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Thread: Retail World is Changing ..........................................

  1. #1
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
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    Blue Jumper Retail World is Changing ..........................................

    The Radically Changing Retail Industry in London

    August 7, 2018, Oihane Garcia de Caceres Lopez

    Retail In London Is Dying

    Physical retail is dying in London. Economic indicators have been terrible for the industry lately. As of July 2018, up to 50,000 retail jobs have disappeared only within the last six months, with the industry’s crisis being most tangible at the city’s high streets.
    Changes in consumer habits are one of the principal reasons. For the last 4 years, the UK has topped the list of countries with online retail sales as a percentage of total retail sales (15,6%). It is also the second country with the highest e-commerce revenue on average per online shopper in the world (£1629), with only the US ahead.

    The situation for physical retail is so bad that, even though a 2016 study conducted by YouGov showed that eating out was the primal source of spending in the UK, with people doing it more often and at a higher cost, mid-market restaurants are also closing by the dozens.

    The casual dining market has been overexploited in London for at least the last decade, following the enormous food and beverage business present in the city. Nowadays, the hotspot lies in food delivery services, with companies like Uber leading the way with its UberEats section. In fact, UberEats is bigger than its mothership in 19 European cities, including the British capital, where they are able to deliver food in under 25 minutes,one of the fastest runs in the world.

    This proves that even the biggest and most consolidated business sectors are suffering deep changes in London, where new doors are opening as the traditional activity is being challenged.

    London might be a prime example of how and why the retail industry needs to change. The current economic situation has become a perfect storm for innovation. It was just a matter of time and logic, but now it’s happening out of necessity. With rent rates going up, business margins becoming harder to reap, low salaries weighing down the middle class and online shopping going from an alternative to a way of life, retail stores are facing omens of doom.

    Taxes are on the rise for major retailers in the city center, while online stores and non-central shopping centers avoid the taxman’s ax. Pricey business rental rates are also counterproductive: basically, they are out pricing every potential renter that could afford to run their business in these locations.

    Big retailers have so many open fronts that it has become impossible to survive in an environment that condemns them no matter what strategy they take. The situation is still looking gloomy, even though lately inflation has been somehow recovering from its terrible constant increase.

    Where are the window shoppers?

    More important than the changing landscape of businesses is the fact that people just don’t stop by anymore. Foot traffic that leads to a purchase is down. Traditional “window shopping” is slowly coming to an end. Londoners understand retail and convenience as an activity that needs to happen in the easiest way possible. That explains the huge success of Amazon and any service similar to it.
    Not in vain, the first Amazon Prime Air drone delivery happened in Cambridge in 2016, and service to the general public could be available by 2019 thanks to the upcoming change of laws in air traffic control. It doesn’t seem like a society that is openly preparing itself for a complete change in consumer behavior will consider keeping regular retail up for much longer.

    Thus, the culture of browsing is coming to an end. Nowadays, even when people do swerve into shops to browse, they usually do it because they’re considering purchasing those products online after finding the best deal. Big storefront surfaces are closing at an alarming rate, even those that were apparently solidly established. The high streets, which hold over half of London’s jobs, feel helpless at the face of a deep crisis that is threatening their integrity.

    The death of malls:

    The old-fashioned multi-space, include-all malls were never going to have a place in the near future of consumer culture in their current form. Perhaps, the demise of entire multinational chain stores that used to be part of the city’s landscape was not so obviously near, but it is happening, nonetheless.

    Once -not so long ago- solid businesses like House of Fraser, Toys“R”Us, Maplin or BHS (which had to be sold for just £1 by Topshop owner Sir Philip Green to Retail Acquisitions Ltd. in 2015) have all closed down, leaving an uncertain future ahead. You know the sea is getting rough when the big ships are starting to sink.

    There are so many newly emptied commercial spaces, that the commercial and shopping districts look unrecognizable. Beauty, vaping or watch brands, along with other brands that usually based their physical presence in department or specialist stores, are getting into retail thanks to this deep change of scenery. Other brands that are taking high street slots are Mercedes or Tesla.
    Despite the clearly inauspicious times, a new multi-brand adventure shaped by several big retail brands began last March, when they opened a £600 million, 740,000 sq ft extension at the Westfield London mall, making it the largest in Europe. Some of these brands are Primark, Urban Decay, Currys Pc World or Bravissimo, kings of retail that want to offer a battle for the revolution of their sector.
    It’s still too early to speculate on their success, just as it’s yet to be seen whether this extension opened as a result of savvy business expansion or rather as a last-ditch desperate attempt to save a collectively failing business model.

    Even though online shopping has changed the entire game, it would be naive to point it out as the only culprit to blame for the drastic changes. The state of the economy plays a crucial part in consumer behavior. Plain and simple, people have less money to spend, and physical retail stores aren’t considered as an option anymore.

    The rise of fast fashion:
    If there is one sector that has suffered the most pronounced change, it’s the fashion and clothing industry. Long since gone are the days when malls bloomed with myriads of customers who went from one store to another, looking for clothes in the best way they knew.

    Today, in a list of the 14 coolest fashion startups in London made by Business Insider, ALL of these retailers operate solely online. Needless to say, the future -and present- of fashion is closer to models like ASOS or Boohoo’s than that of traditional physical stores.
    Currently, physical brands like Zara are breaking the mold to dynamize their stores in order to maintain the customer flow. The other “big fish” in this field know that they need to change their ways in order to compete with an ever growing e-commerce market, which is even stronger in a city like London. Customers are getting more used to immediacy, more choices and the capacity to shop 24/7. Big retailers need to find out how to amortize the cost of their physical retail.

    (all hyperlinks removed)

    see all of it:
    Chris Ryser

  2. #2
    Manuf. Lens Surface Treatments
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    in Naples FL for the Winter months
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    Blue Jumper What does the future hold for optics? ..........................................


    Describing a picture of the profession that is yet to be painted can be difficult. OT  spoke to a trio of practitioners who were willing to give it a go.

    25 Jul 2018 by Emily McCormick, Laurence Derbyshire

    Predictions can be evidence-based, they can derive from science, or they can purely be a stab in the dark – usually they are a combination of all three. Ultimately, they are made by a person based on their experiences and prior knowledge.

    Asking three practitioners from differing backgrounds for their predictions for optics in five and 15 years-time garnered interesting results.

    First to crystal ball gaze was optometrist Asad Hamir, co-founder of London-based brand Kite Eyewear.
    Mr Hamir established Kite in 2014 with the aim of bringing the “exciting” innovation and design that surrounded optics in Europe to the UK.

    Kite’s Shoreditch-based store is home to the world’s first Eye Bar. The store focuses on the customer experience and is designed to offer people a place to enjoy a drink and peruse frames, with a one-to-one consultation with an expert stylist also available.

    Continue, and see all three different opinions on the subject:
    Chris Ryser

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