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Editor's comment: 2014 has been a good year for retail design

2014 has been a busy year for the retail design industry, one which has seen the culmination of big projects, the commissioning of new ones, changing consumer habits and accelerated programmes to introduce new store formats.

There have been paradoxical trends. On one hand we have seen the significant growth in the number of truly international store formats, such as the Adidas Homecourt stores that have sprung up everywhere from Beijing to Bluewater; on the other we have seen increased localism, with consumer demand for authenticity and personal service, inform the way stores are designed.

As well as benefitting start-ups and pop-ups this local trend led Tesco, the UK’s troubled supermarket giant, to confirm that it will stop concentrating on the development of new large stores. Smaller units will now be the focus of growth, with large stores revamped at a faster rate than previously. The Co-Operative Group also announced that it would focus on smaller stores.

And of course it is impossible to ignore the impact of digital channels on the store environment. These are now being adopted widely by consumers – often to reinforce elements of service and knowledge apparent elsewhere.

All of these trends have seen the design industry become increasingly busy, as has a steady stream of creative store formats for retailers new and established.

There is no sign of this demand coming to a halt. And, as the clock ticks down to Retail Design Expo in March 2015, the whole sector is getting behind the biggest UK event for the retail design sector.

The level of backing that it, along with Retail Design World, has received reinforces the point that the UK is still firmly at the heart of the retail design industry. It may be an international industry, with a talented workforce drawn from around the world, but retail design developed to its present state in the UK.

It looks set to remain there.