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Retail Think Tank

David McCorquodale joins The KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank

A new member has been appointed to the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank following the departure of Helen Dickinson who left her position at KPMG in November to join the British Retail Consortium as Director General.  David McCorquodale is UK head of retail at KPMG and is responsible for leading and developing the firm’s retail practice in the UK.

David has been with KPMG since 1984 and was one of the founders of KPMG’s corporate finance business, advising listed and private companies on divestitures, acquisitions and fund raisings.  He also leads KPMG’s European retail transactions and restructuring practice and has advised on numerous high profile retail transactions, including the sales of Card Factory, Dreams, Peacocks, Blacks Leisure and JJB Sports.

David McCorquodale said: “I am delighted to join the RTT, which has a strong reputation for providing insight into the pertinent issues facing the retail sector today.  Retailers are servicing a consumer that does not have the confidence to spend like they did five years ago.  In addition, they are having to tackle many other challenges in an increasingly competitive environment – from the pressures to reduce their store portfolio to the ongoing need to invest in a multichannel infrastructure.  I look forward to working with the RTT members to debate the issues troubling retailers and suggesting steps they can take to resolve them.”

Commenting on David’s appointment, Dr Tim Denison, Head of Retail Intelligence at Ipsos Retail Performance and co-founder of the Retail Think Tank, says: “These are challenging times for British retailing and there has never been a more important time in the short history of the KPMG-Ipsos Retail Think Tank to provide considered and authoritative commentary and thought leadership on the UK retail sector.  I’m delighted that David has been appointed to the RTT.  His experience and knowledge will be a great asset.  I would also like to thank Helen Dickinson, co-founder of the RTT for her vision, enthusiasm and hard work in making the RTT the respected body it is today and wish her well as the next Director General of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).”

KPMG is an associate member of the BRC and David works closely with the BRC in a number of areas including the analysis, sponsorship and administration of the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. He is regularly quoted in the trade and national media on retail sales trends and other key issues affecting the sector.

Date Published: 12/20/2012 5:45 PM

Note to Editors:

The RTT panellists rely on their depth of personal experience, sector knowledge and review an exhaustive bank of industry and government datasets including the following:

Members of the RTT are:

  • Nick Bubb – Independent Retail Analyst
  • Dr. Tim Denison – Ipsos Retail Performance
  • Jonathan De Mello – Harper Dennis Hobbs
  • Martin Hayward – Hayward Strategy and Futures
  • Maureen Hinton – Conlumino
  • James Knightley – ING
  • Richard Lowe – Barclays Retail & Wholesale Sectors
  • David McCorquodale – KPMG
  • Martin Newman – Practicology
  • Mike Watkins – Nielsen

The intellectual property within the RTT is jointly owned by KPMG ( and Ipsos Retail Performance (

First mentions of the Retail Think Tank should be as follows: the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank. The abbreviations Retail Think Tank and RTT are acceptable thereafter.

The RTT was founded in February 2006. It now meets quarterly to provide authoritative ‘thought leadership’ on matters affecting the retail industry. All outputs are consensual and arrived at by simple majority vote and moderated discussion. Quotes are individually credited. The Retail Think Tank has been created because it is widely accepted that there are so many mixed messages from different data sources that it is difficult to establish with any certainty the true health and status of the sector. The aim of the RTT is to provide the authoritative, credible and most trusted window on what is really happening in retail and to develop thought leadership on the key areas influencing the future of retailing in the UK. Its executive members have been rigorously selected from non-aligned disciplines to highlight issues, propose solutions, learn from the past, signpost the road ahead and put retail into its rightful context within the British social/economic matrix.

Definitions:  The RTT assesses the state of health of the UK retail sector by considering the factors which influence its three key drivers.

1.  Demand – Demand for retail goods and services.  From a retro-perspective, retail sales, volumes and prices are the primary indicators.  When considering future prospects, economic factors such as interest rates, employment levels and house prices as well as others such as consumer confidence, footfall and preferences are used

2.  Margin (Gross) – Sales less cost of sales; the buying margin less markdowns and shrinkage.  Cost of sales include product purchase costs, associated costs of indirect taxes and duty and discounts

3.  Costs – All other costs associated with the retail operations, including freight and logistics, marketing, property and people

The Retail Health Index – how is it assessed?

Every quarter each member of the RTT makes quantitative assessments of the impact on retail health of demand, margins and costs for the quarter just completed and a forecast of the quarter ahead.   These scores are submitted individually, collated and aggregated in time for the RTT’s quarterly meeting.  The individual judgements on what to score are ultimately a combination of objective and subjective ones, drawing upon a wide range of hard datasets and softer qualitative material available to each member. The framework follows the example of The Bank of England Agents’ scoring system on economic intelligence provided to the Monetary Policy Committee.

The aggregate scores are combined to form the Retail Health Index (‘RHI’) which is reviewed at that meeting and occasionally revised after debate if members feel it appropriate.  The RHI tracks quarter on quarter changes in the health of the UK retail sector and as such provides a useful and unique measured indicator of retail health.  The index ‘base’ of 100 was set on 1 April 2006.  Each quarter, it assesses whether the state of health has improved or deteriorated since the previous quarter.  An improvement will lead to a higher RHI score than that recorded in the previous quarter, and with a deterioration leading to a lower score.   The larger the index movement, the more marked the shift in the state of health.

The RHI has two main benefits.  Firstly, it aims to quantify the knowledge of the RTT members in a systematic way.  Secondly, it assesses the overall state of health of the UK retail sector for which there is no official data.

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Tel: +44 (0)1159 589 840


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