Join our webinar: Retail and the National Living Wage

Following the UK government's recent introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW), many retailers now face a significant increase in labour costs.

The rise in pay is positive news for millions of lower paid workers operating in the industry, but it comes at a time when the wider sector is facing cost pressures brought about by multiple issues, such as growingbusiness rates, an increasingly competitive marketplace and the digital transformation many businesses are experiencing as they update their operations to serve the modern consumer's needs.

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK and the majority of companies in the industry act as responsible employers, but nevertheless multiple challenges exist. With competition for customers in many sectors perhaps as fierce as it has ever been and with many players in the industry now required to dedicate far more Capex to technology and systems development to serve shoppers on an array of channels, the extra cost pressures of NLW are arguably contributing to a perfect storm for retail.

As such, efficiency is top of the agenda in many retailers' boardrooms, and there are various strategies, tools and technologies out there to help these companies navigate a path through these challenging times. But which ones should retailers choose? What support is available? How are other companies in the industry dealing with new cost pressures? What impact will it have on the size of the industry over the next few years?

Essential Retail's webinar, in association with JDA Software, will assess the current landscape, the challenges faced and some of the potential solutions for retailers operating in today's marketplace. The debate at 15:00 BST on Thursday 15 September, hosted by Essential Retail editor Ben Sillitoe, will include in-depth research, presented by Tom Ironside, head of the business & regulation team at the British Retail Consortium, and contributions from a leading retailer and Jason Shorrock, VP for retail strategy at JDA.

Click here to register for the Essential Retail webinar, in association with JDA Sofware: The National Living Wage and retail's perfect storm

Key subjects to be covered

JDA's Shorrock said: "The introduction of the National Living Wage is good news for the UK's six million workers that stand to benefit, however its introduction is forcing the retail industry to consider how to offset this increasing cost.

"To try and combat these changes, the retail industry has looked to reduce staff and make cuts to benefits, all of which are unpopular decisions. Moreover, these actions are unlikely to actually help the industry offset costs without compromising customer service quality or hampering workforce morale."

He added: "For retailers to remain productive, and overcome these new pressures, it must rise to the challenge of creating workforces that are happier, more productive and increasingly agile.

"Innovative retailers are adopting a smarter, technology-based approach to workforce management, retailers can make the most of the National Living Wage, deliver a better quality of service and thrive in this ultra-competitive market."

Click here to register for the Essential Retail webinar, in association with JDA Sofware: The National Living Wage and retail's perfect storm