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Published
Oct 12, 2021
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Most mid-market UK retailers to invest in physical stores - RSM report

Published
Oct 12, 2021

Despite the UK’s tough physical retail environment, it seems mid-market retailers are mostly set to invest in more stores, even with the business rates burden, new research from accounting group RSM reveals.


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Some 58% of physical retailers plan to increase their store footprint despite 34% of them saying that business rates are the biggest barrier to remaining competitive.

RSM’s What’s in Store? survey, which spoke to 250 retail executives, found those mid-market retailers are looking to invest in their physical stores in the next two years – increasing store space and enhancing the in-store customer experience.  

However, the shift in focus to online continues and the vast majority of retailers are also looking to enhance their online offering with 83% and 78% looking to increase their respective volume and range of products online.

To support this move, 60% of retailers will also increase warehousing in the next 12 months, although 24% say the cost of warehousing and the availability of it (23%) are further barriers to remaining competitive.

Jacqui Baker, head of retail at RSM UK, said: “When we see household names disappear for good, or go solely online, people start questioning the relevance of the high street in an increasingly digital world. However, mid-market retailers are planning to invest in more stores – evolving the high street and offering consumers a different, more enhanced shopping experience”.  

Kelly Boorman, head of construction at RSM UK, added: ‘To meet the growing needs of the online market, there is acute demand for warehouse space. This is not only fuelling rent inflation and supply shortages; but it’s driving a boom in construction as the UK plays catch-up to this accelerated shift in consumer behaviour.

"However, widespread material and skills shortages across the construction sector, combined with challenges around planning, are slowing down progress, which could create a longer-term barrier to growth for retailers.”

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