Retailing in the Week Ahead, Week 12, 2019

The legendary tale of The Three Musketeers features a quartet of individuals that bravely march into danger against all odds and overturn tradition in the process. Now that many retailers have made their annual ‘year ahead’ strategy announcements, it is our pleasure to announce the “Musketeers” of 2019. These are four retailers that have announced plans that fly in the face of all odds and defy tradition. We will call them by the names of the original Musketeers to maintain some sense of tradition.

Source: Company websites


The head of Groupe Casino, Jean-Charles Naouri, made several brave remarks in his annual update last week. Importantly, despite price law confusion across France, he has declared the age of item pricing to be dead. His view is that personalised and service-based pricing models have now taken over and that consumers and retailers are better for it.


No list of mavericks would be complete without Jeff Bezos, the king of modern retail disruption. The idea of ‘Pop-up Retail’ has been a big trend over the past decade, yet Amazon has declared that they wish to end their own pop-up programme.


“In the money” Sainsbury’s CEO, Mike Coupe, is fighting back against government regulators. This week he claims that regulators have made multiple errors in their analysis of Sainsbury’s proposed merger with ASDA, including basic mathematical mistakes. General wisdom says Mr. Coupe is fighting a losing battle given the mountain of negativity that regulators heaped into a 421-page preliminary findings report. Still, Sainsbury’s and potential partner Walmart continue to sing “All for one, and one for all!”


The youngest of the musketeers, ‘Ocado’, founded in 2000, continues to surprise. This month the company has had to deal with a massive fire at its most innovative and new fulfilment centre, closedown negotiations with partner Waitrose, announce a new partnership with M&S, and keep shoppers smiling. Very few retailers are adopting as radical a departure into new directions as Ocado. Let’s see what path it takes them down.

Do you have other retailers you would nominate for our list of Musketeers – send us an email or reply in the comments section. We would love to hear your perspectives on retailers that are upending tradition and fighting battles against the odds.

If you did not have a chance yet, please also have a look at some of our big featured items from Week 11:

In addition, if you get a chance, please share your thoughts or questions on ‘Musketeers’, or any other topic. Good luck in the week ahead.


Ray Gaul – and @KantarConsulting or @RayGaul on Twitter plus LinkedIn.

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