The evolution of the high street


There is no denying that times are hard for the high street. With competition from online retailers and the much-discussed trend for consumers to spend less in traditional shops and more on experiences, many brands have struggled to survive.

John Lewis is one of the big names coming up with innovative ideas to adapt to these changing consumer practices and encourage shoppers into their stores.

While there are matters to consider before combining high street shops with the "experiences" that purchasers crave, such as tenant covenants in leases and planning restrictions, these are creative measures intended to address wide-spread difficulties. It will be interesting to see what John Lewis (and the public) makes of its Southampton venture and whether more high street names follow suit.

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John Lewis wants its department stores to become ‘experience playgrounds’, where shoppers can lounge in rooftop orchards or hone their barista skills. The retailer has spent £3m converting its Southampton store into a new concept shop with seven ‘experience playgrounds’, an upmarket rooftop farm shop, bread baking and pasta making in the Waitrose cookery school, and classes by interior designers. If the concept is successful John Lewis wants to roll it out nationwide.
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