Ugo Aliogo and Joan Madubugwu
The Chairman, Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Ibunkun Awosika, has charged retail business owners in the country to strive towards maintaining steady business growth despite the harsh economic conditions, stressing that retailers need to develop a mindset that would enable them to survive in difficult business environment.
Awosika, who gave the advice at the Retail Leaders Conference with the theme: ‘Unlocking Retail Potentials for Survival, Growth and Sustainability’ organised by Bervidson Group, in Lagos, noted that retailers need to have sufficient information, which would enable them understand the policies of government and the direction of these policies, “we need our businesses to think and walk us through, we need to always have information in order to know where to go.”
She urged retailers to understand the needs of their customers in this challenging economic time, the riders to their businesses, the changes around them and look at linkages, adding that when people have reduced purchasing power they tend to look for alternatives.
Awosika added: “If you are not the one providing alternative and your customers try other people they have not tried before, you are likely to lose that customer. Therefore as a retailer you should be the alternative by creating the alternative in your own business, or build your own business to be an alternative to other people who are losing market. You look at major businesses in the economy whose value chain you can plug into, at present the value chain is challenged because of the FX situation and inability to import.”
She further stated that smuggling is a serious challenge facing businesses in the country, adding that some individuals are in the habit of smuggling either European or Asian made products into the country and sells them at a cheaper rate.
In his address, the Chief Executive Officer, Bervidson Group and the Convener of the conference, Joseph Ebata, noted that the country is passing through one of her most challenging times, stressing that retail businesses are facing a wide range of different and difficult challenges, which are threatening their existence.
He added that as the retail industry is facing numerous challenges, it must not lose sight of the potentials and opportunities that can be tapped and leveraged upon for survival, growth and sustainability, “the conference is an opportunity for every actor in the retail space to explore diverse issues plaguing the industry, particularly those raised in the course of our preparation for the conference.”