TOP accountant David McCorquodale, who has played a key role in some of the biggest rescue deals on the high street, is to head up KPMG’s UK retail business.
It will mean focusing more on servicing the wider needs of retailers as they cope with changing shopping patterns.
McCorquodale says the survivors in the battered sector are handling the challenges of the internet by downsizing their stores portfolios and investing heavily in online operations and customer service.
“The issue for retailers is to find out how many stores they need. In the past, a fashion chain would get saturation in the UK with 200 to 250 stores. Anyone setting up now would probably require 60 stores and a good online offering,” he told The Scotsman.
“Click and collect” services are now replacing in-store browsing, particularly among younger shoppers, he said.
“They will seek out what they want on their mobiles on the bus into town, meet their friends and then pick up the goods before heading home. The better retailers are able to move stock around quickly from store to store to make sure products are available.
“Social media had also created a discussion among consumers to compare products and services.”
He said that other structural changes in the high street, such as the preponderance of value and discount retailers, were likely to remain for some time.
“After three or four years of recession, shoppers have realised that what they sell is all right and we’re seeing these value chains, usually based in the north, moving into the south of England.”
McCorquodale has been with KPMG since 1984 and is one of the founders of the firm’s corporate finance business.
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