Nine out of 10 Australian retailers are planning to maintain or increase the number of bricks and mortar stores in the year ahead, according to research from CommBank.

New data analysis from the latest Commonwealth Bank Retail Insights Report also found consumers still like shopping in-store more than online shopping.

Jerry Macey, National Manager Retail, Commonwealth Bank said there is a clear desire among today’s consumers to shop more locally, although online shopping is catching up quickly and runs a close second.

“Shoppers still prefer the in-store experience where they can touch, feel and try products. Therefore retailers are planning more stores, however it’s sector specific. Food and liquor, homewares and hardware are increasing strongly. Clothing and footwear are more muted,” Macey said.

According to a recent study from Deloitte, retailers see a clear link between stores and revenue growth. 43 per cent of Australian retailers believe opening more stores will be the driving force behind sales growth in the next 12 months. That’s the highest result in the six years Deloitte has been running the survey.

The CommBank analysis also shows that while retailers want to open new stores, only one in five are expanding the size of their physical stores, and 55 per cent expect no change in their store footprint.

Almost half (47 per cent) of retailers with bricks and mortar outlets reported an increase in foot traffic, and retailers that experienced an increase in foot traffic over the past 12 months believe better product range (44 per cent), enhancing store layout (42 per cent) and lower prices (40 per cent) were the top factors driving shoppers to their stores.

“Those retailers that have implemented initiatives to improve the customer experience are seeing tangible benefits. For example, the majority have seen increased income as a result, and almost one in two are seeing customers visit more regularly and stay in-store longer,” Macey said.

More than one in two (53 per cent) shopping centre retailers reported an increase in foot traffic over the past 12 months, more than those operating in suburban shopping strips (43 per cent) and city/town centres or inner city shopping strips (39 per cent).

Source: CommBank
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