PROFILE

Neil Saunders

Managing Director, GlobalData
Neil is Managing Director of GlobalData’s retail division. In this role he oversees the development of the company’s retail proposition and its research output. He also works with clients to help them understand the retail, shopper and market landscape – advising them on how best to develop, evolve and implement business strategies. Prior to GlobalData, Neil worked at retail research firm Verdict for ten years. He latterly held the post of board director with responsibility for Consulting, Corporate Development and Planning. Before Verdict, Neil worked for the John Lewis Partnership where he was involved, among other things, in the planning and relocation of new stores, the development of the ecommerce business, and the creation of technical and information systems. Before moving to the United States, Neil served as a non-executive board director for the Great Western Railway – a role he held for just under 11 years. He currently serves as an advisory board member for the faculty of business and law at the University of Southampton, as an Honorary Lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, and as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey. For more information, visit: www.globaldata.com/
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  • Posted on: 11/27/2019

    Why did Jet.com’s fresh delivery service go stale in NYC?

    The service never really took off in NYC, partly because of issues with delivery, partly because of the cost, and partly because there is so much alternative choice. Grocery is a very tough category to get right in delivery and I suspect that the Jet service was never profitable, even if it did provide some valuable lessons for Walmart.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Private label foods need work

    This largely depends upon the retailer. Wegmans' private label foods are excellent; Publix and Costco also have very strong offers. Target is revamping its grocery offer and having had quite a few products from Good & Gather I have been impressed. Among some of the mainstream mid-tier grocers the offer is far more hit and miss. Kroger is great at some things like confectionery but is poor on readymade foods. Safeway, Alberstons, Hannaford, Shaw's and the like are pretty poor all around. I long for a retailer that makes readymade meals of the quality of Marks & Spencer, and for a retailer that puts as much effort into its private label food development as Waitrose. In fact, U.S. grocers could learn a lot from their U.K. counterparts which are great at private label.
  • Posted on: 11/25/2019

    Is secondhand gifting a holiday disruptor?

    Resale and secondhand is growing at a rapid pace, so it makes perfect sense that more gifts will come from those channels this year. That said, our data show that there is still more of a reluctance to buy secondhand for gifting compared to self-purchasing. Plus, in the broad scheme of things, resale gifting is small compared to overall gift spend - but in these pressured times, anything that takes away from traditional retail channels is damaging for mainstream retailers.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    How does Backcountry.com come back from its trademark battle backlash?

    Protecting a business from genuine trademark or copyright infringement is legitimate. However, trying to trademark everyday words is bad practice and claims against other businesses are little more than vexatious. This has been a huge waste of time and money for Backcountry.com and it has ultimately damaged the brand the firm was seeking to protect. Can it come back? Probably with time, but there is no doubt that its reputation is tarnished.
  • Posted on: 11/22/2019

    The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Amazon vs. Etsy

    I like both! This is not the first year that Amazon has used anthropomorphic boxes, but the concept works and is good fun. It also conveys the view that Amazon ships a lot of stuff for the holidays, offering the consumer great convenience. Etsy's advert is also strong. I like the linkages between the people and actual products. I also like the idea that Etsy has something for all sorts of occasions and people. The advert was a little short, but it gets the message across!
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Should Starbucks stick with its open bathroom policy?

    This study is interesting but, from what I have read here, it does not conclusively prove that the open bathroom policy is responsible for traffic declines. Sure, there may be a correlation but this does not definitively prove causation. Lots of things could be behind the decline such as competition from other chains, subtle changes in the economic circumstances of people in various locations, and so on.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Is Target killing department stores and specialty clothing chains?

