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Retail construction is changing… but how will this impact the construction sector?

The retail sector has gone through some tough times recently and this has, inevitably, had an impact on retail construction – and the broader construction sector. With a new year stretching ahead and plenty of change on the horizon there could potentially be much to celebrate this year. And, with cautiously optimistic growth forecasts for the retail sector, the construction businesses that rely on it for work pipelines may also have more positive about in 2020.

The end of a period of political volatility

The general election that took place in December 2019 is perceived to have brought to an end an unstable and troubling period of volatility in the UK. This has affected sectors across the board, including retail and construction. The retail sector in the UK is predicted to grow by at least +1.0% in 2020, partly as a result of this newfound stability, and this could be good news for the construction sector too.

An uplift in retail consumer confidence

Thanks to consumer confidence starting to return, forecasts indicate that the retail sector should benefit from more customer spending in 2020. This is despite the fact that sales in some parts of the sector still face many challenges. Food retail in particular has suffered in recent years and there has been a need to adapt to changing circumstances, both in terms of the way that businesses operate and the buildings they operate from. So, retail construction for the food sector has undergone significant change – and there may be more to come as the market continues to evolve to respond to needs of customers and the shifting dynamics of supply chains.

Responding to changes for retailers

Retail construction is an industry that is currently required to be particularly responsive to the changing needs of retailers, as they tackle evolving customer demands. This has seen pressures on retailers to be more cost effective, whether that involves finding more economical premises or looking for reductions in expenses such as rent. In future it is also likely to mean that the world of retail construction will have to be more aware of the trends in retail itself – as customers increasingly make choices on the basis of value, convenience and experience it’s important that the construction available to house this is fit for purpose.

Environment and sustainable considerations

The need for a more environmentally responsible approach is also driving retail as a whole and this is likely to be a trend that resonates throughout construction in 2020. Consumers want to buy from retailers that reflect their ethical and environmental choices, whether that is with respect to supply chains, products or the way stores are designed and built. More environmentally friendly and sustainable business models are a consistent theme across the business world and will be necessary considerations for the construction sector and the industries it supports.

The retail sector has gone through a lot of change and is still evolving to keep up with a fast moving economic and political environment. For those in the construction industry, responding to this is going to be key to ongoing success.

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