Neil Saunders

Managing Director, GlobalData
Neil is Managing Director of GlobalData’s retail division.

In this role he oversees the development of the company’s retail proposition and its research output. He also works with clients to help them understand the retail, shopper and market landscape – advising them on how best to develop, evolve and implement business strategies.

Prior to GlobalData, Neil worked at retail research firm Verdict for ten years. He latterly held the post of board director with responsibility for Consulting, Corporate Development and Planning.

Before Verdict, Neil worked for the John Lewis Partnership where he was involved, among other things, in the planning and relocation of new stores, the development of the ecommerce business, and the creation of technical and information systems.

Before moving to the United States, Neil served as a non-executive board director for the Great Western Railway – a role he held for just under 11 years. He currently serves as an advisory board member for the faculty of business and law at the University of Southampton, as an Honorary Lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, and as a Visiting Fellow at the University of Surrey.

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  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Hilton Honors members go shopping with points on Amazon

    As others have noted, this is a good idea in theory but the rate of exchange is incredibly poor. This makes the proposition unattractive and leaves consumers with the sense that they are being ripped off. That noted, it is still an innovative step and it will be interesting to see how it evolves.
  • Posted on: 09/22/2017

    Walmart’s Christmas plans do not include seasonal hires

    This makes sense. Existing associates are experienced and knowledgeable; this means lower training and recruitment costs -- something helpful when Walmart's bottom line is under pressure. Ultimately, it will deliver a better experience for the shopper too, something that was evident last year from both Walmart's numbers and its customer satisfaction ratings over the holiday period.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Are retailers getting comfy with click & collect?

    A big challenge can be coping with the volumes of click and collect, especially in stores where it is popular and during peak periods like the holiday season. This can necessitate more backroom space, staff changes and sometimes a reconfiguration of store layouts. Grocery is a particular challenge here due to the logistical and time challenges of assembling the order.The other issue is stock. If stock is picked from the shop floor rather than from a central warehouse and sent out to a store, this can change the order level requirements and reduce availability. Obviously this can be managed over time, but it makes assessing and managing demand more challenging.
  • Posted on: 09/21/2017

    Will a new lunch menu make Starbucks a food giant?

    This is a significant opportunity for Starbucks, especially in city locations where players like Pret are having enormous success with the lunchtime crowd.The previous barrier to Starbucks doing well was range: there were hardly any lunchtime food options! This new menu seems to remedy that, but Starbucks will need to shift perceptions if it is to be successful.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon

    If it drives customer traffic into Kohl's stores it is a good thing. This is assuming Kohl's is not left out-of-pocket for the service it is providing.This agnostic approach to retail -- i.e. looking for sensible opportunities and partnerships, rather than seeing everything in über-competitive terms -- is gaining ground.
  • Posted on: 09/20/2017

    Will others follow Neiman Marcus’ return to a full-price focus?

    I doubt many will follow. While Neiman Marcus has been unable to make Last Call work well, Nordstrom's Rack business is flying and Macy's Backstage, while not perfect, has momentum. This move has more to do with Neiman Marcus's difficulties than a shift in market and consumer preferences.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Five skills every retail manager needs to succeed

    I don't disagree with any of this, but there is too little emphasis on people. Retail is one of the most people-centric businesses, and any manager worth their salt needs to be a people person.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Does aggressive seasonal hiring portend a merry retailing Christmas?

    Not necessarily, they could indicate a realization that customer service is an essential part of winning holiday market share. Last year Walmart and several others stepped up their game, this year other retailers are following suit.
  • Posted on: 09/19/2017

    Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy, enters ‘new era’

    Private equity has a lot to answer for in this case. They have used Toys "R" Us as an ATM and left the business in a challenging position. Certainly not all of the problems are debt-related -- but those high debt levels have made it difficult for Toys "R" Us to evolve and adapt its stores, seriously invest in its website and create a sustainable, competitive business.Chapter 11 buys breathing space, and it creates flexibility -- but it is not necessarily the savior of the firm. Market dynamics are firmly against Toys "R" Us, and it will need to evolve its entire proposition and manage its liabilities if it is to survive.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Can v-commerce give brands the edge they need online?

    Is this on-demand manufacturing new? It sounds like a rehash of what has existed for some time. Deep personalization and customization -- which is about much more than stitching a player name on a sports top -- has enormous disruptive potential, but I am not sure we are in the age of mass customization quite yet.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Retailers: Beware the Equifax breach

    The brand damage done by breaches is immense. Sadly, even the most robust plans and security cannot completely remove the risk. That makes it vital for retailers to have mitigation plans - part of which should involve being honest and open with customers.
  • Posted on: 09/18/2017

    Did this startup make a big mistake calling itself Bodega?

    It's a free market, they can call it what they like. Ultimately, the customer will determine what concepts or brands win or lose. The fuss has given them a great deal of free publicity, however!I think it will find some success, but the idea people will abandon centralized shopping for it (as one of the founders suggests) seems quite fanciful.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Kitchen 1883 may be a new platform for Kroger’s growth

    If the restaurant is good enough then yes, it can work. Sure there is a slight barrier to overcome among those who are not used to eating at supermarkets. However, as Wegmans has proved, this is possible. Even Hannaford's new formats have dine-in areas (linked to the food counters) which are proving reasonably popular.
  • Posted on: 09/15/2017

    Will Postmates’ on-demand delivery work better as a subscription model?

    This looks like a good move for customers and will, no doubt, boost the number of subscriptions. While it will help the top-line, I am less convinced that it is beneficial for the bottom-line which is worrying as Postmates has always struggled to make money.The issue for Postmates in cities like New York is that it plays second fiddle to services like Seamless, which have much more choice. To thrive, Postmates needs to do more exclusive deals with good restaurants, make its website more inspiring, focus more on corporate deliveries and develop the non-restaurant part of its operation far more.
  • Posted on: 09/14/2017

    Will exclusive nutrition labels set Raley’s apart from rivals?

    The main problem with grocery labeling is information overload. A simple, well designed standardized system of labeling may help to mitigate this. However, there are now so many terms -- many of them opaque -- that even this may be insufficient to help the consumer sift through all the various options.

Contact Neil