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Retail Think Tank

Jonathan De Mello Joins the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank

Retail property expert Jonathan De Mello has been appointed to the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) to replace Mark Teale, who retired from CBRE and the RTT earlier this year.

Jonathan, who is head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs, will join the RTT for its next meeting on 10 December. The panel of experts meets quarterly to discuss issues and opportunities within the UK retail market, and to assess the overall health of the sector through the Retail Health Index.

Jonathan has more than 15 years’ experience working as a specialist consultant in the retail and retail property sectors. His far-reaching role includes the recruitment and management of a team of consultants and analysts, spearheading strategic retail consultancy projects for international clients and creating strategies to help clients to maximise their retail potential.

In his previous role at CBRE, he was responsible for creating and developing CBRE’s retail consultancy offer and before this he held similar roles at Experian, CACI and Management Horizons.

“The RTT is at the forefront of retail analysis so I am pleased to be part of this panel,” said Jonathan.

“The insights offered by this panel feeds into what retailers do on a day-to-day basis and I am looking forward to sharing my own views and experiences during the quarterly meetings.”

Dr Tim Denison, founder member of the RTT said: “Real estate and store location are key facets of retailing, particularly in this digital age. Jonathan brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, and will be well placed to keep the RTT fully briefed on property issues in the retail sector.

“On behalf of the RTT, I would also like to thank Mark Teale for his commitment and insight over the years. Mark was a founding member of the RTT almost 10 years ago and has made a considerable contribution to the think tank over that period. In his place we welcome Jonathan and are delighted to have him on the panel and welcome him to our next meeting in December.”

The RTT was established in 2006 to provide an authoritative, credible and trusted view on what is happening in the retail sector and develop thought leadership on the key areas influencing the future of retailing in the UK. Following its quarterly meetings it updates on the Retail Health Index, which assesses the state of retail health by examining the effect to demand, costs and margins on the sector, as well as publishing regular white papers on issues facing the industry.

Jonathan will join the panel of nine other experts which includes Nick Bubb, independent retail analyst; Dr. Tim Denison, Ipsos Retail Performance; Martin Hayward, Hayward Strategy and Futures; Maureen Hinton, Conlumino; James Knightley, ING; Richard Lowe, Barclays Retail and Wholesale Sectors; David McCorquodale, KPMG; Martin Newman, Practicology and Mike Watkins, Nielsen.

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Date Published:10/29/2015 3:05 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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