Survival of the fittest.
We are in the middle of a modern industrial revolution. You might not realise it, but we are.
|New ways of shopping|
It is no less disruptive than the age of steam, weaving looms and mechanisation. The difference is you just can’t see it happening around you and nobody seems to care about the hundreds of thousands of job losses. It’s almost imperceptible.
Yes, I’m talking about High Street Retail and Services. But what’s the threat you might ask? Well, it’s the web itself if retail does not adapt to it. If retail embraces it, then the web will be its saviour.
I’ve just re-read an article by the UK Centre for Retail Research (http://www.retailresearch.org/retail2018.php) predicting what will happen between 2013 and 2018 to high street retail. We’re now half way through that time frame.
In the article, they said that store numbers would fall from around 280,000 to 220,000 by 2018 in the UK, along with job losses of 100’s of thousands of people.
And it said that on-line retail would increase from 12.7% to 21.5%. It also stated that ‘UK retailing has the highest proportion of on-line retail sales’ in the world, and that ‘Retailers with a strong web offering need just 70 high street stores to create a national presence compared to 250 in the mid 2000’s’.
This means that a proportion of town centres will lose more than 27,000 stores (that’s more than 5,000 a year). These will be predominantly in disadvantaged areas – they stated Wales, the North and the Midlands.
Looking at the web, it seems that they may be right. In 2012 more than 7,000 stores closed (approximately 20 per day) and in 2014 more than 5,800 stores closed (16 stores a day). It is estimated that there are more than 50,000 retail units vacant in shops and leisure.
In Part 2 we look at why some businesses are more impacted by this than others.