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Editor's blog: The business of design is clear - especially on retail balance sheets

The business of retail design

This year’s Euroshop exhibition in Dusseldorf was brimming with confidence, especially in the halls where retail design agencies and shopfitters were showing their wares. And that confidence was infectious, especially when the exhibitors told how their retail clients are increasing investment in store environments.

Whether they are introducing new stores or refurbishing old ones after a period of mending and making do, retailers around the world have acknowledged that the time is right to give customers something new and better. Nobody wants to be caught with tired store environments just as the economy starts improving after half a decade in the doldrums, and just as omnichannel retailing strategies change the roles that shops play in the shopping process.

And this renewed commitment to design reinforces the message that creating better stores is a serious and mature business. Retailers don’t spend money just to look good – if they spend good money on design it has to pay for itself. And how.

Our opening interviews feature brands that could hardly be more different – Adidas and Ted Baker. Yet both of these successful brands have a huge commitment to investing in effective design. Both have reaped the rewards and expect to continue doing so.

While casual observers may perceive design as a fashionable gloss that just makes stores look good, designers and their clients know there is far more to it than that. Good design makes the entire retail process more efficient, more attractive to shoppers and more profitable. It gives results that can be measured and attributed.

So expect lots of change. There will be some exciting and innovative new designs hitting the streets – and the pages of Retail Design World – in the next few months.