Physical stores and locations have always been the backbone of the retail industry. Whether on high streets, city / town centres or shopping malls – physical retail stores have been under significant pressure recently. In this episode, retail influencer, Andrew Busby, is exploring how to reinvigorate our high streets.

On this episode, you’ll hear more about:

  • Which are the biggest challenges facing retailers.
  • The one important element about retail space and jobs that no-one talks about.
  • Why some stores and brands are doing well and why some aren’t.

Introducing Andrew Busby

Andrew BusbyAndrew is a retail analyst and commentator. In fact, he’s one of the top 20 global retail influencers, as judged by Vend.

He’s the founder and CEO of Retail Reflections. A prolific writer and speaker, he’s regularly writing for Forbes where he is documenting the latest retail industry developments – and sharing his point of view.

He is an IBM Social Commerce Futurist and is a founder or contributor to several retail advisory boards.

Find Andrew on Twitter – @andrewbusby

Or you can find him on LinkedIn.

Reinvigorating our high streets

It’s no secret that high streets have been having a tough time recently.

The press and social media are regularly highlighting some of the biggest challenges. In fact, the list of challenges facing physical stores is huge, including:

  • The rise of online trading.
  • The dominance of Amazon in whatever category you’re talking about.
  • Premises rents.
  • Taxation and business rates.
  • Increasing staff wages (through schemes like the National Living Wage).
  • Online competitors.
  • Price discounting.
  • Reducing footfall.
  • Having to build presence in multiple challenges.
  • Theft and violence towards staff.
  • Need for experiential retail.

Why is retail a special industry

Andrew Busby makes an excellent point in this episode. He observes that we all have emotional links to our favourite retailers in the way that we don’t with other brands. For example, he points out that we don’t have that same relationship or fondness of a gas supplier, an electricity board or a petrol station.

It’s an important point to note which means that the whole retail industry does make good headlines, particularly if it is a widely popular retailer that is struggling. Journalists know this makes a good story that lots of people want to read – and they genuinely do!

The other element to consider is that it is one of the few industries where people working in or supplying the industry are also their customers too. Everyone has some “skin in the game” when it comes to retail.

The interesting thing about space and jobs that no-one talks about

We’re always talking about the decline in the amount of retail space. We’re always talking about how shops closing means fewer retail jobs exit.

True, but it’s only half a story.

In this episode, I hint at the other half of the story. Essentially, we’re seeing more retail space be opened every day. Big shed warehouses are on the rise and could be considered retail space as the products are being picked for retail consumers. These warehouses add a lot of retail space but also employ a lot of people whose purpose is to pick products for consumers and serve customers in the best way. We’re seeing huge surges in the number of delivery drivers needed for our insatiable demand for instant online orders.

So, perhaps, the big argument of lost space and jobs is maybe also an anti-climax if the facts showed that retail space is changing and that retail jobs are changing. Maybe there is a net-net effect?

Why are some store doing well and others not?

One word answers this one as you’ll hear on the show…


You’ve probably heard it before. In fact, I spoke with George MacDonald about this on the show. Plus, it’s also a topic that I’ve also covered in previous episodes.

So, you will definitely want to check out episode 23 and 24 with George MacDonald, Executive Editor of Retail Week. Together, we explore what’s in store for retail.

You’ll also definitely want to listen in to episode 25 too; become a relevant retailer.

Read more from Andrew Busby

If you enjoyed this, you should check out some of Andrew’s articles on Forbes, including these 3 which were topical based on the conversation in this episode:

  1. Arcadia And An Austin Allegro Have More In Common Than You Might Think
  2. Why The Demise Of Arcadia Is Bad News For All Of Us
  3. You May Have Won My Mind, Amazon, But Not My Heart

Subscribe and return for part 2

I’m going to be finishing my conversation with Andrew Busby next week on the Retail Transformation Show. Please hit subscribe now in your favourite podcast player (or at the top of this page) to ensure that you don’t miss it. New episodes of the Retail Transformation Show come out every Monday – so put it in your diary.


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