Introduction

The challenge, and the plan

Retail has arguably been one of the most impacted sectors as a result of the global pandemic. 

The high street has endured one of its toughest trading periods in recent memory. Covid-19 forced all physical shops to close apart from the ‘essentials’: supermarkets, chemists and wine merchants! The sector experienced rapid change that in normal circumstances, although well-predicted, would have evolved over a five-year period rather than in a matter of months. And these changes continue apace.

However, according to our retail experts, none of this should have been a surprise to the sector. Covid-19 simply hastened the changes that were inevitable and had their origins in the rapid growth of out-of-town retail parks and the more recent acceleration of online shopping. 

Even with the easing of restrictions, it has been a tale of two halves with local high streets rather than those in big cities performing better due to the sharp increase in people working from home. Indeed there has been the inevitable South East bubble with the exodus of commuters to suburbs and smaller towns.

The resilience and creativity shown by the high street has been tremendous – reflected not only in long-established businesses making it through the pandemic, but in new shops, cafés, bars and restaurants opening, even in the middle of lockdowns. 

Our report looks at the repurposing opportunities to transform our high streets into more accessible and sustainable communities; highlights the importance of collaboration between landlords and tenants and the pivotal role independents play; celebrates those retailers that have reinvented themselves to stay relevant; discovers how technology is transforming the customer experience; and explores the unlikely renaissance of the retail park. There has never been a better time for a retail reboot.


Podcast: Getting creative on the high street

Following the release of our Retail Reboot report we are joined by experts in retail to talk about how retailers can get creative on the high street in the future, and how they might already be doing it.

Thanks to our guests:

  • Mark Pilkington, Author, "Retail Recovery: How Creative Retailers Are Winning in their Post-Apocalyptic World"
  • Tim Sharp, Global Director of Store Design & Construction, AllSaints
  • Jonathan De Mello, Partner, CWM Retail Consulting
  • Vicky Hernandez, Retail & Real Estate Partner, Royds Withy King

Podcast: The future high street

What's in store for the high streets of the future? We asked experts in the field of retail to take a look into what's working now, and what might give us an indication for where we're going.

Thanks to our guests:

  • Graham Soult, Retail consultant, CannyInsights.com
  • Howard Saunders, The Retail Futurist
  • Dawn Mannis, Director & Co-Founder, The Sampler, independent wine merchant in London
  • Liza Johnson, Founder, The Tea Enthusiasts & Director, Discovering Durham CIC
  • David Paxton, Real estate Partner &  Head of Repurposing, Royds Withy King