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44


Future of Retail — The CFO Issue


issue 04


Out of chaos there will be those who see necessity as the mother of invention and a new opportunity.


representing the level of tax revenue or growth in savings etc. etc.” 70 years on, we can see that it is a bit of a Heath Robinson thing. It required us to believe that economics is a perfect science. Per the chaos theory it is not. On occasion, the wrong combination of valves was accidentally opened causing a small fl ood… i.e. chaos.


MICRO ACTIVITY IS THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK After the referendum, we attempted to fi nd out what happened. We had seen something akin to the ‘murmuration’ of starlings fl ying in some divine pattern. In fact, it was about 52% of voters having very different reasons for being discontented with politicians, bankers, foreigners, euro dictators whatever…but all fl ying in the same direction. All small variations that together have created chaos.


WHY ARE WE STILL THE NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS? Napoleon – the fi rst Euro fanatic – gave us that title and he was right. We are still among the best shopkeepers in the world. It may be that we have a protectionist culture.


We have never replaced the Pound with the Euro. We have a strong survival instinct. We did create an empire on the back of an interloping pirate navy that was paid to support the offi cial one. Predatory individuals. Entrepreneurs. Micro economics that created change.


EXPECT THE BEST, PREPARE FOR THE WORST. THE EXAMPLE OF THE BRITISH EXPLORER Explorers found themselves in Tiger country. The British explorer had prepared for the future. He took a very expensive pair of running shoes from his rucksack. As he put them on, his


European comrade said: “You must be stupid to think that a fancy pair of trainers will help you out-run a tiger”. He replied…: “I don’t have to out-run a tiger. I only have to outrun you.”


THE ENGLISH CIVIL WAR SECOND TIME AROUND? Our desire to succeed as competitors is in our blood. Some 375 years ago, on the macro level the civil war was a war between Catholic and Protestant ideals. On a micro level, it was a war between local factions. Farmers who stood to gain their neighbours’ land, traders who competed against traders for favours. Politics and ideals were less important than survival. Just as it is now. Our current discontent and desire for change


is fuelled by a thousand different small reasons. Out of chaos there will be those who see necessity as the mother of invention and a new opportunity. Maybe Brexit happened as result of something deeply entrenched in the British psyche. Or at least 52% of it. One thing is for sure. We are out of Europe for good. Let’s make sure it’s good.


THE ANSWER TO THE ORIGINAL QUESTION MIGHT JUST BE FOUND ON THE SHOPKEEPER’S SHELF.


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