The Future Coalition of the High Street
Author: Jasmine Waters
Good news looks to be right around the corner as physical retail heads towards a mid-year boom following eventual non-essential reopening. Despite this, our high streets feel different. It’s difficult to properly understand why, but consumers are certainly shopping with an itemised agenda, only entering where they need to. Experts speaking to Drapers call for a united high street coalition, arguing in order to win back the type of local shopping that once was, brands need to think big.
What is the high street facing?
According to reports, 26% of online retailers declare being in distress, with a large percentage being within the fashion industry. It’s safe to say that e-commerce isn’t quite the solid selling foundation many may expect it to be, particularly given the dramatic increase in this figure and online’s nimble nature. In the race to save what’s left on retail, we cannot rely on the uniquely digital strategy we’ve relied on for most of 2020. We now know that online sales cannot fully replicate the success many fashion retailers had before, with many relying on in-person contact and physical atmosphere. With a balance needing to be found, the question of industries working together to support the greater good is becoming an increasingly popular solution.
Are we better off together?
The reasons the public will want to head back to the high street, including accessible dining, outdoor and pedestrian areas and a heavy interest in arts and culture will need to be ever-present. The overall shift now needs to be moved from transactional to experiential, with industries transforming themselves in partnership. If this can successfully happen, it promises a robust ecosystem in which retail can thrive once again. In addition to this, brands could individually buy themselves time while investors generate increasing amounts of enthusiasm. Fashion brands that are typically more agile are small and independent, with experts citing that an injection of investor cash could prove to be invaluable. If financial trouble continues to be an issues, some may choose to look to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), or a fast-tracked version over a shorter timeline. As we’ve touched on before, landlords are looking to be increasingly flexible while operates search for new spaces, although may be expected to react if they feel compromised.
Regardless, the collective high street stance aims to return to ‘business as usual’ as soon as feasibly possible. In order to create opportunity, individuals must come together and be willing to share expertise, along with involving outside retailers, businesses and councils. To regain a kingdom united by fashion, taking the time to make the ecosystem it needs is essential.
Photo source: Gettyimages