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More retailers planning to open physical stores than close them says report

Physical stores are still key to retail companies, with a majority planning to open new branches this year according to a new report.

Location intelligence company Geoblink has published The Future of Retail Intelligence 2019, based on the analysis of survey responses from more than 600 retail professionals in the UK, US, and Spain. The objective of the research was to monitor the state of the industry and identify the most prominent trends for the next year.

An empty shop unit
An empty shop unit

While 46 per cent of retailers were closing stores in 2018, 68 per cent were planning to open new stores in 2019. The contradictory figures are due to stores being in the wrong location, a reason given by 37 per cent of participants for branch closures; 87 per cent said that store location is a priority issue for their business.

More than half of respondents (56 per cent) said that physical stores were their most effective sales channel in 2018, although 65 per cent conceded that they do feel threatened by online spending and 72 per cent have opened their own online stores.

Retailers increasingly value data, to help them understand market conditions and to develop customer-driven strategies. Internal sales data (79 per cent). In-store shopper behavioural data (65 per cent), and data such as customer address and loyalty card information (55 per cent) are the most valuable for evaluating performance.

Transactional data (79 per cent), sociodemographic data (71 per cent), and footfall (57 per cent) are most valued to measure external market conditions.

“The results of this report reveal that the retail industry is at a tipping point,” says Geoblink founder and CEO Jaime Laulhé. “It is clear that the retailers who make it to the other side will be the ones who are not only capable of collecting data but also understanding what to do with it. Those who glean the most insight as a result of this kind of meaningful analysis will become the retailers of the future.”

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