Meeting the demands of multi-channel operations is the biggest challenge for retail businesses, according to research.
A study by JDA and PwC, questioned 400 global retail CEOs to gauge their confidence in the sector.
In the UK, failing to meet multi-channel demand, along with being unable to sustain 'bricks and mortar' sales, was the most significant internal business threat, cited by 42 per cent of respondents.
The cost of fulfilling orders across channels has increased for 67 per cent of UK retailer business.
Fulfilling customer returns from orders in-store and online was the biggest challenge, 76 per cent, with 71 per cent of retailers citing it as the most expensive aspect of fulfilling orders.
The research also showed that only 29 per cent of UK retailers consider themselves to be multi-channel, while 26 per cent say having shipping options was very important to meeting customer expectations.
Globally, meeting omni-channel expectations of customers was the biggest priority for the future. It was also the biggest challenge, with 35 per cent citing failing to meet the demands as the biggest concern, and 84 per cent saying they could not currently fulfil omni-channel demand profitably.
The cost of fulfilment, especially returns, was cited as the most expensive aspect of omni-channel operations.
Chief executives surveyed are investing an average of 29 per cent of capital expenditure this year on improving omni-channel fulfilment capabilities.
Globally, CEOs are more upbeat about long-term growth as opposed to growth in the near-term, with most expressing rising confidence in revenue growth over the next 12 months compared to last year.