Retail design work set to increase

Design groups stand to benefit from increased competition between major food retailers in the next millennium, according to the latest industry forecast from Verdict Research.

The document predicts that increased market saturation, combined with public pressure for lower margins and the arrival of discount US retailer Wal-Mart, will force some retailers out of business or into mergers.

“Food retailers will be more segmented than ever before,” says Verdict chairman Richard Hyman. While a small number of major companies will dominate in terms of sheer scale, he predicts remaining players will aim to differentiate themselves as much as possible. “They will have to rely on having an appropriate ambienceä and that’s where design comes in,” he says.

According to Verdict, the UK market has seen a 25 per cent increase in capacity over the past decade. Verdict maintains that a Government u-turn on planning restrictions, which would allow Wal-Mart to build large stores, is unlikely.

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