Philip Hall, Managing Director, Europe at Rithum said: “It’s been a challenging start to the year for many retailers and brands. Consumer confidence has taken a hit, and the low discretionary spending reflects the fact that consumers are battening down the hatches in response to the economic storm overhead.

“With the uncertainty set to continue for the foreseeable, brands and retailers are focused on profitability over everything else. Ecommerce will be a big focus of conversation for those looking for ways to adapt quickly to shifting demand patterns, maintain profitability and meet consumers where they shop.

“As every penny counts, consumers are more price-conscious than ever, with some looking in-store, then checking prices online before making a decision. Retailers and brands are also assessing every channel’s performance and honing their marketing strategies to avoid any wastage.

“Any bets taken in the next few months will need to be carefully calculated as the margins are so fine. Retailers are leaning into unowned inventory to meet customer needs more profitably, and one option that brands are exploring is consolidating stock pools. This minimises risk as if one retailer sells out of a product, then the brand can shift over any excess stock to ensure the customer can still make the purchase.”

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