Retailers, including the major grocery chains, have dominated recent business headlines as they try to respond to the dramatic shift in the market place caused by intense competition and changing shopping habits. One after another, retailers have announced a series of cost cutting measures that include discounting prices, making staff redundancies, closing unprofitable stores, and reducing levels of investment.

In an apparent contradiction, there appears to be a general sentiment of ‘cautious optimism’ in the wider retail sector, as illustrated in the recent Retail 2015 report, the definitive report on the state of the industry, produced by Retail Week in association with Kurt Salmon. Indeed, from the first of our follow-up quarterly sentiment analyses (March 2015), it would appear that the majority of senior retail executives believe that the future continues to look brighter than it has done for some considerable time.