Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lower High Street Spending Offers Opportunities to Logistics Operators

Bad News for Shops Can Mean Good News for 3PL
Shipping News Feature

UK – Much is made in the British press about how reduced spending on the U.K.’s high streets impacts upon the welfare of towns throughout the country, and such consumer spending is often assigned as an indicator of national economic health. This can, however, be disingenuous, masking changes to consumer spending and the subsidiary companies they generate and fuel.

In what seems to be yet another blow to the high street, the British Retail Consortium has reported that May retail sales have dipped as customers held back on their spending. The previously reported rises in March and April now appear to have been distorted by a late Easter, the bank holidays, a royal wedding and good weather.

However, this outlook contrasts sharply against the £5.2 billion spent online in April by UK shoppers, an increase of 19% on April 2010.

As Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at IMRG CapGemini comments:

“April was a very strong month for the online retail sector. 19% annual growth demonstrates, once again, the value consumers and retailers alike are placing on e-commerce.

“This is clearly evidenced by the fact that consumers continue to spend on-line, despite rising inflation and stagnant wages, resulting in a very flat performance on the high-street.”

This is turn has meant a growth in business for third-party logistics companies that are exploiting the rise of online purchasing to provide the leg work that shoppers no longer perform.

With over 350,000 square feet of warehousing situated along the A11, Century Logistics has carved out a niche in the e-tailing community.

The company has purposely based itself in South West Norfolk to take advantage of cost effective warehousing, as well as the proximity to the national road network and the Port of Felixstowe so as to be able to accommodate clients with a range of requirements.

Speaking of the new trade figures Stephen Basey-Fisher, Managing Director for Century Logistics, said:

“All in all, a positive outlook for internet based companies.

“We are now handling internet based retailers from start ups to the largest businesses online. What these customers require is consistent quality service, space and speedy deliveries.”

He added that one benefit for aiming at the online retailer was the close and enduring relation that could be built with such customers:

“We are their trusted right hand team. As is often the case with most internet based companies that started off as home-businesses, we have helped many of our customers make the transition towards moving stock out of their homes and into our warehouses, allowing them to focus on their growth and not on their warehousing stock and handling issues."

He concluded that:

“There is nothing more rewarding than watching a customer grow and be extremely profitable. The internet is a level playing field and our customers are growing very fast.”

(pic: Stephen Basey-Fisher, Managing Director, Century Logistics)