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: 07/16/2018

    Target offers discounts as teachers prep for back-to-school

    This is a smart move by Target. There is a clear sales opportunity here, and the positive publicity from helping schools and teachers is also beneficial. Target's prices are already very sharp during back-to-school -- much sharper than a supposed specialist like Staples, so an additional percentage off is very generous. Profits must be wafer thin, but Target will figure that getting people into stores will drive other revenue and profit opportunities.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Need a nap? Casper opened a store for that

    Well, sleep is a luxury these days - so it is fairly easy to commercialize it! In all seriousness, I think this concept could do well, especially in airports and workplaces. That said, the need for this probably tells us that our lives are somewhat out of balance.
  • Posted on: 07/16/2018

    Can Papa John’s recover from its founder’s racial slur?

    Papa John's can recover, but the pace of recovery depends on how quickly those who have been upset by this offensive remark forgive and forget. That remains to be seen. Papa John's was quick to take action, but as John Schnatter is so closely tied to the company it might need to do more to quell any anger. Removing Mr. Schnatter as chairman was a sensible first step, but by keeping him on the board, the company may ultimately be accused of making cosmetic changes.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Ellison shaking things up at Lowe’s

    Only time will tell if these changes yield results. However, the home improvement space is very different from the department store space. Omnichannel is important, but it’s nowhere near as critical as in other sectors. As such, I hope that Ellison and his team will take time to understand customer buying journeys -- something that may now be harder with the elimination of the chief customer officer role. What Lowe’s really needs to do is find ways of standing out against Home Depot -- to which it has always played second fiddle. That comes down to strategy and vision as much as it does management reshuffles.
  • Posted on: 07/13/2018

    Did Build-A-Bear destroy its brand with a successful promotion?

    Upsetting people’s children is incredibly bad for any brand, and Build-A-Bear has some work to do to bring customers back on side. Underestimating demand happens, but it is puzzling how the company didn’t foresee any of the issues. There are better promotions that could have been run, or limits that could have been put in place to manage expectations.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    Survey: Customer experience tech rivals personal attention from staff

    I don't view this as an either/or between technology and personal experience. In a fast food or casual restaurant, speed and efficiency are often critical. Technology helps to address this and therefore improves the experience for customers. However other things, such as needing advice or recommendations, are still more the province of personal service and human interaction. As for small retailers being at a disadvantage -- I don't buy it. Almost every good niche coffee shop and retail chain I visit use platforms like Square for payment and ordering. It's super efficient and better than the registers of most larger retailers.
  • Posted on: 07/12/2018

    New CEO focused on keeping the Dunkin’ brand relevant

    Dunkin' is certainly moving in the right direction. However, there is a lot of work to be done. While the company has an enormous number of stores, the variation between them in terms of service, atmosphere and quality is considerable. The focus on coffee is sensible, and Dunkin' has always done well in the "grab-n-go" market. However, it needs to perform better in the more premium segment of the market where Starbucks plays more strongly.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Will Amazon team with third-party sellers as a Prime perk?

    Of course Amazon would consider this. But let’s be clear - it would do so on its own terms and in a way that advantaged it more than its retail partners. That means they bear the costs (like Whole Foods suppliers do for Prime deals), they share data, and they use Amazon systems. For desperate retailers this may be appealing, but for many others it might be a step too far. As for peak Prime, I don’t think we’re there yet. The market is more mature, sure, but there’s plenty of scope for growth - including from changes to pricing and membership tiers.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Kroger shakes up own-brand fashion with one fell swoop

    In the U.K., fashion has been a great success for supermarkets -- mainly because each grocer has carefully developed its own label or labels. What’s also true is that most U.K. supermarkets have taken care over merchandising and display. The same could hold true for Kroger, especially in Fred Meyer. However, given the poor state of many Kroger stores, the degree of success will depend on how much they invest in the retail experience.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Amazon lowballs CVS and Walgreens on OTC med prices

    CVS and Walgreens are expensive, period. They get away with it somewhat because they offer convenience. However, it also makes them ripe for picking off as shopping habits change.
  • Posted on: 07/09/2018

    Are shoppers ready to pay to park at the mall?

    I guess some will pay for this, but most won’t. What malls must ensure is that there is plenty of parking for everyone. Carving out too many spaces for this paid option will cause annoyance.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Urban Outfitters buys into installment payment plan

    Is this such a new idea? It sounds very much like a digital version of the old catalog installment plans. It's sensible though as it gives consumers another option of financing small purchases, especially useful for those who are unable or are unwilling to fund the purchase up front.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Abercrombie & Fitch goes to college with a new store concept

    Abercrombie & Fitch has been making good progress and there have been marked improvements in product quality, store design and marketing. Under-performing stores have also been closed. All of this is delivering better results. College stores are the latest step on the road to recovery and I see then delivering three benefits. First, they take Abercrombie & Fitch to where the customers are. Second, they introduce younger consumers to the Abercrombie & Fitch brand and allow them to connect with it. Third, they help Abercrombie & Fitch learn about their core audience and afford them the opportunity to test new products and ideas.
  • Posted on: 07/06/2018

    Will America win the trade war?

    In such an interconnected world with intricate supply chains, it is hard to see how a trade war can have anything but a bad outcome. There may well be some small wins, but these will be offset by higher prices and higher costs for business. Ultimately that will negatively affect the consumer. I agree with the President that some trade practices are not particularly fair, but these should have been worked out by negotiation rather than warmongering,
  • Posted on: 07/05/2018

    WeWork doubles down on member-based retailing

    Our office in Chicago is in a WeWork space. On all my visits there, I have been impressed by the community spirit of people and businesses in the building. As such, I can see this type of retail concept working well. It will be niche, of course -- but it gives new firms scope to make sales, gain feedback and find opportunities for collaboration and business development!

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