Evolution, Growth, and Revolution

Lifestage changes in retail

At Oliver Wyman, we strongly believe that understanding and anticipating how models of growth change as a retailer matures is fundamental to a business’ ability to adapt faster and more effectively than its competitors.

It’s well-known that retailers pass through distinct lifestages and that each of these poses distinct challenges: a retailer at inception is not the same one that is rapidly growing its estate, which in turn is not the same as a retailer at maturity. However, what is often under-appreciated is the magnitude of difference between one lifestage and the next, and that a retailer fundamentally becomes a different type of business as it evolves. Furthermore, the skills that led to a retailer’s earlier success can easily be the very skills that trip it up or hold it back today.

This article outlines the main lifestages in retail – which hold true across sectors and geographies – and gives brief insights into what we know it takes to be successful in the transition between each.

Evolution, Growth, and Revolution

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