Scott Evans, CEO & Managing Director of large Australian fashion retailer Mosaic Brands Limited (Mosaic) discussed last year’s challenges for his business and the current changes in the retail industry.
Following the COVID-19 closures, Mosaic conducted a reset of its business that started with an internal due diligence that examined every aspect of Mosaic’s business, considering how each component could be adapted in a post COVID-19 world. The pandemic forced Mosaic to focus on its digital business, which has since seen rapid growth as its customers move to online shopping.
Retailers and business owners more generally can learn from the following insights:
- Successful turnaround starts by focussing on what is within your control, and recognising what is out of your control (and not wasting time trying to change them). The key focus should be on reducing costs, while maintaining (or not losing) revenue.
- COVID-19 has accelerated what was already a changing relationship between commercial landlords and tenants. As the economics of shopping centres change with less foot traffic, landlords will have to adapt. However, Scott says ‘bricks and mortar’ stores are here to stay, though they will be more ‘experience’ focused, as customers defer to the convenience of online shopping. Here is a recent Baker McKenzie alert as to how that is being addressed in NSW.
- The growing trend toward online shopping will become permanent. There is more you can do online than in store. It is easier to monetise your database by selling online. Retailers need to adapt accordingly.
- Right now, retailers have an opportunity to digitise, create efficiencies and ultimately grow their businesses.
- As States and Territories transition out of lockdown, and retail recovers more generally, the future of retail in Australia looks positive. Mosaic is optimistic about a strong rebound in sales in a post COVID-19 environment.
The session featured Scott Evans (CEO & Managing Director, Mosaic Brands Limited) with moderator Zina Edwards (Partner, Hamilton Locke).