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More store closures forecast as UK retail switches to the web

27 June 2018 - 15:36 by Sarah Collinson

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British consumers are increasingly keen on safe shopping online, which is why the latest figures from Forrester show that many established high street chains will need to re-think their bricks and mortar strategy going forwards.

Analysts predict that as the number of people taking trips to real world outlets continues to fall, the need to shut stores and focus on e-commerce will become greater.

Retailers which operate across multiple channels should still be able to make their physical shops relevant, provided that they embrace digital solutions as part of the experience, according to report spokesperson Michael O’Grady.

Mothercare is seen as being an exemplar of this modern approach, since two fifths of the sales it makes online are actually arranged through tablet computers that it has set up for customers to use in its stores.

Researchers also made predictions s to how household names will need to take a second look at their bricks and mortar presence over the coming half decade, with clothing chain Next expected to have to shut around a tenth of its total store portfolio if current projections for e-commerce are met.

O’Grady said that this state of affairs could be avoided if it followed in the footsteps of Mothercare and motivated more customers to order online while visiting one of its high street locations.

This idea of interlining different retail channels and making sure that online services are tied to the in-store experience is not a new one. However, it is clear that as footfall at physical stores continues to decline, retailers will need to realign their tactics to match current consumer trends, or risk ultimately substantiating the potentially dire predictions for closures that are doing the rounds at the moment.