top of page

Retailing in Today’s New Normal

Portait of photo of Steven Madeley with colourful orange dotted background in a suit

This week we have another guest blogger, part of #TeamNRG, Steven Madeley!

With a long history of exposure to both big and small companies, Steven is now a business advisor specialising in operations, structure and processes .

Visit his Linkedin


The phrase ‘A nation of shopkeepers’ is usually attributed to Napoleon. However, in 1776, Adam Smith wrote, ‘To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers’

It is interesting as here in the UK, we love a bit of shopping and leisure. It’s a big sector, employing approx. 15% of the workforce. Retail sales are also usually seen as a good early indicator of economic performance.

Retailing now faces a challenge like never before as shops plan to re-open in the next few weeks. A combination of factors means the ‘rush to the shops’ talked about in the media will just not happen in my opinion. This is due to;

  • An understandable fear of the Coronavirus. This will particularly affect large centres, local high streets less so.

  • Reduced public transport.

  • Many people still on furlough or unemployed, with financial worries.

  • Even more online shopping, as it has been the only way to get many items in the last few weeks.

Retailers need to create a safe and welcoming environment and customers will notice;

  • Limits on the number of people allowed in a shop at any one time.

  • Hand sanitisers

  • More contactless payments and far less cash.

  • Changing rooms may be out of use.

All of this will take some getting used to, but it will soon become the ‘New Normal’. The most successful retailers are those who blend brick and click with great stores and a good online offer, such as John Lewis. We may lose some brands, but retail will survive and come back stronger. Think of the brands on the High St now, compared to 20 years ago! Why will this happen? Because we all like shopping in our favourite store, to be able to see and feel the merchandise and to be advised by knowledgeable and helpful shop staff.

We may not be a nation of shopkeepers, but we are still a nation of shoppers!

I have worked in retail and retail property for 35 years and I can assist you with your planning and advise you on how best to trade in ‘The New Normal’. You can contact us here if you were interested in connecting.

Empty indoor mall with escalator going to next level



bottom of page