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A holiday message from the editor

It’s Christmas – not a time to dredge through all the bad news that has afflicted retail over the last year. You’re probably all sick of it.

So take cheer instead from the good stuff. There has been a lot of it, though you could be forgiven for missing it amid all the doom and gloom. In fact, there has been so much good news it is hard to know where to begin.

There’s the rapidly changing property sector for a start. The growth in pop-ups, the rise of mixed-use developments full of leisure opportunities, and a more dynamic take on management are great news for retailers who want to explore new design opportunities.

But that isn’t the whole story. In private, landlords acknowledge that greater change is on the way: shorter and more flexible leases, incentives for new retailers, and more connected marketing to bring in shoppers, should all be a welcome shot in the arm for retail creativity.

From the vantage point of Retail Design World, it has been invigorating to see innovative and dedicated retailers getting to grips with the world they now inhabit. Far from bemoaning the new landscape and blaming online competition, these players have focused on what physical retail can offer and got to work. And some of them have nailed it.

After more years than I care to remember covering retail design, 2018 has been one of the busiest. There have been more new store designs, more new approaches, the application of more new technology, and more clear thinking, than in any year I can remember.

There have international flagships, physical stores from supposedly pureplay online retailers, supersized fashion outlets, new shopping centres, upmarket boutiques, and street food pop-ups, in a blaze of activity that has seen the Retail Design World team running to keep up.

So the next time somebody tells you that physical retail is dead, point them to Retail Design World. A few minutes reading about what this community has achieved over the last year will convince them that physical stores have a very healthy heartbeat indeed.

Merry Christmas