Tag: KPMG

IT failures crippling businesses

Wall Street Crash, Wikimedia CommonsThe average cost of IT failures is a staggering £410,000 per incident, according to a KPMG report.

But even more staggering is that over half of the failures were “completely avoidable”, according to KPMG’s latest risk assessment.

And four million bank and credit card accounts were compromised by each IT failure, while an average of 776,000 people were affected by every SNAFU.

The avoidable problems include software coding errors, or failure of changes to IT.  Of these, 7.3 percent were because human beings mess up.  That, said KPMG, means that training is being compromised and that costs additional expense.

The report mentions an unnamed utility company which was threatened with a £10 million fine when technical trouble meant its customers didn’t get their bills for months and then got inaccurate demands.

Joe Dowie, a partner in KPMG’s Technology Risk division said: “Technology is no longer a function within a business which operates largely in isolation.  It is at the heart of everything a company does and when it goes wrong it affects an organisation’s bottom line, its relationship with customers and its wider reputation.”

KPMG came to its conclusions after collating information from over 15,000 news sources.

Tech sector outperforms rest of private sector

poundsAccording to new research from KPMG, the British tech sector has outperformed the rest of the private sector in terms of hiring and long-term outlook.

This is no new trend. KPMG notes that the tech sector has consistently outperformed the rest of the private sector over the last decade. There’s plenty of confidence, too. Growth expectations at tech companies are well above the private sector average.

KPMGalso introduced a new index to track job creation and growth and UK companies. The Tech Sector Purchasing Managers’ Intex keeps track of hiring and purchases – and it indicates that tech sector growth and output have been strong since the end of the recession. However, bigger outfits seem to be doing better than small tech firms.

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“Our new report Tech Monitor UK, the first of an ongoing series, reveals a number of key findings: importantly, it shows that the UK tech sector has generated solid rates of job creation over the last four years and that it has consistently outpaced other UK private sectors in creating jobs since the global financial crisis in 2008/09,” Tudor Aw, Head of Technology at KPMG said. “In terms of business outlook and confidence, we can take heart that tech companies in the UK are bullish about the next 12 months. Optimism is at one of the highest levels since data was first recorded in late 2009 and also continues the trend that tech companies are consistently more upbeat regarding hiring intentions than other UK sectors.”

The report also provides an interesting geographical snapshot of Britain’s thriving tech economy, which reveals that most companies are located in the South East of England and London. Nearly all are located near the M4, M3 or M25 and they have easy access to Heathrow and Gatwick.

“The findings of our report clearly highlight the link between investing in transport infrastructure and attracting businesses and therefore driving growth in the UK economy,” Aw commented.

Heatwave reheats British retail in July

highstreet South endJuly appears to have been a great month for British retailers and they have mother nature, a tennis player and a baby to thank for it.

According to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, sales were up 3.9 percent, against a 2.0 percent increase in July 2012, the fastest July growth since 2006. In real terms, total growth was 4.4 percent, the fastest since April 2011.

Since much of the growth was fuelled by hot weather, fashion outlets and the food sector did particularly well. However, online sales grew by just 7.9 percent, much lower than the 15.6 percent in July 2012. Home accessories, furniture and home textiles were the worst performing sectors, as most people chose to buy flip-flops and barbecue sauce instead of new carpets and Allen key loving flat-pack furniture.

“Food has performed very strongly, with summer barbecue ingredients and feel-good foods doing well during a month where the Lions, Murray, Chris Froome in the Tour de France and the start of the Ashes series all contributed to the positive summer feeling;” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC. “Clothing has also had a very good month, which was down to good weather spurring summer fashion buys and some very good discounting.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said July was a “golden month” for retail sales and a return to form for British retailers.

“Hopefully this uptick in sales is another indication that the UK economy has turned the corner towards growth. Murray mania, summer sun and the arrival of the royal baby gave consumers that much needed feel good factor, encouraging them to leave caution behind and help retailers put in a champion performance,” he said. ‪”With autumn ranges now hitting the shelves, retailers need some cooler weather to encourage consumers to treat themselves to some new winter woollies. If they get these new ranges right and suitable weather, it could be game, set and match.”‬‬‬

KPMG: Retail is recovering

highstreetThe KPMG/Ipsos run Retail Think Tank believes the UK’s retail sector is on the road to improvement and has overall steadied in the second quarter.

Demand increased particularly in the end of June, positively impacting sales of goods. Three key segments, demand, margin and cost, which drive growth, were neutral, with demand slightly increased compared to the first quarter, margins still under some pressure, but with cost factors “largely negligible”.

The RTT’s Retail Health Index was marked at 78 points, one up from the previous quarter and the first successive growth since a continued decline in early 2011.

The group pointed to the arrival of the new governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who said interest rates will stay low and should not mess with economic recovery.

David McCurquodale, head of retail at KMPG UK, said the picture is much brighter than last year.
“Compared to the carnage that occurred in 2012, this year we are seeing a far more settled picture which is a welcome sign for the retail industry,” McCurquodale said. “Certainly, there is less gloom, and expectations that retailers will enter into administration are lower, but for those sitting on large debts, there is still inevitably a risk of insolvency.”

