It’s been a month of bad news retail stories – first the plight of House of Fraser then jewellery giant Pandora’s turbulent announcements. If you believe the headlines one might think that the retail apocalypse is nigh! But then of course those of us who work in the retail sector know better.
A recent Bloomberg opinion piece summarises House of Fraser’s current troubles as ‘what happens after years of underinvestment’. While the Retail Jeweller magazine sums up Pandora’s challenges as a result of the theory of gravity – ‘whatever goes up, must come down’ – although, more seriously, it then touches on the questions raised about Pandora’s business model in the UK.
One of my favourite anti-apocolyptic retail thought leaders is the American Steve Dennis. In a recent Forbes article he writes:
It’s easy to pronounce the death of physical retail. But then you have to explain the thousands of new stores that are opening and the dozens of overwhelmingly brick-and- mortar-centric brands that are thriving.
He goes on to say:
Struggling brands need to adopt a culture of experimentation and be willing to be retail radicals. Struggling brands need to stop the nonsense about channels and realize it’s all just commerce, and that the customer is the ultimate channel. Struggling brands need to learn to treat different customers differently. And struggling brands need to hurry. Time is not on their side.
Sadly what we are witnessing at House of Fraser (and Pandora to a certain extent) is a retail reality that many retailers and brands are facing today. But it is not the reality for all. And it’s most certainly not the reality for our clients who understand the importance of the customer journey and the need to invest in it.
Our clients are embracing this period of change in retail as an opportunity to redefine the shopping experience. And we are proud to be working with them on their retail branding and in-store brand experiences. And we are thrilled to see the results and recognition they are achieving:
Bancone is a worthy victor in the capital’s unpredictable hospitality Hunger Games, Jimi Famurerwa, Evening Standard
Clogau’s first new concept store was shortlisted for Store Design of the Year at the 2018 UK Jewellery Awards
The first rebranded store at intu Lakeside opened to rave reviews on instagram and the intu shopping centre management team