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COVID-19: Latest retailers’ responses in France

COVID-19: Latest retailers’ responses in France 150 150 Save2Grow

We round up the main actions retailers across France take to support the fight against COVID-19. Let’s hope others follow their lead.

To protecting in-store employees they have:

  • mounted shields made with Plexiglas at tills.
  • marked safety distances with tape on the floor at key areas of the store, such as at tills and around serviced counters
  • limited the access to the area directly in front of employees. Shoppers are being asked to drop their products at the very beginning of the conveyer belt and then being encouraged to move directly to the packing area at the end of the till where the card payment terminal has been moved.

To reward employees:

  • All major retailers announced – following a government initiative – they will give all their warehouse and store employees a tax-free bonus of €1,000 recognizing their hard work and the risk they take by interacting with many people every day.

To support vulnerable shoppers:

  • many retailers have implemented specific hours for elderly and vulnerable people

Retailers agreed to give priority access to medical staff:

  • Medical staff can skip queues at the till and at stores’ entrances at anytime. Retailers also give medical staff a 10% discount on grocery products

Retailers redesign their supply chains to:

  • focus on helping local suppliers: Leclerc announced it will prioritize fruits and vegetables produced in France over those arriving from overseas to help and support local farmers
  • encourage consumption of seasonal products: major retailers are reducing their imports of fruits and vegetable to promote local and in-season ones, such as strawberries and asparagus. In-store advertising and digital messages encourage shoppers to buy these products to help farmers. Most retailers also are reassuring lamb producers they will maintain their campaigns around Easter to support them.

The role of strategy in football

The role of strategy in football 150 150 Save2Grow

The language of football is packed with military terminology. A season is often described as a “campaign”, and the individual match as a “battle”. In this spirit, a football team that follows certain formations (i.e. 4-4-2, etc.) can be compared to an army. If the players are the troops, operating under a captain, the coach is the drill sergeant and the manager the general.

Strategy is about choices. For example, there are three main choices when it comes to attacking play. How many strikers do you employ? Do you try to get into the scoring position via the sides of the pitch (“the flanks”) or through the middle? And do you seek to get there through intricate or direct passing? The answers depend on the strength of the team, the weakness of the opposition, and the way the game is unfolding.

Otto Rehhagel, the manager of the Greek national team which won the Eurocup in 2004, implemented a great strategy characterized by tight marking, an exemplary work rate, and drilled set pieces.

As football and business have a lot in common, we have used a lot of sports analogies to design entertaining and educating workshops in team building, leadership and business strategy. If you are interested in learning more about our workshops, go to or get in touch at [email protected] We’ d love to hear from you!


The economics of football

The economics of football 150 150 Save2Grow

Football economics rarely obey the laws you studied at business school! When buying players, for example, business people are willing to make far riskier investments than they would in their normal dealing lives. For much of football’s history, owners have had control, imposing maximum wages and ruling the transfer system. Today, however, players and their agents command vast salaries over which owners have little control.

The economics of football changed dramatically with the arrival of new forms of pay-per-view TV and sky-high broadcasting rights in the big European leagues. The smaller and lower leagues, however, haven’t seen much of this new money – most of which goes to a handful of top-fight clubs.

Where the money comes from

To make it to the top 10 of Europe’s top revenue teams, a club needed to generate sales turnover of more than €400mn in 2017. A club receives most of its income from four main sources – match-day revenue, broadcasting rights, sponsorship deals and commercial activities. Where necessary, clubs may top-up their coffers with money borrowed from the banks.

An awful lot of clubs have an awful lot of debt. Many clubs, for example, have been “propped up” by soft loans from generous owners. Equally, banks with political connections to particular clubs (especially in Spain) have extended huge overdrafts, which have been stretched beyond normal breaking points.

Where the money goes

Clubs used to spend less than 40% of their income on players’ wages, but players are now able to claim a much larger slice of the pie. A club must also pay staff such as coaches and caterers, as well as spending money on maintaining the stadium and training grounds.

