Business climate creating `dogfight’

The retail market in Vancouver is in chaos, according to Pat Parker, retail marketing consultant.'There's limited demand, lots more competition, and retailers don't have the dollars to market themselves out of it,' Parker says.'It's not a war, it's a dogfight,' he...

The retail market in Vancouver is in chaos, according to Pat Parker, retail marketing consultant.

‘There’s limited demand, lots more competition, and retailers don’t have the dollars to market themselves out of it,’ Parker says.

‘It’s not a war, it’s a dogfight,’ he says.

The winners, according to Parker, will be those firms that can turn on a dime and make last-minute adjustments to their inventories and forecasts.

Parker served on the founding management teams of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and White Spot Restaurants, and was most recently vice-president of Mohawk Oil.

He now serves several clients as a consultant.

According to Parker, big discounters, such as Wal-Mart and Home Depot, have added to the woes of hard-pressed retailers.

But the biggest impact comes from consumers, who have ‘forever changed their spending patterns,’ says Parker.

He says consumers are not only looking to just buy goods with that dollar, but also to get an education, to find spiritual fulfillment, or to buy the time to enjoy what they already have.

‘Simply, traditional shopping patterns are breaking down,’ he says.

‘There must be aggressive and customer-focussed willpower to create new customer benefits.’

‘Those retailers who sit on their laurels and base their business on what they had done in the past are nearing extinction.’