TCS Retail Sector Update – August
Retail footfall fell by 0.8% in July, following a 0.9% fall in June. Although high street footfall rose 0.3%, a 3.4% drop in people visiting shopping centres and a 0.5% drop in retail parks resulted in the overall decline. This was partly down to the hot and dry weather, with consumers opting to enjoy the outdoors instead.
Online retail sales were up 16.8% in the first half of 2018 – the highest average H1 year-on-year growth since 2011.
Debenhams is set to open an in-store gym in partnership with Sweat! at its department store in Sutton. This is part of a wider strategy to deliver ‘social shopping’, and will help to drive footfall from Sweat!’s predominantly 18-33 female membership base. Debenhams will open a further two gyms in Manchester and Bristol stores next year.
Elsewhere, L’Oréal have partnered with Facebook to deliver augmented reality (AR) experiences for users via the camera app. The collaboration will enable users to “try on” lipstick, eye shadow and other types of make up from L’Oréal’s wide portfolio of brands. The French cosmetics company is also in talks with Instagram and an unnamed partner in China (where Facebook is banned) to roll out similar capabilities.
A report by the joint owners of Milton Keynes-based Centre:mk has outlined three future trends of bricks and mortar shopping. It predicts that consumers will increasingly expect communal experiences and social interactions when visiting shopping destinations. It also forecasts that the ethical behaviour of brands will continue to influence retail decisions. The report finally emphasises the importance of customer service, outlining that confident staff members with detailed product knowledge will be key in driving brand loyalty.
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