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Online to offline trend grows
Published:  28 April, 2017

Fashion brands lead pureplay to omnichannel transition as role of physical store evolves

Fashion brands have led the way in transitioning from pureplay to omnichannel retail, according to new research from Savills, and they account for 29.6 per cent of all online retailers taking physical space in the UK to date. This is followed by the furniture and homeware sector (25.9 per cent) and electrical, DIY and building supplies brands (14.8 per cent), according to the firm’s Retail Revolutions: From Digital to Physical report.

Five pureplay brands made the leap to physical retailing in 2016, says Savills, including Missguided which opened its first store at Westfield Stratford, while Finery and Little Mistress transitioned via department store concessions. Looking ahead, online sales growth in the UK is expected to level out over the next five years, slowing from 11.4 per cent pa between 2012 and 2016 to 4.8 per cent by 2022. However, the firm states that it is not a case of online versus offline, but rather how the two platforms can work together to provide the best ‘total’ retail experience.

Marie Hickey, commercial research director at Savills, said: “When it comes to fashion and homeware, the biggest driver of total retailing continues to be consumer preferences. In particular, the desire to touch and feel a product before purchase remains strong, meaning physical stores play an important role in driving both online and offline sales. Stores can also deliver convenience to customers, a key attraction of shopping online, in the form of click and collect services.”