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As we draw to the beginning of the year, it’s time to take a good look at the state of retail and how things can make progress in 2023. 

In a previous article we took a look at various of the trends and developments within retail that may shape how we engage with stores over the next 12-months. Here are the next ones: 


Sustainable Retail

With the growing awareness and demand for environmentally friendly solutions we are seeing brands and retailers start to embrace the shift towards more sustainable retail experiences.  
As well as the obvious consideration for materials and production processes used in creating a physical store, many brands are also considering the products that they sell and how they are made and brought to market. Circular design considering how products are sourced, manufactured in the production process, delivered and then also recycled, refurbished or replaced after use. 
Inevitably we are seeing a huge growth in the fashion sector for recycled, upcycled and repurposed clothing. This is also being applied to other sectors as well. Consumers are more aware of the recycled and repurposed products available and we are seeing a growing sophistication in this sector as a number of brands are creating categories, whole new stores and new product ranges in response to this demand from consumers.


Selfridges, the leading department store in the UK, has announced that by the end of the decade they are aiming for 45% of all transactions to come from products made from recycled materials or through services like resale repair and refills. For such an established premium retailer this is a real sign of intent and a shift in consumer interest and commercial possibilities into this area of more sustainable retailing.

I expect to see many more retailers embracing sustainable and recycled propositions and product ranges as the engagement from shoppers’ engagement and the potential for profitability allow these more considered solutions to really gain traction in the marketplace.

The sophistication around sustainable retail is now delivering experiences and solutions that do not feel like a compromise while trying to do the right thing. As such it will be easier for even the more skeptical shoppers to embrace the solutions alongside their traditional non-sustainable options that they have purchased for years.


Pop Up stores and temporary retail

Another trend we have seen gaining real traction in recent years is the growing presence of pop-up and temporary stores. 
Traditionally, pop-up stores have been cheap and cheerful environments where many brands sold off excess or End of Line stock. Now we are seeing some incredibly sophisticated retail experiences appearing in spaces for just a few weeks or months. Brands such as Gucci who created a stunning pop-up store east London at the end of 2021, demonstrated how you can create a temporary space that looks and feels like a permanent store. 
Exciting new businesses like Sook, have developed, even during lockdown, offering temporary retail space by the hour. This provides huge scope for start-up businesses and online brands to test an experiment with physical retail at an affordable price. Sook rents space by the hour and have seen a huge take up in their offer, opening more and more stores across the UK and very soon into other countries too. 
The opportunity for brands to try out the physical experience before they invest in their own stores has resulted in a huge interest in Sook. In addition to appealing to small and large retailers alike, Sook has also found traction community and art businesses. This has resulted in a temporary space that provides a broad community service with a range of solutions to local shoppers wherever they are based.


Ian Scott


Redevelopment of city centres

This leads me onto the next trend that I see coming within the retail space. In Paris and some Scandinavian cities they are looking to develop a principle called the 15-Minute City. This idea allows people to live within a city centre with all of the community, work, social and leisure services they need available within a 15-minute walk. 

An opportunity to develop city and town centres to provide the combination of living, work, leisure and play solutions all-in-one space could see the regeneration of town centres. Having been decimated by the impacts of lockdown and Covid many city centres now have empty offices and empty stores right in the heart of the community. An opportunity to redevelop the spaces to provide a meaningful solution enabling city centres to become more vibrant and full of a wider range of solutions that will appeal to many residents.

This will impact on retail as a number of brands may be able to develop a wider range of services. To evidence this we are seeing John Lewis announcing their intention to become a landlord, adapting existing spaces and building new ones to have 100,000 tenants over the next few years. Likewis,e Marks and Spencer's is seeking to redevelop their Marble Arch store in central London to encompass living space as well as their is established retail offer. 

We may see in the next few years a shift in how city centres and large traditional retail buildings operate and deliver services to their audience.


About Ian Scott

With over 20 years of experience within the Retail and POP sectors, Ian can provide a fresh perspective, always with the viewpoint of your shopper and customer in mind. By combining a global understanding of retail, combined with developing innovation and measurement of ROI, he can help you gain clarity on your retail strategy and help deliver actionable and measurable solutions.


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Ian Scott