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A lot has happened since our last report at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, most people thought we were out of the metaphorical woods.

No sooner had we collectively breathed relief when another crisis leapt forward. Russia invaded Ukraine. Food and energy prices jumped sky high, and inflation hit levels we have not seen in decades. Meanwhile, wages struggle to keep pace with cost of living increases. As a result, consumers have less in their pockets, are more cautious and are increasingly worried about rising costs.

For the eleventh consecutive year, Korn Ferry interviewed more than 40 retail chairs who lead some of the largest UK-headquartered retail companies. We learned they are fully aware of the challenges to come and are tackling them head-on, using savvy garnered from years of running businesses. Smart business leaders are already figuring out ways to make sure it won’t be their companies that will take the hit. Or, at the very least, minimizing any decline.



Download to read more about our key findings:

  • 60% 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
  • 95% of Chairs expect consumer spending to fall, exacerbated by rising inflation as a result of the crisis in Ukraine and supply chain issues surrounding China’s response to COVID
  • Almost all Chairs 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. 65% of all Chairs either already have remuneration linked to defined ESG targets, or plan to do so in the near term.
  • 80% of Chairs said their businesses still have to deal with the lingering impact of Brexit, which has increased red tape and added significant cost into their businesses.

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