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Where are retailers directing their technology investment?

Nearly all of the top 60 retailers in the UK will invest in online and mobile during the next year, but companies operating in the sector still favour the store over eCommerce.

That is a key finding from recent Conlumino research, commissioned by law firm TLT, which found that three-quarters of the UK's leading retailers still favour physical stores over online.

If asked to choose, a quarter of respondents said they would operate solely through a website like Amazon and eBay.

But that does not mean that retailers are ignoring the opportunity technology investment can bring to their businesses, with the TLT Retail Growth Strategies Survey 2014 showing that businesses rank online retail and mCommerce as the most important areas for investment.

Mobile payments are viewed by 50% of respondents as offering the best prospects for growth, with nearly three-quarters looking to use it in the future. Meanwhile, iPads in-store and apps for customers are high on the agenda for approximately half of the 60 retailers questioned.

Perran Jervis, head of retail & consumer goods at TLT, commented: "Stores are no longer just places to browse and buy, but an increasingly critical link in the retail chain.

"We are seeing even pure-play e-tailers setting up shop on the high street to meet consumer needs. Stores help build brands that drive online growth. They are the billboards that advertise to passers-by and, with the growth of click & collect, they help complete the sale."

The law firm's research also indicates that more than one-third of retailers plan to expand in 2014, with most using cash reserves to fund expansion. China and Germany were the two countries cited by most UK retailers as offering strong growth opportunities.

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