NEW YORK, United States — For the latest in our series of #BoFLIVE events, Executive Editor Lauren Sherman connected with BoF correspondents Zoe Suen, Tamison O’Connor and Cathaleen Chen to reflect on what’s next for retail as brick-mortar stores from China to Europe to the US resume operations.
As lockdown measures begin to ease across the globe, many brands are looking to China for signs of recovery, with predictions of “revenge buying” spurring cautious optimism among business owners. China’s 618 shopping festival and adoption of vouchers have stimulated consumption in the post-pandemic recovery period.
“The level of caution is a lot higher in Beijing, but in other cities people are really trying to get back to normal life,” said Suen.
However, in the US and the UK, the economic fallout of the pandemic paints a slightly different picture for the future of retail, where bankruptcy filings are on the rise and the financial challenges faced by stores pre-Covid-19 have been exacerbated. Companies are now doubling down on their e-commerce offering as a means of attracting consumers, many of whom remain cautious about visiting shops.
“I think the British high street is going to look very different over the next few months and possibly a couple of years,” O’Connor said. “This very traditional approach to retail that a lot of British brands have stuck to is not working anymore… there will probably be some consolidation and there will have to be some innovation as well.”
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