    As Target's apparel sales are growing at a much faster clip than the overall market, there is no doubt that it is taking market share from other players. In terms of department stores, there is a customer overlap between Kohl's and Target and our data show Target has made gains from Kohl's over the past year. Overlap and gains from Macy's and others, however, is fairly minimal. The sales declines at those players have little to do with Target. On the specialty front, according to our data Target has made a variety of smaller gains. Interestingly, Old Navy and Gap are higher up on that list and there are even fashion focused players like H&M and Forever 21 on there. Target, it seems, is pulling in spend from quite a lot of consumer segments.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    CBD and plant-based meats are the next big things in store brands

    CBD is a big growth category as consumers are interested in it from a health and wellness perspective. That said, many consumers remain confused about the specifics and want help to guide them through the world of CBD. That's the job of good product manufacturers and good retailers. To fully capitalize on this opportunity, retailers need to educate as well as sell.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2019

    Will a hack ruin Macy’s Christmas?

    This won't be helpful and there will be some negative consumer perception as a result of the hack. However, to be frank, Macy's was never on course for a particularly happy holiday. The retail basics are not in place to support growth. In my view, this will only serve to make things worse.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Chick-fil-A Foundation changes charitable giving and controversy follows

    Well, I am -- so without wishing to be impolite, your point is a bit moot. The LGBT community is not one big homogenous block that thinks alike; there are different views and opinions on this matter and many others. My own view is this: In a free society, everyone is entitled to their views and to express them as they see fit. In turn, everyone is then free to choose how they respond to such opinions which, in the case of reactions to corporations, may include boycotts and protests. No one is permitted to use physical force or the threat of force against anyone else. That is the only framework that guarantees proper rights for all. In the specific case of Chick-fil-A, I think its CEO’s comments are ignorant and ridiculous. I would happily speak out against them and put alternative views. But I do not find it necessary to boycott a chain because of what the CEO thinks or says. Ultimately, his words have no real power: mainly because the same freedom that protects his right speak protects my right to live as I please.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Are Americans ready for a DTC shopping holiday?

    I agree that DTC is growing and that it is taking share and capturing the interest of consumers. I am not entirely sure that a DTC shopping holiday will gain much traction as a concept. For a start, I think there are already too many shopping holidays. Second, do consumers really differentiate between DTC and buying from a retailer? Not really, such a distinction is technical. I also find some of the quotes such as: “We want to essentially help these brands move from a platform-structured internet into an ecosystem-driven internet" very vague and woolly. I can decipher a meaning if I think about it, but I wish people would write plainly and meaningfully.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Can a Soho pop-up relaunch Tupperware’s party?

    There are two issues for Tupperware. The first is that the brand name is seen as old-fashioned and it, therefore, does not capture attention like it used to. The second is that there is far more competition than there was in Tupperware's heyday. You have innovative companies like OXO and Joseph Joseph doing creating things in kitchenware, and you have all kinds of brands and retailers churning out basic containers at cheap prices. Tupperware needs to rebuild interest in its brand and provide consumers with very innovative gadgets and solutions. The pop-up will help with this, but it is a drop in the ocean in terms of what needs to be done.
  • Posted on: 11/19/2019

    Chick-fil-A Foundation changes charitable giving and controversy follows

    Personally, I think Chick-fil-A has a right to support who or what it wants. Consumers also have a right to boycott the chain, or not, based on what it supports. In a country where freedom of speech and thought is prized, that's the way it should work. That said, I do lament the fact that everything seems to have become so political and controversial. I just want a chicken sandwich. I don't want it served with a dose of moralizing from either side!
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    Dunkin’ introduces online holiday pop-up

    Given the popularity and iconic status of Dunkin’ I can see this being successful. That said, it’s probably a one-hit wonder that works best around the holiday season. In-N-Out, which has something of a cult status, sells a limited range of merchandise which is very popular.
  • Posted on: 11/18/2019

    What will happen now that Five Below has gone above $5?

    I don’t think this will damage the value proposition: a lot of Five Below purchases are discretionary and, unlike dollar stores, its consumer is concerned with value for money more than with rock bottom prices. As long as they don’t stray too far from the bulk of prices being low they’ll be just fine.

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