Trends & Insights

Transformation in retail: now is the time to show who has the courage to take a stand!

Retail is faced with an important question: how can it really transform itself successfully, not just get by somehow, but also remain fit for the future? Not just a wish, but a necessity.
At the ILM in Offenbach, Meike and Jelena Faber from Textilwirtschaft provided in-depth insights into how companies can transform themselves - despite challenges in implementation and budget.

Despite an increase, the bricks-and-mortar specialist retail sector is in crisis, characterized by a high number of insolvencies among well-known companies such as Peek & Cloppenburg, Gerry Weber and Reno. A report by Textilwirtschaft shows that 92 fashion stores have already gone bankrupt in 2023. The crisis is due to a combination of recession, inflation, the after-effects of the coronavirus pandemic and rising costs for rents, staff and energy. The situation is exacerbated by structural problems such as the loss of attractiveness of city centers and the dominance of large online platforms.


These effects underline the partial lack of strategic direction at a time when bricks-and-mortar retail must no longer just involve selling, but also adapting to changing consumer behavior, new expectations, the transformation of city centers and genuine sustainability requirements. The challenge for cities is to transform themselves into diverse, vibrant centers of urban life in order to remain attractive for residents, professionals, tourism, trade and industry in the long term. Such a transformation requires people to identify strongly with their city and to create an urban community.


The ambition to grow and change is present in many companies, but it often fails to materialize – whether due to budget restrictions or a lack of determination. But what does it take to bridge the gap between wanting and doing?


The solution: courageous action and clear decisions

Transformation requires a change in thinking and a willingness to break new ground. This starts with investing in core competencies and partnerships and creating a culture that also sees failure as part of the process.


The priority: brand stabilization and continuity

Now more than ever, brands need to focus on their identity, attitude and role in society. When we realize that, according to studies, 73% of brands could be considered dispensable, it is all the more important to offer added value that goes beyond the product.


The role of the physical space: more than just a point of sale

The physical space is not just a place of retail, but a communication channel and the most important point of contact for customers. Shopping must once again become an experience that people associate not only with products, but above all with memories.


The transformation of consumption: the experience economy

The demand for experiences is greater than ever before. Even in difficult economic times, people are willing to pay for unique experiences. It’s no longer just about selling something, but about offering encounters, entertainment and a sense of community.


Conclusion: Retail as a constructive agent of change

Companies and brands are called upon to position themselves as constructive agents of social change and to create experiences that go beyond the act of buying. It is time to redefine the added value of a brand and establish retail as a place of belonging and shared experience.

The way brands act, express their attitude and design their stores as places of experience and gathering will determine their success in the future.


So let’s create places of belonging together!




Horizont – The opportunities of Signa insolvencies for city centers

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