BRC reports June retail recovery

poundsThe British Retail Consortium’s data is out for June and online sales were up again, 14.1 percent compared to the same time last year.

With the weather taking a turn for the better at last, clothing and footwear were both up as well as increased footfall on the highstreet. Retail sales overall were up 1.4 percent on a like for like basis from June 2012, and on a total basis sales were up 2.9 percent, compared to a 3.5 percent increase in June last year.

Online sales did their best since July 2012, not including Christmas.

The BRC’s director general, Helen Dickinson, said that the weather helped retail sales along in spite of a generally bleak economic climate. There was a positive reaction to retail promotions as well as continued demand for essential items.

The weather helped along DIY and gardening products, Dickinson said, and there were other purchases that may have been postponed when the weather was more typically British.

TV sales are weak compared to last year – where they boomed thanks to the London Olympics. Electronics promotions did help the segment. Food growth grew in line with inflation.

“June saw another strong performance from UK retailers, with very respectable overall growth across the categories,” Dickinson said. “At this halfway point in the year we are able to see that sales are well ahead of the previous six month period, confirming that the retail recovery is continuing”.

Retail head for KPMG, David McCorquodale, said the statistics mark “another respectable performance”.

“Sales are moving in the right direction, albeit hard-earned and promotion driven,” McCorquodale said. “The statistics are all the more creditable as last year’s sales included a Jubilee boost.”

 

UK retail sector healthier than in last two years

snow-londonAt its latest quarterly meeting in April, the KPMG/Ipsos Retail Think Tank (RTT) came to the conclusion that the health of the UK retail sector is improving.

The RTT upped its Retail Health Index by one point to 77 points, the best result in two and a half years.

The RTT cited a marginal lift in demand as the main factor underlining the recovery and things could have been even better had the first quarter of the year not been marred by unusually cold weather. Christmas sales were strong, the food sector performed exceptionally well and the decline in footfall, caused by wintry weather, did not hurt overall demand. Gadgets also did well, as consumers decided to stay indoors and chuck Angry Birds on their shiny new tablets.

However, retailers’ margins weren’t as good. Food margins remained flat and margins on technology products remain low. Costs stayed flat. Although multichannel operations continued to spend more on fuel and energy, this was offset by reductions in estate sizes and creative cost cutting measures.

The outlook for retail health in the second quarter is not so great and it is expected to stay flat, reports FreshBusinessThinking.com. Consumer confidence remains low, inflation is rearing its ugly face again, fuel and energy prices are set to rise, demand still looks very soft.

“Overall the quarter was quite an even one for UK retailers as demand, margins and costs all remained relatively static and it looks like we’re at the bottom of the decline,” said David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG UK. “The weather did affect demand in terms of footfall being down, but otherwise sales were largely ok.”

BRC: Easter drove retail sales, fashion crumpled

highEaster and Mothers Day went some way to helping rescue the high street, but the winter weather kept clothes on their rails.

That’s the latest from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, which said in their monthly survey that UK retail sales had risen by 1.9 percent on a like-for-like basis from March 2012, when they had risen 1.3 percent on the preceding year.

It said on a total basis, sales were up 3.7 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for the same time last year.

Easter, which fell in March this year as opposed to April last year, had helped the growth, however the winter weather still had a knock on effect in the fashion categories.

Online sales rose 6.6 percent compared with March 2012, when they had risen by 13.9 percent.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said food and homewares had done well last month as a result of Easter, while the weather also drove consumers to  buy hearty meals such as roasts and chocolates. However, as a result, fashion suffered.

She said retailers were now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence as they headed into the second quarter, praying for some sunshine to get things moving.

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG,  agreed – claiming the early Easter this year boosted the March sales figures and food and drink sales in particular soared as people stocked up to enjoy the long weekend. He said there was “also a welcome rise in house-related spending over the Easter break”.

Jobs shrink in the UK

Jobcentre-plus-KPMG has reported that the UK saw its slowest growth of job vacancies for seven months during March 2013.

The latest findings form part of its Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) and report on jobs, collated through survey data provided by recruitment consultancies.

The availability of candidates to fill permanent job roles decreased for a fourth successive month in March. However, KPMG pointed out that the rate of deterioration remained only “modest.” It said the availability of temporary/contract staff meanwhile increased slightly, maintaining the trend seen since the turn of the year.

It was also better news on the pay front with the company reporting that permanent staff salaries and temporary and contract staff pay both increased at moderate rates over the month. It said in the case of the latter, inflation was at a 12-month high.

The Midlands, North and South all registered higher permanent placements in March. London, however, saw a renewed decline following two months of growth.

Private sector vacancies continued to increase during March. Expansions were signalled for both permanent and temporary staff,  however KPMG pointed out that these were at slower rates compared with February.

In the public sector, demand for temporary workers increased for the first time in three months. However, demand for permanent employees was down marginally.

The strongest rate of expansion was signalled for IT and Computing staff, a trend carried on from February, while hotel  and catering registered the slowest growth of vacancies.

For the fourteenth consecutive month, nursing/medical/care was the most in-demand category for temporary/contract staff during March.