Global Powers of Retailing 2023

Revenue growth and continued focus on sustainability

In the past year retailers faced some strong economic headwinds against the backdrop of an unpredictable virus and its resurging variants. And yet retailers remained resilient and managed to grow in these unprecedented times and were able to respond to consumer expectations.

The Global Powers of Retailing 2023 report shows the top 250 companies posting 8.5% year-on-year growth in retail revenue, up from 5.2% in the previous year. The apparel and accessories sector achieved the highest annual sales growth with 31.3%. The top 250 retailers achieved an average net profit margin of 4.3%. With 73% of Consumer Industry CXOs having increased investments in sustainability over the last year, this remains high on the agenda. The full report further analyzes the fastest-growing retailers, new entrants, and the future of the store.

Global Powers of Retailing 2023

Majority of top-10 retailers boost their digital capabilities

Walmart again leads the world’s global retailers, but we do see some changes in the top 10. China’s online retail specialist, for example, entered the top 10 at position 9 last year. This year they climbed to position 7 as a result of their 25.1% growth in retail revenue, also making them the fastest-growing top-10 retailer. For a second consecutive year, Latin American retailers recorded the largest composite five-year Compound Annual Growth Rate and year-on-year retail revenue growth.

Digital retailers benefitted from the shift towards digital shopping, during and after the pandemic. The majority of the top-10 retailers have actively boosted their digital capabilities through either the implementation of in-store technologies or through enhancing their omnichannel offerings.

Focus on sustainability remains, but type of investment is shifting

As many retailers continue to invest in sustainability initiatives, we see four focal points in their efforts. These are: 

  • the resale market 
  • the need to embed sustainability practises across supply chain operations 
  • the role of technology in sustainability
  • the adherence to ESG-related regulations and frameworks

Lululemon’s like new program for example enables customers to buy and sell their slightly used products. In an interview, Ahold Delhaize shared how they work on reducing scope 3 emissions on a group level and at a local level in their retail store. Read more about sustainability strategies of the world’s leading retailers.

Explore the Global Powers of Retailing highlights online

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