Knowing the qualitative retail reality of your town centres

The Daily Post:- 13th June “Knowing the qualitative retail reality of your town centre”   I’ve walked on both sides of the retail High Street this week. On the one side I’ve been listening once again, as I’m sure you have, to more news of widespread store closures. This time it was House of Fraser. However what seemed so chilling on this occasion was the list of towns soon to be stripped of their flagship destination stores. There is something very finite about a physical list. There were also of course the various interviews with truly desolate local councillors and…

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Is your online sales & physical store numbers strategy in place?

Online & offline, the biggest challenge for historic retailers is to remain relevant and attractive to their customers. That will ultimately dictate the online sales potential and physical store numbers that will be viable for a business. Do you remember the days when the e-commerce part of a bricks ‘n’ mortar business was compared to the largest physical store? That was a realistic ambition. It also considered e-commerce as a nice bonus to have on top of the physical store sales.   There was no threat to the existing business just an additional opportunity. That seems like ancient history now.…

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Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing

The Morning Post:- 27th March Westfield London: New footprints in Experiential Retailing   Fresh back from viewing the advance guard at the extension to the Westfield London centre in White City. It is already impressive and will be spectacular, I have no doubt, when all the stores are open in a month or two. What you see in the first openings from retailers such as Lush, White Company, West Elm, Boots, Currys, and of course the showcase John Lewis, is a real and tangible response to the pressures put on stores through the migration of sales to online. In this omnichannel environment these…

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“The Fight for Retail Independence or Multiple Monotony!”

The Evening Post:- 14th March “The Fight for Independence” An interesting article caught my eye today from online research company Onbuy.com. Their survey was comparing the opening and closing of retail outlets by region of the UK, for multiples & independents.   It goes to show how things quickly change in life, and in retail in particularly, the most dynamic of industries. Because what jumps out from the findings is that in all but 2 of the 11 regions independent retail outlets grew whilst also in all but 2 of the 11 the number of multiple outlets fell. Concluding that in many…

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“Where there are People there is Retail”

“Where there are people there is retail” however every retail location needs a commercial strategy and an inspirational delivery. Customer traffic is now dictating the location of retail. Freedom to travel and freedom to choose between online and physical shopping, between town and out-of-town, between the familiar and the unusual is changing the landscape of where people spend their money.   The retail location equation now includes not only town centres & high streets, retail parks and shopping centres but leisure destinations, transit centres from airports to railway and service stations, colleges and universities with the populations of small towns…

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Soho Alive & Kicking: The Jimi Hendrix Pop-up Experience

As part of VM-unleashed’s 10th anniversary year we take a look back at some retail milestones from the last decade and explain why each store’s message is as relevant for us today as it was then. Two big themes of the decade were epitomised by the second coming of Jim Hendrix to Carnaby Street. Firstly the advent of the “Pop-up” shop. Now everyone’s favourite vehicle for testing out new product launches and brand marketing initiatives, made official and commercial by a growing number of temporary store property agents, it’s not so long ago that this phenomenum was only a tiny glint…

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Retail Workshops: Where to begin with town centre planning

Managing a single retail chain is complicated enough however when it comes to retail locations, town centres, shopping centres, retail and leisure destinations then simply the number of stakeholders and agendas involved can create an insurmountable complexity making the whole decision process impossible, never mind the delivery itself.   So if you’re in a quandary as to how to move forwards with a coordinated and workable retail strategy for your location then how to begin? One thing is for sure, effective change cannot be imposed but must be reached through discussion and consensus between all relevant parties. The successful delivery of…

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“The Independent Retailer Support Kit”

How town centres, high streets and independent retailers can evolve “Local Destination Stores” because being an independent retailer does not mean you have to be inefficient, unattractive, and uncompetitive.   In fact in the fight for retail traffic between competing town centres the role of independents is more critical than ever in creating distinct flavour and personality. When independent retailers escape the cloak of consumer invisibility and exchange it for the colourful and attractive garb of local destination retailers then shopping venues truly begin to attract attention, command respect and pull in the customer pounds that they so desperately seek. However to…

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“Is Bluewater’s expansion killing Kent’s High Streets?”

Tim Radley, CEO VM-unleashed, interviewed on Radio Kent as part of its debate on retail in the county.   Bluewater Shopping Centre has recently been given planning permission for a number of expansions including a leisure development around its lake complex and the arrival of a new Primark flagship. Already under pressure from the regional super-shopping centre local towns are bracing themselves for another blow to their high streets. But is it really time to write off the high street as a shopping destination? Tim Radley expands on his points made in the breakfast show on Radio Kent – 29th…

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Creating a collaborative “Mind-set” to change retail locations

Who’s the real competitor? Who’s the real enemy? The massive changes that have swept across this land and others, the decimation of high streets,  town centres and the taking away of the retail heart of communities, though tragic and physically real are the result of a shift in mind-set. The mind-set and shopping patterns of the customer.   And whilst there are a range of practical measures that must be taken physically on the ground and through legislation to create a viable landscape to rebuild these once flourishing centres, perhaps as much a challenge to this renaissance will be the process…

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