We report on why the death of the high street is overblown, according to retail veteran and Ocado chairman Sir Stuart Rose, who says rather, retail is changing fast, and the role of shops is changing with that too. The stores that we now see on our high streets will change too, and that change is already underway. That picture of change, the like of which Rose has never seen before, gives us one reason as to why Amazon is the lead investor in Deliveroo’s latest round of funding. The retailer’s focus has been firmly on fast, convenient delivery in recent years.
We also have plenty of examples of fast change in ecommerce and multichannel retail in our other stories today. Yours Clothing reports sales and profits growth after a year of expansion online, through stores and into new international markets, while Burberry says the first year of its latest transformation plan has gone well. There, the emphasis has been on social, digital and, indeed, a different role for stores. Burberry also says that it needs fewer stores, but it is investing to improve the flagship stores that now represent its primary focus in markets.
Boots has taken its trusty staple the Advantage Card digital, meaning that shoppers can now spend their points in-stores from their phones. It’s a timely move, since phones are set to continue to dominate online retail growth, according to the latest forecasts from GlobalData, which predicts the UK m-commerce spend will double in five years.
Staying on the theme of fast change, today’s guest comment comes from Diana Bourke of Echo-U, who considers how AI is set to affect retail contact centre agents.
If things are changing fast now, no doubt the pace of change will pick up still further in coming years. The time to adapt to a new way of selling is, as Rose says, upon us.