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ONLINE RETAIL FORMING NEW HIGH ST

With news from struggling electrical retailer Comet of more store closures, the brick & mortar retail landscape seems ever more grim. It’s easy to wonder when the purge will end.

In fact, physical stores, with the many benefits they bring, are a long way from being ‘finished’. Where, how and why they exist is what’s at stake. Online retailers are well aware of the role of physical spaces in a purchase cycle. This week, we learned that online firm Groupon has just opened a physical space in Hong Kong, adding to its store in Singapore, citing shoppers’ desire to be able to go and pick up their purchases.

And Groupon are not alone. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, long rumoured to covet a more physical presence, this week reiterated a strong desire to open Amazon shops. It seems likely that at the end of the current, brutal cycle, there will be a recalibrated High Street, defined by companies who have best complemented their online and physical retail propositions.

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