Managing Changes to Store Portfolios

Managing Changes to Store Portfolios

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2018 will be remembered for many things here at Sigma, but the most alarming by far was the near-collapse of the high street. Maplin, Mothercare, Toys R Us and Poundworld to name but a few of the well-known names that have contributed to more than 1,000 retail store closures in the UK during 2018. These are challenging times for the retail sector with unprecedented levels of change and for those who are too slow to adapt, the results will be devastating.

Post By Paul Fahey -
Construction Director

The growth of online continues to impact brands that rely predominantly on their physical stores. Electrical, fashion and food (supermarkets) are just some of the areas that have translated seamlessly online for many retailers and in fact offer the omni-channel experience that many shoppers now crave. Combine this with market pressures, such as property and rental prices, increasing services charges and an emerging lack of customer loyalty to a single brand, and it’s no wonder we’re seeing retailers struggle.

Our recap of the retail sector in 2018 might be of interest

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Of course, the political landscape isn’t helping UK-based retailers at the moment either. Continued uncertainty about Brexit, what the future holds and the impact this will have on the economy has been the backdrop for far too long now, and the inability to make informed decisions about business strategy is surely not helping those retailers who are already struggling with the best way forward. At Sigma, we are working hard with our clients, and where necessary administrators, to make sure they understand the breadth of options available to help them manage their store portfolio; including when the difficult decision needs to be made about downsizing or store closure. Investing not just financially, but also with time and effort, to work through the most beneficial solution to store portfolio changes is most likely to ensure a smooth, professional and cost-effective transition.

Property portfolio transformation is another area of change that we are seeing as part of store portfolio changes. Customer expectations have changed, and retailers are having to think more intelligently about how they can utilise existing space to maximise their brand presence and offer an experience rather than a transactional purchase. For some, refurbishing or re-purposing the space might be the right answer and as part of this, thinking about how the online and offline journeys come together for a seamless experience. For others, often in shopping centres or large retail parts, having an additional retail presence within your store, such as a coffee shop chain or unrelated product retailer (think Next and Paperchase or Sainsburys and Argos) can introduce a new demographic to your footfall.

Regardless of the drivers for changing your store portfolio, it’s often a complex and logistically difficult task to make sure the right decisions are being made to drive the outcomes you need. And when store closure or portfolio downsizing is the answer, it’s hard to keep emotion from the mix as well. Working with an external partner like Sigma provides you with the end-to-end solution to manage your full transformational programme across your whole estate, helping to remove the pain points that come from a store-by-store plan of activity while giving you confidence that your plan will be executed professionally, compassionately and in the most efficient way possible.


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