Almost two thirds of a club’s spending is eaten up by players’ salaries. The rest goes on operating costs, ground maintenance, and transfer fees.


For the club buying, transfers are a huge drain on resources. For example, Premier league clubs spent a record $1.5 billion during the 2016 summer transfer window.


Since 1992, UK premiership clubs have invested a combined total of more than $3.5 bn in new facilities.


In Sep 2011 Manchester United announced a record annual operating profit of $164.4 million.

2018 FIFA world cup finances

The World Cup could have a total impact on the Russian economy that could amount to between $26 billion and $30.8 billion over the 10 years from 2013 through to 2023, according to the organizers’ latest estimations. That’s attributed to growing tourism plus large-scale spending on construction, plus later knock-on effects from those government investments. It even suggests the World Cup will encourage Russians to exercise more, so they take fewer sick days.

The total spend on the tournament will be $11 billion, though that doesn’t include some costly new infrastructure and stadiums which organizers say would have been built regardless.

Winning the Retail War: Bricks vs. Clicks

Winning the Retail War: Bricks vs. Clicks 150 150 Save2Grow

As consumers move their retail activity online, Amazon has emerged as the undisputed winner in the Retail universe, while brick-and-mortar retailers feel the heat. For example, Macy’s and Sears announced 250 store closings between them last month, while Michael Kors conveyed disappointing results earlier this week.
The market capitalization of Amazon tops the combined market value of 6 traditional retailers including Walmart, Target, Macy’s and Best Buy. This was not always the case. Just ten years ago, the same retailers had a combined market value that it was more than 20 times higher than Amazon’s market cap. Since Q1 2007, their combined market cap has been reduced by more than 25%, while Amazon’s market value has grown from $16bn to $400bn.
In Europe Zalando, a German e-commerce company founded in 2008, reached a market value of $9.4bn, higher than the market cap of Macy’s, the 159 years old department store company.

Recently, Amazon opened a new advanced supermarket, Amazon Go, where shoppers can select items and go, without waiting at checkout lines. Once customers leave the store, items are billed to their accounts. Initially, this convenience store with no cash registers is open only to the retail giant employees, but after the testing period will be accessible to the wider clientele.
Amazon plans to add 100,000 new US jobs making some analysts speculate that the e-tailer will aggressively add physical stores. The company already operates one bookstore in the states of California, Oregon and Washington, respectively and plans to open a new one in New York later this year. It uses data from its e-commerce site to make decisions on books assortment. Consumers can also test and buy devices like kindle.

How can retailers fight back?

As Amazon continues to penetrate new categories like grocery and fashion and considers expansion into the physical world, traditional retailers face an existential threat. What left to them is to embrace an omnichannel strategy and using it as a differentiator to fight the online retail war. In today’s multi-channel environment, omnichannel capabilities can drive the engagement of core shoppers with the retail brand and eventually draw them to the physical store. Traditional retailers with physical stores will do better not only by leveraging the power of the online world, but by synchronizing the physical and the digital worlds to provide shoppers with a seamless experience across channels.
Because consumers no longer recognize channels during their shopping journeys, retailers should abandon the idea of digital as a separate business. They must build and execute their strategy in a much more integrated way. They should also invest in improving the shopping experience at their physical stores.  Such a strategy will not only differentiate retailers from the competition, but will give them a competitive advantage over online-only retailers.
It seems Amazon has already understood that and makes its first moves into the physical world. It remains to be seen how quickly traditional retailers will successfully embrace the omni-channel space. This adaptation will most probably differentiate the winning companies from the rest in the upcoming years.


