The Renaissance of the High Street?
Exploring the emerging retail paradigm
Thursday 25th June 2015 – 08.30 – 09.30, Happenstance, 1a Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA
This month’s Trajectory Trends Breakfast will explore the issues and opportunities surrounding the future of the UK High Street – extending to reflect on the future shape of our urban centres.
The Future of the High Street has been something of a buzz topic in recent times with luminaries such as Mary Portas and Bill Grimsey writing reports on future directions for retailers and city centres. More recently this thinking has been consolidated into the Digital High Street 2020 report published in March 2015. While we are now past the high water-mark of retail failures experienced during the height of the financial crisis and recession, the wider changes to consumer culture continue to reverberate across the sector.
All are agreed that the days of a simple binary opposition between online and offline retail are long gone, the future is digital and increasingly mobile, forward thinking retailers are harnessing the best of this digital paradigm to enhance and personalise the in-store experience for consumers.
Beyond the experiential aspect of the in-store environment today’s consumers are increasingly packaging shopping with social and leisure opportunities – as reflected in today’s multi-purpose shopping malls. Most encouragingly for retailers are the high numbers of young people who continue to see shopping as a core leisure activity – and who focus their social and leisure activities around the High Street.
City Centres and High Streets are of course constantly evolving with established retailers complemented by new pop-up formats and markets, enabling experimentation with new propositions and offers to the public, but also creating a new dynamism around the retail space itself – encouraging and rewarding frequent exploration.
Looking further ahead we see significant potential in the continued redevelopment of our urban centres, especially around pedestrianisation, greenification and away from reliance on car travel. In this area it serves us well to look abroad for inspirational examples including for example Hamburg in Germany.
As we know, a shift from car travel to a greater emphasis on urban transit schemes, creates new behaviours – with greater flexibility and freedom being key – see the growth of convenience grocery shopping for example.
Finally there are important socio-demographic changes taking place, with inner-city populations on the rise, at the expense of the once-feted suburbs, increasing numbers of single person households, some evidence of older people choosing an active urban retirement rather than the seaside choices of the past, and in London especially a new population encompassing the global elite – ultra high net worth individuals.
There are so many issues and angles to explore, we certainly don’t have all of the answers but please join us for what is sure to be a lively discussion.
To book your place simply mail Michael Brennan @ firstname.lastname@example.org