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UK high street stores under threat while online spending continues to rise

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting on a day in which the UK high street faces the threat of losing stores to factors including the rise of multichannel and economic headwinds.

American Apparel in the UK has gone into administration, while Marks & Spencer announces a reshaping of its business around a combination of digital and more “inspiring” stores, closing 60 of its existing clothing and homewares-focused branches even as it opens more Simply Food stores. Overall, it says it will have more stores – but it seems likely that larger stores will close while its food range will be sold from smaller shops.

That’s not to say that shoppers aren’t spending. But figures out today from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG suggest that online is expanding while store spending falls. More than 20% of spending was online in October for the 10th month in a row, leaving less than 80% to the store. Our conclusions, for what it’s worth, are firmly behind the importance of stores for multichannel retailers. These aid convenience, now a top priority for customers, through delivery, the speed of purchase, and through raising brand awareness.

Meanwhile, retailers are also facing the conundrum of whether or not to take part in Black Friday. Is the novelty wearing off? Two studies today reach different conclusions about the shopping event: Flubit.com says shoppers will buy online, while Retail Economics says 80% of the minority who do plan to shop will be headed for the store.

We also report as Decathlon expands its RFID programme, while today’s guest comment comes from Meagan Hughes of Digitas LBi, who considers the three stages of a data-driven ecommerce strategy.

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Our next webinar is tomorrow when Michael Langguth, co-founder of app developer Poq, will be addressing the business case for mobile apps in retail, using case study examples from retailers including Missguided and House of Fraser. Learn how apps can drive your retail business is on November 9 at 2pm. To find out more and to register for the free event visit the Poq webinar page.

Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinars page to catch up on the latest webinars, which are also available to view again on the IRTV channel.

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