Design challenge for retailers

Further changes to the business and social structure within the UK mean the country’s retail market is likely to undergo a fundamental shift over the next five years, according to the latest report from retail research specialist Verdict.

Store design will play a key role as shops aim to increase their appeal to older shoppers. “Retailers have traditionally focused disproportionate attention on the young and do not serve more mature consumers well,” says the report, Verdict forecasts UK retailing 2004. The population is generally ageing, with a far greater proportion making up the “grey market”.

Verdict chairman Richard Hyman says, “I think this has big implications for design. There’s a need to make shops more pleasurable and relaxing.”

Branding, too, will be key, says the report. Lower demand for essential or basic durable goods is predicted to create a need for aspirational and desirable brands, sold in vibrant environments, if retailers are to maintain the levels of sales they desire by replacement sales.

Online shopping is expected to have achieved a 3 per cent share of the retail market by 2004 according to the report.

Verdict predicts Internet sales will essentially take business away from conventional stores.

The company predicts that scale, for instance, in ability to promptly deliver goods ordered, will become increasingly important and that individual brands will develop a broad digital media presence.

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