Integrated Business Management (Aggregate Planning and Advanced S&OP)

Integrated Business Management (Aggregate Planning and Advanced S&OP) 150 150 Save2Grow

Bridging Supply & Demand
“It takes two to tango”

Have you ever watched a pair of good performers dancing the tango? In thinking about who leads the dance, most people would support the male partner does. Yet, the most critical question is who is the better dancer. One could assume the female must be the better dancer as she must mirror the man’s moves, backwards and in high heels! The key message is that it’s all about synchronization.
The integration between supply and demand is indeed like tango. When it works well, it is an image of beauty.
Demand is like men in leading the dance. Customers and sales drive supply-side activities. Demand management requires integrating demand and supply in real time. Demand management is not just about forecasting; it includes order promising and management, production scheduling and aligning demand with supply.
Supply, like the female counterpart in tango that must perform all the complicated steps — with the added challenge of performing them backwards and in high heels.
The Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) objective focuses on creating a bridge for supply management (that includes Supply Chain, Operations, and Logistics), and demand management (that includes Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service).
This liaise helps to avoid stock-outs, excess inventory, poor profit margins, and low customer loyalty.


International Retailer

International Retailer 150 150 Save2Grow

€1.3bn International Retailer
Strategic Cost Management
Benefits Realized
Multi-million euros cost savings

We led a major cost management program for the Group’s EMEA & Americas Region with an objective to deliver multi-million euro savings in order to improve the Group profitability & fund investments in marketing, innovation & digitization. As a result, the client generated significant cost savings, strengthened the organization, expanded margins, improved its working capital, closed non-performing stores and invested part of the savings in omni-channel, digital capabilities and topline growth-driving activities.

Wholesale company

Wholesale company 150 150 Save2Grow

Wholesale company
Logistics outsourcing
Benefits Realized
Logistics cost reduction of 27%

We analyzed the client’s in-house logistics operations, prepared and conducted a tender for logistics outsourcing in addition to facilitating the transition to the selected logistics provider (LSP). The shift to the LSP resulted to a 27% logistics cost reduction.

UK Retailer

UK Retailer 150 150 Save2Grow

UK niche retailer with web sales exceeding 30% of sales turnover
Logistics Outsourcing & Optimization
Benefits Realized
Logistics cost reduction of 18% and improved speed to market for digital sales

As the company was growing its UK operations and rapidly expanding its online sales, it faced capacity issues at its own warehousing facility. We engaged in studying their operations, market requirements and the impact of increasing web sales on its route-to-market setup.
We drafted the tendering document, participated in the selected logistics service providers (LSPs) presentations and facilitated the selection of the logistics partner that would better meet their business requirements, including the service of its online channel that contributed to about 30% of their total turnover.

Leading Retailer

Leading Retailer 150 150 Save2Grow

Leading Retailer
Supply Chain Optimization
Benefits Realized
Reduced cost-to-serve by 36% and released logistics assets with a book value exceeding €12mn.

The overall program objective was to design a logistics strategy for a major Group which meets or exceeds customer expectations, minimizes its supply chain costs, increases warehousing and distribution capacity and provides sales and marketing with a strategic selling advantage.
The company considered alternative scenarios to organize its supply chain and decided to outsource its operations. The engagement included the analysis of the client cost-to-serve, development of alternative supply chain scenarios, preparation of the tendering document for logistics outsourcing, assistance in selecting logistics partner and facilitation of the actual implementation (i.e. warehousing move, developing of IT interfaces, transitioning the warehousing people to the payroll of the new 3PL, etc.)
The Group managed to reduce its logistics cost-to-serve by €1.7mn p.a., a decrease of 36% and release assets with a book value exceeding 12mn.

Apparel Retailer

Apparel Retailer 150 150 Save2Grow

European Operations of Apparel Retailer
Operations Redesign
Benefits Realized
Increased delivery lead times by 28% and decreased cost-to-serve by 21%.

The purpose of the engagement was to significantly improve the European distribution operations of a US apparel company. End-to-end analysis identified issues on the DC role and operations, ordering and planning. Implemented interventions resulted in approximately 28% improvement in speed to market and 21% decrease in overall logistics costs.

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