Korn Ferry 11th Annual UK Retail Chair Study Predicts a Challenging Remainder of the Year and Beyond as Inflation Drives Rising Costs, Forcing Consumers to Tighten Their Belts

London, July 5, 2022 – A new report by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY), based on feedback from U.K. retail chairs, forecasts a challenging second half of the year, which may carry on into 2023. The 11th Annual Korn Ferry Retail Chair Report is based on interviews with more than 40 retail chairs who lead some of the largest U.K.-headquartered retail companies. Together these firms have combined annual revenues of more than £150 billion, employ more than 2 million people and represent a broad cross-section of all sub-sectors of Britain’s retail industry.

Key Findings:

Key findings from the 2022 Korn Ferry U.K. Retail Chair Survey include:

  • Sixty percent of Chairs are concerned or very concerned about the outlook for the next 12 months, given the huge cost of living increase and reduction of disposable incomes.
  • Ninety-five percent of Chairs expect consumer spending to fall, exacerbated by rising inflation as a result of the crisis in Ukraine and supply chain issues.
  • Almost all raised the issue of critical skills shortages and wage inflation across many areas, but particularly for skills in technology and digital.
  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is now a key boardroom priority, with a focus on both diversity and environmental impact. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of all Chairs either already have remuneration linked to defined ESG targets, or plan to do so in the near term.
  • Eighty percent of Chairs said their businesses were still having to deal with the lingering impact of Brexit, which has increased red tape and added significant cost into their businesses.

“The knock-on effect of the pandemic, supply chain issues and the Russia / Ukraine crisis is already clear – consumers are more cautious, have less money in their pockets and are increasingly worried about rising costs,” said Korn Ferry Head of the U.K. Consumer Practice Sarah Lim. “In this complex and evolving environment, retail leaders must remain agile, tackling issues as they arise while keeping an eye toward longer-term success.”

About this Study:

This is the 11th Korn Ferry U.K. Retail Chair Survey. This study is based on analysis of face-to-face meetings, video interviews and detailed surveys. Korn Ferry conducted the research in the Spring of 2022. Some questions explored the chairs views on the outlook for the sector and the broader economy. Others focused on their specific businesses or issues that are pertinent to the industry currently.

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

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