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Retail Trends: Creative Retail Solutions vs. Footfall Decline

Charlotte Malbasa Client Development Manager at Threefold comments on the latest news and trends within the world of retail.

Charlotte Malbasa
Written by Charlotte Malbasa on 29 Jul, 2019

We’ve seen a huge number of ground-breaking updates in the news recently… Boris Johnson is the new PM; the weather is the warmest it has probably ever been in the UK; there will be two series of Love Island next year.

I know, it’s a big deal.

Now, whatever your thoughts might be on BoJo or Love Island, what is clear is that there’s an increasing demand for change, and this demand is ever-present for shoppers and the traditional associations between shopper and retailer.

Last year, shoppers turned to supermarkets in droves, in a bid to celebrate what was a fantastic summer of sport and great weather across the UK. It was always going to be difficult for retailers to match up with year-on-year sales of alcohol and ice cream without the same scale of events taking place. So, it should come as no surprise that Kantar have announced that grocery sales have declined this year for the first time since June 2016.

All major grocers have recorded a fall in sales, with Morrisons recording the biggest drop as sales fell 2.6% during the 12 weeks to 14th July, despite offering more extensive promotional offerings.

To put this in perspective amidst cooler temperatures, UK shoppers spent £75m less on alcohol and £55m less on ice cream compared to last year.

In contrast to the Big Four, online retailer, Ocado saw an increase of 11.9% in sales while boosting its customer numbers by 6%.

So, what has Ocado done differently?

Well, nothing really. Their online business model has helped to shield the effects of shoppers cutting back on unplanned trips to the supermarket and shoppers are buying more frequently online than last year.

Good news for Ocado.

But how can the Big Four combat the decline in footfall to brick and mortar stores?

Sainsbury’s have an idea, and that idea involves Deliveroo.

Sainsbury’s have recently begun to trial a partnership with Deliveroo, allowing customers to order hot takeaways from their local Sainsbury’s counter via the food delivery platform. There will be nearly 50 Sainsbury’s products available including sourdough pizzas (the dream!), soft drinks, snacks, sides, the works; with a view to add wider products to the range during the trial.

The UK’s food delivery market is currently worth £8.1bn and is expected to grow to £9.8bn by 2021, so it feels like a no-brainer that grocery stores would like to cut themselves a slice.

And it’s not only Sainsbury’s who want to broaden their sourdough pizza reach, Morrisons have hinted that they been holding similar talks with companies in the same bracket as Just Eat and Uber.

By thinking of creative solutions to make stores and products more accessible to shoppers, not only are we on the verge of witnessing a shift in shopper behaviour, we may also be on the verge of witnessing a combative effort from retailers against declining footfall in store.