Welcome to the November 1st Warehouse & Logistics News.  You can tell it’s November – the night skies over our towns and cities are lit up with fireworks celebrating Diwali and Guy Fawkes. And as the build up to Christmas intensifies, Britain’s warehouses are working flat out despatching orders and the roads and motorways are busy with lorries delivering the goods.

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In this issue we’ve got three features aimed at helping you get the best out of your warehouse and move your goods more cost effectively. Conveying & Sortation takes in automated materials handling equipment and IT solutions. Floors & Floor Care includes floor preparation, floor maintenance and area markings. And ‘Pallet Networks’ covers just that, with news from the major European, UK and regional pallet networks.

Retailing continues to be a massive user of warehousing and logistics services, and as always at this time of year the pressure is on the third party warehousing and logistics services to meet their customers’ needs. It was always like that.

What’s different these days is that the non-store retailers’ sales continue to experience solid growth, up 15% on last year, and E-commerce now accounts for an estimated 8% of total UK retail sales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the last few years E-commerce fulfilment is of course an important part of warehousing and logistics, so its growth and development is good news all round for the industry. And with the traditional retailers embracing multichannel – on line and bricks and mortar stores – we can expect the boundaries between the two to become more blurred. All good news for outsourced fulfilment, order picking, Voice, automated storage and retrieval and the other technologies that the rise of e-commerce has brought to the fore.

So what kind of Christmas are we in for, in terms of consumer spending? The omens give grounds for optimism. According to the ONS, retail sales in September were up 0.6% in volume, and 5.4% in value compared to last year. And GKP NOP Social Research say that British consumers are feeling a little more hopeful about the state of the home economy,’ despite growing fears about the global situation. The punters’ view on the general economic outlook over the next 12 months is improving, and there has also been a slight increase in the numbers of consumers feeling that now is a good time for major purchases. All of which is encouraging news.

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