Branding and design will avoid retail bust

Branding and design expertise will be pivotal to the success of UK retail clients over the next five years to ensure the predicted market boom doesn’t mirror the 1980s and turn to bust.

A new report from Verdict Research says the change in government, together with the Tory legacy of a recovering housing market and tax cuts, will enable retailers to benefit from a nationwide feel-good factor. It predicts a real growth in consumer spending of 3.5 per cent this year, slowing to 2.9 per cent in 1998.

But heavy brand investment will be at the heart of the retail strategy, say observers, because key spenders will be older groups who have ridden the recession and demand value for money.

“In the past six months retail business has exploded. There is definitely new confidence there,” says David Dalziel, creative director of retail branding specialist Dalziel & Pow.

He cites the Daisy and Tom children’s shop chain, designed by Dalziel & Pow, which will launch in July and will contain moving carousels and giant clock towers.

“That just wouldn’t have happened two years ago. But there’s also a real feeling that no one wants to go back to the mistakes of ten years ago. The branding and image has to be right,” he says.

“There’s no room anymore for designer bullshit,” agrees Crabtree Hall/Plan Créatif creative partner Massimo Brooks. Its client Tesco launches its 9300m2 Extra megastore in June featuring giant penguins and cows to flagpost food sections.

“Tesco was very definite about what it wanted. [The store] is a lot more aggressive about branding as it moves into areas like banking where it hasn’t competed before.

Clients are a lot more switched on now and the design consultancies will have to be too,” Brooks adds.

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