Mentions of industrial automation within the filings of companies in the retail sector fell 25% between the first and second quarters of 2022.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to industrial automation between July 2021 and June 2022 was 110% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When retail companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Industrial automation is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether industrial automation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of retail companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned industrial automation at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 63% compared to 49% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to industrial automation.
Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail sector, Walmart was the company which referred to industrial automation the most between July 2021 and June 2022. GlobalData identified 29 industrial automation-related sentences in the United States-based company's filings - 0.3% of all sentences. Ahold Delhaize mentioned industrial automation the second most - the issue was also referred to in 0.3% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high industrial automation mentions included Carrefour, Magnit and TJX.
Across all retail companies the filing published in the second quarter of 2022 which exhibited the greatest focus on industrial automation came from GPA. Of the document's 1,731 sentences, 13 (0.8%) referred to industrial automation.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on industrial automation and how important the issue is considered within the retail sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning industrial automation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into industrial automation have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, retail companies based in Oceania were most likely to mention industrial automation with 0.19% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Asia mentioned industrial automation in just 0.07% of sentences.