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Disruptive change is no longer the exception

Disruptive change is now the rule

Disruptive change is no longer the the exception, it’s the rule. The entertainment, computing, mobile phones, book publishing and photography have all recently experienced dramatic change due to new and converging technologies, business models, distribution channels and market expectations.

Consider the causalities from four very different industries – Blackberry, Blockbuster, Borders, and Kodak. These companies all missed opportunities to leapfrog to the next big thing.

Until just a few years ago, the German retail sector was prospering, but over the last two years some of its oldest players have been forced to close or undergo deep restructuring in order to survive.

With a string of high-profile bankruptcies and thousands of layoffs, the German retail sector is in upheaval as it struggles with the challenges of changing customer trends and online shopping.

The iconic mail-order chain Neckermann

Now, the iconic mail-order chain Neckermann, with more than 2,500 employees, filed for insolvency.

Neckermann Katalog 60 Jahre

Neckermann was founded in 1950 and expanded as a result of the large demand for goods in post-World War II Germany, quickly becoming a market leader. The firm struggled, however, to remain competitive against discount suppliers, and to establish itself as an online mail-order store.

Earlier this year, Schlecker, a family-run chain of drugstores present in almost every high street across the country, shut its doors for good with the loss of nearly 25.000 jobs.

But are these high-profile closures representative of the sector as a whole? Generally speaking the answer is no, the retail sector in Germany is doing well. It is stable and with a projecting growth of 1,5 per cent in 2012.

Over the past decade, a number of retailers groups have sought to remain competitive solely by slashing costs. But they have failed to optimize their range of products and services.

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About the author
Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

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About the author
Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement and development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany and Switzerland

View full profile

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