'We could see the death of the department store': Retailers must stop living in the past to save the future of the high street

Coronavirus didn't kill bricks-and-mortar, lack of imagination did, but a new wave of industry innovators, indie beauty retailers and community-focused concepts are fighting back

Debenhams' 2019 Christmas campaign

The collapse of Debenhams and Topshop owner Arcadia has put nearly 25,000 jobs at risk and triggered fears for the future of Britain's high streets. But the outlook of bricks-and-mortar is not all bleak, according to retail experts, who say companies need to end nostalgic sentiment and embrace the experience economy to create thriving town centres.

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly changed how consumers purchase beauty products, switching from counters to e-commerce. Consultancy firm Mckinsey estimates that internationally online beauty shopping will grow by 20 to 30% in 2020. Sadly, the closure of non-essential stores has contributed to the loss of more than 158,000 jobs in UK retail this year (excluding Arcadia), reported the Centre of Retail Research.

But Britain's bricks-and-mortar has been . . .

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