South East Asia Retail Trends Overview


David Westhead, Director, Deals & Origination, and Nick Taylor, Senior Managing Director, Retail offered their analysis of the current retail landscape and provided an overview of Southeast Asia retail trends and best practices for developing an assetless based company.

November 11 marks Asia’s largest shopping day and the start of the holiday shopping season regionally. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers alike hope to see an increase in consumer traffic across both channels. However, staff and supply shortages, health and safety restrictions, and increased operating costs may impede sales.

David Westhead suggests retailers consider the following as they prepare to close out the year:

  1. Consumers have demonstrated decreased brand loyalty and increased demand for eco-friendly, sustainable products.
  2. Online shopping sales continue to grow.
  3. Political instability, supply chain bottlenecks and increased tariffs affect retailers across sectors and geographies.

He offers retailers the following five strategies to navigate this turbulent time and the new normal:

  1. Cash is king. Companies with healthy cashflow and liquidity will have more flexibility and be more resilient.
  2. Adapt your strategy to new consumer behaviours. Build digital competence where appropriate for your business.
  3. Right size the store footprint by way of location, size and consumer experience.
  4. Increase retail prices. Evaluate pricing models, margin, sales channels and operating costs in light of increased costs for raw materials and ongoing supply chain disruption.
  5. Build community with consumers. Strive to be purpose-driven and do the right thing.

Retailers looking to transform their current operations to support growth and resiliency post-pandemic may consider becoming an assetless based company. Nick Taylor offers the following guidance:

  1. Identify the value of the brand.
  2. Develop a business plan.
  3. Restructure the assets.
  4. Relaunch the brand.


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