Publications

- April 1, 2014: Vol. 8, Number 4

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Friend or foe? The rising trend to online retail cuts both ways, for everyone

by Jose Pellicer and Ben Lonsdale

Technology has been a constant driver of change within the retail sector. The mass adoption of the car in the 1950s transformed the sector, leading to the previously alien concept of out-of-town retail. However, it is the mass adoption of the Internet and the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices that may drive the most fundamental evolution in the sector — a shift to virtual stores from those built of bricks and mortar.

Given the strong growth of online retail, many commentators have heralded the death of the High Street. It is true that the growth of online retail has ushered in a new retail paradigm, one in which retailers need fewer stores to reach their catchment. However, we believe that commercial real estate is set to benefit from growth in online retail, rather than online fuelling its demise. The future of retail is likely to be “bricks and clicks” rather than a complete shift online, while the logistics sector is set to benefit from retailers promis

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