“Retail will never ever be the same again,” said Theo Paphitis, the former Dragon’s Den ‘dragon’ and boss of housewares stockist Robert Dyas, when talking on BBC News last week (May 22).
Theo reflected on the accelerated shift in consumer behavior to online shopping, which is becoming more established as lockdown continues. He cited his wife as a good example of a new convert to online shopping!
While every year, Theo has noted the shift to online shopping through his retail businesses (including Robert Dyas), he stated that in his personal opinion, the lockdown has “accelerated the whole transition by five years.”
He anticipates “less footfall” on high streets when shops reopen, and that his retail empire will have fewer stores and a “bigger online business” going forward. Theo talked about the need to “adapt physical stores: to “create more business” and said he is confidence that – although facing a huge challenge – his enterprises well emerge as a stronger “new business.”
Theo also highlighted the cost elements that need to change for all bricks and mortar stores: rents and business rates. He said that the chancellor “has no option” but to “overturn business rates” in order for the high street to survive.
Top: Theo Paphitis is shown in conversation at Autumn Fair with Grace Bowden, head of content at Retail Week.