No-one can be blind to the difficulties the retail sector is going through. Start with a difficult and unpredictable political and economic climate. Add huge competitive pressures in the marketplace. Throw in the explosion of online retail offerings. And then finish off with the fact that today’s consumers are more demanding than ever, less tolerant of delays, mistakes or incompetence and empowered with detailed product and pricing information literally at their fingertips. This combination of factors has created a perfect storm that is cutting into retailer margins and, in the very worst of cases, resulting in store closures and bankruptcies.
It is not all doom and gloom however. The retail sector is hitting back with innovation in product offerings, merchandising practices, customer service and delivery. Nor is it a simple story. While there are many that are unable to change their business models fast enough to adjust, there are others that are thriving – the discount supermarkets, for example. And, while many are moving out of physical retail, others previously known only for online, are moving in.
The truth that the “High Street” is not dying, merely continuing to evolve, as it always has. As is generally the case with evolutions, the future will belong to the fittest – those best able to adapt to the changing needs of the customer.
This report provides an overview of the current and future situations, starting with some of the bare statistics, continuing with 9 key retail trends to watch and ending with some speculations on what the retail landscape and town centres of the future may look like.
Published: May 2019