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Multi-channel won't negatively impact bricks-and-mortar retail

A study by CBRE has shown that multi-channel retail won't have a negative impact upon traditional bricks-and-mortar retail, Theretailbulletin.com reports.

If anything, investment in multi-channel retailing will help boost traffic into physical shops. That was the opinion of the 50 global retailers surveyed by CBRE, who boast a combined total of 32,000 stores.

They were asked about their thoughts on the impact multi-channel retail (i.e. being able to make purchases via apps, websites or in store) has had and how they've benefited financially from it. They were also asked for their opinions on the future of the traditional store, particularly within multi-channel retail.

The results showed that 63 per cent believe that by 2015, their retail operation will have become a multi-channel business - despite 70 per cent calling themselves as primarily bricks-and-mortar operations. On average, the retailers surveyed said online transactions accounted for five per cent of their overall sales, but predicted this would double over the next two years. To support this, 77 per cent will create a mobile app or mobile-friendly website.

Thanks to this multi-channel approach, the need for shop space will rise too and many respondents talked about opening more stores in 'small towns'. Of course setting up a new store will require a big investment, not to mention the adoption of secure cash processes - but if used in conjunction with a strong online presence, it will likely be a worthwhile one.

CBRE's head of cross border retail for EMEA, Peter Gold, shared his thoughts on the results: "Our message to the retail and real estate industry is don't panic. In reality, multi-channel is encouraging shoppers to visit stories and is driving additional business to retailers.

"... the overall retail pie is getting bigger and it is critical for retailers and landlords alike to embrace multi-channel, understand that it does not have to be expensive and secure a greater slice of the market," he added, cited by Shopping-centre.co.uk.

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