Retail: Who said the High Street was dead?

According to a recent PwC blog, retailers were closing high street stores at an average rate of 15 per day at the beginning of 2016 - a net total of 503 stores closed and an increase from a 14 average in 2015.

What's to blame?

Well, online shopping of course! In recent years, retail chains have been forced to completely overhaul their sales strategies, with straight-forward online sales, 'click & collect' and virtual shopping experiences changing the way that people want to - and expect to - shop.

A forecast by the Centre for Retail Research (covering 2014 - 2016 when published) emphasised the rise in online shares of retail trade in the UK, which is ahead of the European curve in terms of online adoption.

So is it all doom and gloom for the high street?

Not really. Even after uncertainty following the EU referendum, consumers are spending with confidence. Employment is high, consumer good are still cheap (no post-Brexit price inflation here yet!) and positive reports from the likes of Argos, John Lewis and Curry's PC World following November 2016's Black Friday consumer activity should reassure. 

And a Quartz market report from 2016 shows a blossoming retail trade.

What's the secret to continued high street success?

It's all about price and consumer experience. An increasingly digital-savvy consumer demographic demands a price point that is 'competition and online channel-aware' - with the ability to compare prices in real time, shoppers will not accept over-priced or inaccurately-priced goods. In terms of consumer experience, consumers still value a high quality hands-on approach from knowledgeable personnel - actually, in such highly digitized world, an effectively delivered personal experience can add incomparable value. 

It's all about having the right knowledge and the right people, in the right place, at the right time.