It is no secret retailers face a challenging environment on the high street. The national news is frequently awash with stories of store closures and profit warnings, with huge household names including John Lewis, LK Bennett and House of Fraser significantly affected.
The retail sector’s most recent bellwether event, Christmas, offered little respite. Instead, it portrayed a mixed picture. Aldi saw like-for-like sales over the festive period increase 10 per cent, but those fortunes were not mirrored by Mothercare, which saw like-for-like fall 11.4 per cent. Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams all saw sales over the Christmas period fall from the year before – and HMV fell into administration for the second time in six years.
Often, the rise of online giants like Amazon is blamed for the woes of bricks and mortar retailers on the high street. The success of these disruptors has led to growing numbers of consumers shopping online, lured in by convenience, lower prices and a more personalised experience. Yet while traditional retailers face a testing environment, those decrying the ‘death’ of retail and our high streets will not necessarily be proved right.
Across the retail sector, greater attention is being given to digital transformation and the possibilities it can bring. A recent survey by IT Pro revealed that 66 per cent of retailers considered digital transformation to be crucial. These attitudes suggest many bricks and mortar retailers are poised to make a step change and adopt technology that can help transform their fortunes. Those that do will find themselves best equipped to fight back against the crisis on the high street.
Digital transformation – where to start?
As high street retailers try to turn the tide against a startling concoction of falling profits and store closures, innovative tech offers a lifeline. Increasingly, retail executives look towards digital transformation

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