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Consumers set to return to out-of-town retailers

Published: 8 November 2010
Consumer spending is set to increase at out-of-town shops by £14.7bn over the next four years, according to new research from Verdict.
Consumers set to return to out-of-town retailers
The retail analyst predicts that spending at out-of-town retail parks will increase by 2.9% this year and by 3% in 2011.

Verdict analyst Matt Piner said: "Despite many out-of-town retailers experiencing a tough time during the last few years, sales are improving due, in part, to the expansion by supermarkets to accommodate their non-food products. As supermarkets at out-of-town retailer parks get bigger, consumers are often more tempted to visit them due to greater convenience and choice of products. Therefore with more shoppers visiting the retail parks there are greater opportunities to increase sales in neighbouring shops."

However, despite an increase in footfall, the increasing prominence of grocers on these sites presents a new challenge to the DIY, furnishing and flooring and electronics retailers who have traditionally dominated these sites, says Verdict.

While in the past consumers visited retail parks because they were generally cheaper, competition is now far greater and low prices are no longer enough, with customers now demanding value for money.

Mr Piner added: "Purchases are now motivated by an essential 'need' so there is greater consideration and more effort put in to comparing alternatives. Out-of-town retailers will need to put greater effort into customer service, the shopping experience as well as variety and quality of products."

Verdict also believes one key reason out-of-town retailers will continue to succeed is their strong link to online. Services such as 'click and collect' are easier for these retailers to offer and will drive sales as consumers use the internet to compare and research prices.

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