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Online ‘boosts’ sales at UK physical stores says report

How click and collect is keeping brick and mortar retail value high

Brick & mortar stores aren’t done for quite yet. Despite online shopping accounting for 15% of all retail sales, the value of physical stores has not diminished, according British Land and Verdict.

Some 89% of all UK retail sales “touched” a physical store last year, the report claims.

The property company and retail research agency sought to identify the share of online sales that touch physical space, either through click & collect or via browsing in a shop before purchasing items online. Last year, they found, 89%, or £278bn, of the UK’s retail sales touched a store through physical sales, click & collect and online sales that were previously browsed in a store.

This gave a 5% boost to the £266bn of retail sales made physically and demonstrates how the internet is boosting store sales for retailers.

Excluding sales of food and groceries, which account for half of all retail sales but rarely “touch” a physical store if bought online, physical sales were boosted by 9%.

Brick-&-mortar retailers account for two thirds of the £34bn of online sales, with the remainder purchased via online “pure play” retailers.

Charles Maudsley, head of retail for British Land, told The Times newspaper: “This research demonstrates the continued value of the physical store and the important role it plays in the life of consumers.”

The research also found that the age group most likely to shop in a physical store over shopping online were those aged under 35, who continue to make shopping a social activity.

“This not only reinforces the importance of physical stores today, but also indicates their likely future importance,” the report said.

“Far from showing a pure-play generation of young shoppers, the research reaffirms physical shopping’s role as a recreational and social activity that is here to stay.”

The research also found that women used click & collect more than men. Store browsing is twice as important for men as click & collect, while men also use ‘pureplay’ online retailers more than women.

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