Contrary to recent headlines, the recent ONS figures highlight the UK high street is far from dead. In fact, the figures show that January 2019 has broadly returned to a strong growth rate of 4.2% – the highest since December 2016.
Not only are retailers are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but they’re taking important steps to ensure they beat the high street blues.
What might have comes as a surprise today is that online sales as a total of all retailing decreased to 18.8% in January, down from the 19.8% in December 2018. Evidently, the line between online and offline retail is becoming increasingly blurred. Ultimately, both online and in-store sales are important revenue streams for retailers today. And it’s the retailers who focus on an omnichannel approach across in-store and online that are reaping the rewards. Take JD Sport and Missguided. In last year’s tumultuous market conditions, both retailers were able to blend their online and physical presence well – boosting online sales while also opening new physical stores.
Frankly, UK retail is in the middle of a reinvention whereby the fittest, who are adapting to new consumer preferences, are the ones surviving and even thriving. These retailers have acknowledged that consumers will spend wherever they get the best combination of choice, convenience, price, and experience – and that’s exactly what they’re giving them.
By placing customer experience at the centre of their operations, certain retailers like Boohoo – who reported strong growth against the odds in late 2018 – are continuing to grow in this period of uncertainty. Those investing in technology for consumer targeting, effective personalisation, robust operations and strong loyalty management will continue to see more revenue and margin growth. It’s those who ignore the consumer journey that will, and already are, getting left behind.”