DRAX hosts Networking breakfast with CFOs in Consumer

Kate Trowbridge

November 10th, 2022

DRAX hosts Networking breakfast with CFOs in Consumer


We hosted our CFOs in Consumer networking breakfast, in collaboration with True. Richard Brick, Investment Director and Sophia Sung, Principal at True’s PE fund, skilfully chaired a round table discussion on finding ‘Opportunities Amongst Chaos’ and what strategic and operational plans could be employed to take advantage of this tumultuous market. The key discussion topics included -

The main takeaways were as follows:

  • Many D2C brands are moving to spend away from marketing – there is an opportunity to ‘fill the void’ and take advantage of the white space for brands that are willing to be brave

  • There was a divide in opinion other whether to pass increased costs of production onto consumers in this market – will that cause them to trade down or trade away or will they swallow price as they are seeing it across the board

  • ESG was a topic of particular interest, specifically around how businesses are deprioritising sustainability in this current climate in order to reduce costs, and what implications this has for brand value in the future – the conclusion was that brands should be taking a longer-term view with the understanding that ESG will only become more important to consumers with time

  • Owing to Covid, many businesses have already been through a period of inward cost efficiencies in their operations or supply chain. Therefore there isn’t a lot more cost stripping to be done or saving to be found. So companies are going to have to look elsewhere for top and bottom-line growth and be bolder in their decision-making – you can’t revert to type and take cost out to maintain profit in a recessionary environment.

  • 20-40-year-olds of this generation have fewer responsibilities than those previous; (buying houses later, having children later) and therefore as a demographic are more resilient to rising interest rates and inflation

  • Leadership doesn’t need to change in a downturn ( we’ve heard a lot about wartime vs peacetime leadership in the past month) but how management behaves has huge implications for the rest of the organisation – there was a tangible feeling of responsibility in the room for acting with optimism, calm and common sense - being a motivating presence and leading from the front in turbulent times.

Billie O'Connor, CFO at Milk & More attended our recent event and said "Thank you for inviting an interesting mix of industry leaders to the table – from pure e-commerce to store/e-commerce hybrid and services – the mix of attendees led to thought-provoking conversations."

We wrapped up by going around the table and giving one word to define our 2023 outlook and the answers were resoundingly positive – resilience, bravery, courage, optimism, potential and opportunity. My favourite, however, and much more in keeping with the archetypal CFO attitude, was ‘bloody difficult to budget’. 

Contact Kate Trowbridge to find out more

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