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Editor's comment: when should retailers invest in their stores? Yesterday

According to Ipsos Retail Performance figures, retail footfall last month was up by 8.4 per cent compared to the previous month, and 1.8 per cent ahead of the same time last year.

The Visa UK Expenditure Index has recorded ‘exceptionally strong’ growth in consumer expenditure for the month of April, with household spending up by 2.9 per cent.

The International Monetary Fund is forecasting that the UK will have the strongest performing economy of all G7 countries this year.

Politicians are smiling and, at least in some parts of the UK, shoppers are smiling too. But some retailers are nervous.

Why? Because after several years of costcutting and making do, many retailers now realise their stores are looking tired. Those which have really neglected their estates during the years of recession now have large numbers of stores with outdated formats, unsuited to the modern omnichannel shopper. Smaller, more agile competition are making these dinosaurs feel their age.

These old timers now have some tough decisions to make about how to invest in their stores quickly and effectively if they are to share in the good times we all hope are to come.

The retail design sector will be very busy. But those retailers that had the foresight to think ahead will be the real beneficiaries – they will be the ones with relevant and effective designs ready and waiting for the new consumer confidence to arrive.