Not surprisingly, the economic downturn will be a big influence on which retail store formats will prosper and which will fade over the next few years, according to retail professionals that took part in the, "Retail Formats in Transition," survey. However, consumer experience trends may trump economic imperatives in driving where consumers choose to shop, and the design of retail spaces to come.
As the economy struggles to get back in shape, what shape might new stores take? Will small store formats, such as Tesco's new, Fresh & Easy grocery stores, OfficeMax's Mini Marts and the just announced, Best Buy Mobile stores, take hold? Or will big box discounters continue to gain more ground? These are some of the essential questions explored in a recently released RetailWire.com/Dechert-Hampe report, "Retail Formats in Transition." It is the first of a series of studies entitled, "Retail:Next."
Economic trends will be a big influence on which retail store formats will prosper and which will fade over the next few years, according to retail professionals. However, tight budgets will not be the only factor, and perhaps not even the most important influence on the types of stores retailers build. In fact, consumer hankerings for convenience, attentive customer service and pleasant shopping environments may trump economic imperatives in driving where consumers choose to shop, and the design of future retail spaces. Here are some highlights of findings from the survey:
- Hope for overall growth: Despite the current gloom, just over half of all respondents think the industry will experience modest or better growth over the next three years. And interestingly, retailers were the most optimistic group, with 65 percent saying they expect, "moderate growth," as compared to only 45 percent of manufacturers who felt that way.
- Small, nearby and easy on the pocketbook: Respondents forecast that the number of small format grocery and neighborhood markets, along with extreme discount/dollar stores, will increase sharply over the next three years, driven by such key factors as, "value for money," convenient locations, and a pleasant shopping experience.
- Retailers will not skimp on innovation: Success will come to those retailers who create new and different formats. The selection of different retail formats available to consumers will expand, according to 46 percent of survey respondents.
- Consumer experience will be the watchword: In another indication that satisfying consumer wants and needs will be a big determinate in retail format design, the most successful retail concepts were predicted to be quick/fresh small format grocery, followed by experiential stores, such as the Apple Stores, and then mission focused stores, which could be seen to be exemplified in OfficeMax's new Mini Mart concept.
An Executive Summary of the RETAIL:NEXT: Retail Formats in Transition study, can be downloaded at: www.retailwire.com/Downloads/RetailFormats_ExecSum.pdf.
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