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Things to look out for in 2019

Wednesday 19 December 2018 Data Insight & AnalyticsDemographic DataShopping Behaviour

Alex McCulloch's picture
By Alex McCulloch

With the Christmas break fast approaching and promising (possibly too much) food, drink and merriment, we thought we would go one step further and look ahead to 2019. We’ve put our heads together to try and see some key trends to look out for in 2019, from the certain to the spurious, here’s our thoughts…


The changing face of shopping locations:

  • Mixed-use grows in traditional retail locations as ‘big’ retail spaces such as department stores continue to struggle. Leisure operators are a key part of this given their willingness to take traditionally hard-to-let ‘off-pitch’ space
  • Food Market halls abound in every forgotten urban nook and cranny until November 2019 when we are desperate for a sit-down restaurant with an old-fashioned queuing system and maitre’d
  • January will be tough with some big-name failures and heavy losses triggering media uproar. The government may finally look up from Brexit to see that the largest employment sector in the country is deeply struggling and take some action. What will be lost in the hyperbole is a cold look at those who are struggling and the question ‘what was the point of x?’ Perhaps from the ashes we see some true innovation in the sector
  • Changing landlord/occupier relationships:
    • Landlords begin to push back against CVA’s and bullying tactics from retailers whilst also starting to take risks and try new things
    • Flexible lease terms adopted to reflect the mix of operators within a centre, the role of the store in fulfilling online orders and the importance of independent brands in place-making
  • Sports Direct in ascendancy. Having sold Newcastle United, Mike Ashley is free to plough more of his cash into the high street, with Debenhams looking the most likely target in light of recent comments
  • Expect Amazon to do something dramatic, which everyone will get very excited about but won’t fundamentally be different from what is present today, (e.g. opening 100+ convenience stores)


Growing a brand:

  • More specialist formats in convenient locations/key hubs i.e. WH Smith dedicated book shop format in London Bridge, Fortnum and Mason café and Click & Collect hubs
  • Beauty brands go it alone as department stores continue to struggle and they can control their brand story
  • The continued rise in subscription services, going beyond categories typically associated with this (media, health & beauty etc) and into 'new' categories (fashion, homeware)
  • Experiential retail will continue to be paramount. New technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) are key to enticing shoppers to physical stores, novelty may start to give way to actual usefulness
  • More focus on ethical initiatives and sustainability as a selling point. A lot of retailers are starting to do it, will landlords follow suit?


Convenient shopping:

  • Retailers who continue to make online/in-store cross-shopping a fluid process will prosper. Strong examples include (free) same-day Click & Collect and the ability to browse, order and collect online inventories in-store
  • The store is recognised openly by retailers as a platform for engagement not a sales channel
  • Convenience becomes convenient. Although Etefy has gone under, similar services with a more workable business model will flourish next year
  • Attack of the Drones. On-going trials appear successful, so Drones may become the new Deliveroo for landlords when thinking of their relationships with occupiers, or delivery services become the new click & collect (tech reinvents the courier)
  • The impatient shopper. At a centre level, we will see a continued rise in efficient quick-drop-in trips


And Finally:

A word from Adam Young, who, giddy with Christmas spirit (or Eggnog), lays out a dystopian future that awaits us...

The year is 2019. After John Lewis’ fall in profits this year, its struggles continue. Following a No Deal Brexit, Waitrose is unable to import Quinoa and Avocados to sate the middle classes. The saviour of the high street, Mike Ashley rides to the rescue following a CVA, renaming the business Mike Ashley and Partners and realising his vision for a Harrods on every high street. Cost cutting means the Christmas advert is cancelled ruining the festive period for millions of households.

Rents in Grimsby go through the roof, fuelled by a booming fishing economy as the UK regains control of its waters. As a result, the unhealthiest high street in the UK becomes the most expensive, displacing New Bond Street.

For once we're hoping Adam's got this one wrong!


2019's product to watch? ... Pianos


With thanks to Joe Oxley, Clare Nutter, Victoria Roche, Camilla Strider, Adam Young, Laura Symes and Frances Goodfellow.


If you would like to talk to us about your 2019 plans, please get in touch.

With the Christmas break fast approaching and promising (possibly too much) food, drink and merriment, we thought we would go one step further and look ahead to 2019.

Things to look out for in 2019