Some of the biggest names or the retail sector spoke at Retail Week Live about challenges facing the industry, particularly homing in on key themes ranging from international growth to IT.

Peter Hobson, managing consultant at CAST UK, recruitment specialist in Procurement, Buying & Merchandising, Supply Chain, Logistics, Warehousing & Transport, takes a closer look at how these core areas are affecting recruitment sector:

International strategies

Given the increasingly global nature of the retail industry, as a recruiter of retail buying professionals, more emphasis is being placed on understanding the evolving customer base in order for our candidates to be successful. The key to success is to understand what customers are looking for so the buying team can ensure they provide the products that customers’ desire. One size fits all is rarely a successful approach.

The shopping environment

Retail buyers are experts at creating the right shopping environment. With so much competition, selecting a range that is attractive to the consumer and having the products available in the right place at the right price will help to create an environment where shoppers want to return.

IT is core for chief execs

It’s great to see CEOs taking IT seriously. IT has transformed our industry by enabling clients to react quicker and speeding up processes to deliver cost saving benefits. Point of sale and point of supply have increasingly become global. Control of data and information are key to obtaining a competitive advantage, which is underpinned by strong IT systems and processes. These projects are being driven by our candidates.


Product innovation within retail needs to be led by the buying team. In a competitive market, a pipeline of new exciting products should be continuous to stay one step ahead of the game.

Need for reinvention

Candidates within the retail industry need to embrace change. Omni-channel strategies are changing the face of the retail environment; putting customers at the heart of everything. Those resisting change will be left behind by newer, innovative entrants to the market.

Retail image problem

Working in retail doesn’t mean simply working in a store. There are many opportunities to progress across different positions and levels within the retail sector. At Cast UK, we specialise in retail buying. Our candidates have the opportunity to travel the world, work in a vibrant, dynamic environment and progress their careers quickly. More needs to be done to bring this to the attention of top graduates to make working in retail a more attractive proposition from the outset.