Amidst the turbulent climate of COVID , high street fashion retailers who in previous years enjoyed periods of growth and prosperity, have experienced a hard economic downturn during this difficult time. Hearing the news of a popular retailer go into administration has somewhat become an expected feature in the daily news, with the majority of individuals being homebound and off high streets. This calls into question their survival and relevancy in a era of digital dominance , heavily focused around the online visual experience where most people can shop from the comfort of their homes.
The death of the high street for fashion retailers is not by any means a new phenomena but simply expedited by the global pandemic, which has been the final blow to many retailers who were just about staying afloat. Rising costs in business rates, increasing wages and rent has also pushed many retailers to their precipice. Some researchers have even pointed out that these rates have risen to as high as 10.8% in the past five years. With more and more consumers spending their disposable income on experiences and lifestyle.
Though many retailers have tried to recover their losses by growing their online presence and driving traffic to their websites through their many social media platforms. For some brands this has been a far cry for a solution in combating their dying in-store customer base. It may seem that popular online retailers such as Missguided and Asos had the right idea in mind by positioning themselves as online only shops, and in the midst of all the chaos we have seen other online retailers like Boohoo seize this opportunity to revive many of these dying high street fashions brands and relaunch them as online-only.
With so many other factors in play contributing to the decadence of high street retailers such as location and the general decline in footfall, and now COVID as the final nail in the coffin. The future of high street fashion brands is looking reasonably bleak and in their efforts for survival the winners will be those who can creatively adapt to their customer’s changing habits and tastes. If this is the case perhaps not all hope will be lost.