Prime retail locations proving difficult to find

It is becoming increasingly difficult to find prime retail locations in shopping centres and on high streets, according to a recent report from Retail Week.

The Shop Report 2014 was released this week and provides an insight into the challenges facing retailers across the UK. The report found that retailers are having trouble finding prime stores in prime locations, with many franchises now looking to open less, but larger stores.

It was also revealed that 79% of retailers think that store design is becoming an increasingly important part of a retailers commercial strength, with 84% of shoppers saying consumer expectations of shop interiors is rising.

Commenting on the findings, John Ryan, Stores Editor at Retail Week, said: “Understanding what shoppers want is at the heart of any retail proposition. Fail in that respect and an enterprise is doomed to fail from the outset.”

It wasn’t only design that was found to be important, but the use of in-store technology as well. Only 28% of shoppers said that in-store tech was not important to them, while 38% of retailers said that changes in shopper habits was one of their most significant challenges.

Earlier this year we looked at ways that retailers can improve customer engagement, including the use of technology to boost footfall.

The Managing Director of Retail and Hospitality at global fit out company ISG, Darren Hill, said: “There is a noticeable air of optimism in this brave new world, retailers are acknowledging and responding to grow consumer expectations, embracing technology and focusing on enhancing customer experience.”

Although the report highlights the need for stores to look and feel appealing, as well as incorporating new technology, Retail Week’s Ryan thinks that many stores are already adapting to these changes in consumer habits.

“Shoppers are the winners in this equation. They are now in a position where they have multiple shopping options; they have better shops and are seeing the centres of major towns and cities being regenerated.”

It is clear that some retailers have already met these needs, but the report also found that 65% of shoppers hadn’t noticed any retail store design overhauls in recent years, showing that some shops could definitely benefit from a design and brand update.

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