It’s no secret that COVID-19 has had a staggering impact on the global retail industry. With the implementation of government-mandated social distancing measures worldwide, several offline retailers have been forced to permanently close stores due to rising cost pressures. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that the time to pivot from physical to digital is now.

Despite the announcement of moratorium extensions and generous stimulus packages, the global retail industry is expected to continue experiencing weakened demand and, as a result, a prolonged recession. To navigate these challenges, players in this space will need to quickly develop strategic responses to longer-term challenges and expected changes in shopping behavior.

The sharp decrease in demand across the retail industry has also forced businesses to redesign their labour models, undertake corporate restructuring, and in some cases, renegotiate their lease contracts.

While FMCG and big-box retailers will benefit from relatively steady demand, sales volumes are expected to remain depressed for specialty and department stores in the short- to medium-term. In addition to this, as customers continue to favour online shopping and bulk-buying, traditional brick-and-mortar retail will have to adapt with discounted pricing, loyalty programs, and innovative digital solutions.

Food and beverage retailers are increasingly working with third-party delivery companies to secure revenue streams in the face of a crisis that brought dine-in revenue to an almost complete halt. Foodservice outlets and chains that have since reopened – almost entirely on a partial capacity basis – now need to invest significantly in implementing contactless customer service solutions.

As expected, for e-commerce, the grass is much greener. An increasing number of new businesses are opening online-only stores, while others are adopting an omnichannel approach to their sales strategies and logistics planning. COVID-19 has, undoubtedly, set the tone for the 'new era' of retail.

How we add value

Cedar has built and implemented several breakthrough strategies for major retail brands worldwide. Key successes include developing and executing a digital strategy for one of India's largest footwear retailers and building a Balanced Scorecard framework for a leading global apparel brand.

From procurement to sales, we understand all critical aspects of your business – as well as how to ensure you not just survive, but thrive in tumultuous times.

  • Retail firms have been forced to reevaluate their manufacturing, procurement, and distribution strategies. Cedar's extensive experience in designing Balanced Scorecard frameworks can help transform your supply chain approach.
  • As markets open at different stages worldwide, Cedar will build a market entry strategy tailored to your specific needs and goals. Our work is informed by our unparalleled decades of experience working across complex geographies.
  • With evolving consumer demands and expectations, it has become increasingly important for retailers to become highly consumer-centric. With our toolbox of proprietary technology, you’ll have access to deep data-driven consumer insights.
  • The onset of COVID-19 has driven many businesses in the retail space to consolidate as a means of survival. Our extensive work across due-diligence, M&A, and post-merger integration activities position us well to take care of all your corporate finance needs.
  • As we move to an increasingly digital-first world, building a robust digital platform will be critical to success. We harness our deep expertise in digital strategy formulation to equip you with an innovative and actionable roadmap.
  • Revenue and profitability is slowing industry-wide and companies will need to optimize their costs. Our best-in-class operations programs – tailored for you, from ideation to execution – will help you innovate processes to reduce costs and improve productivity.
  • As retailers continue to face budget cuts and closures, it is paramount to design a more sustainable workforce strategy for the future. As a thought leader in human capital, Cedar can be your strategic partner in workforce transformation.

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