Legacy retailers face existential crisis

Paula Nickolds the new managing director of John Lewis

The fight to the death between legacy retail and eCommerce is slowing playing out on both sides of the atlantic, as traditional bricks-and-mortar stores try and deal with both the immediate threat of online and the more existential question of their role in a multi-channel world.

The San Francisco Chronicle pulls no punches in its assessment of large legacy retailers in the US. They simply aren’t moving fast enough to meet the challenge of the internet, and often lack the resources to profitably re-engineer their businesses to be everywhere their customers are and want them to be.

Meanwhile in the UK, John Lewis’ new MD is keenly aware of the challenges of customers’ growing omnichannel approach to shopping. Her aim, she tells the BBC, is to create a new retail model: “The era of channel [either online or store] is over. What we’re really embarking on now is a world, where for consumers, channels are completely merged and we need to think that way”.




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