (Source: Mintel and Horticulture Week UK)



Glow in the dark roses

  • In garden centers in the UK, October sales were up to 18% because of Halloween’s growing popularity in the UK!!
  • Sales of Halloween flowers jumped by 117% at Waitrose. Most popular: glow-in-the dark flower arrangements and black painted roses.

Share this post on: