About 14 shops are closing every day as UK High Streets face their toughest trading climate in five years, according to accountancy firm PwC. A net 1,123 stores disappeared from Britain’s top 500 high streets in the first six months of the year, according to the report.
In the wake of John Lewis’ financial results, and the news from this week that M&S that the high street darling’s financials have dipped too, we can see that retailers are facing a perfect storm of pressures as consumers rein in their spending and do more of their shopping online.
Anil Gandharve, Senior Vice President and Head of Retail, CPG & Manufacturing, Mindtree made the following comment.
“The PwC report regarding the struggles facing the UK high streets is evidence of the changing habits of consumers. It’s sad to see 14 shops disappearing from the UK high street each day but it does highlight stores as bearers of significant cost, which inevitably drives focus to improving efficiencies. Businesses need to reimagine the high street store to better align with consumer expectations. Stores should be transformed into experience centers that can deliver customised experiences efficiently and drive value from data analytics. Better use of technology could also help to avoid loss of inventory, which is one of the main concerns in physical retail. The use of artificial intelligence can help against poor demand planning loss, self-checkout loss, basked based loss and non-scanning loss.
Modern consumers are influenced by a variety of factors, including personalisation, price and quality of service. High street stores must adapt from antiquated processes and provide a more valuable service in line with these new expectations of the customer experience.”
As an FYI, Mindtree is a global technology consulting and services company, helping Global 2000 corporations marry scale with agility to achieve competitive advantage. “Born digital” in 1999, more than 340 enterprise clients, such as AVIS and Microsoft, rely on their deep domain knowledge to break down silos, make sense of digital complexity and bring new initiatives to market faster. They enable IT to move at the speed of business, leveraging emerging technologies and the efficiencies of Continuous Delivery to spur business innovation.