What is the real reason as to why so many long established retail chains have failed, leaving a void in the market and a shopping centre industry clamouring to reshape the retail landscape which in some instances have become retail wastelands? All of a sudden there is a sense of urgency to reinvent the shopping centre.
Is it too little too late? Has the tide turned too swiftly? Or have we just ignored the signals? Could it be as simple as demographics? Have the two largest demographics, being the Baby Boomers and the Millennials literally upended the retail and restaurant world with their sheer numbers. Forcing retailers and restauranteurs to break all the traditional rules of how things should look and be. Is there a revolution or an evolution afoot?
Interesting questions which can simply be answered by the fact that many in the industry were blindsided. Some of the signals were camouflaged by the Great Recession of 2008 which lasted until just a few years ago. And so excuses were made.
Ironically what had happened while the world was abuzz and preoccupied with the recession and the havoc it wreaked, the now Millennials were growing up and the Baby Boomers were aging. All of a sudden, young people were unable to find suitable employment or employment that excited them, engaged them and paid well. So many of them turned to self-employment using the technology that they grew up not only to promote their ideas but to test them in the real world in real time…..and so the independent was born.
A generation of young Millennials dissatisfied with the status quo and echoing the mood and spirit of their counterparts. Most of all they had nothing to lose and they had what most of the big chain retail executives did not- youth, passion and a desire to be different.
They have the spending power and are driving the way retailers must do business. Neither group can easily be ignored. Those who haven’t seen this wave coming are now having to play catch up…