‘You don’t need so many physical retail shops’: Walid Mansour


November 22, 2020 | By Shruthi Nair

Physical retail shops are not required for all categories of products, according to Walid Mansour, Managing Partner and CIO at Middle East Venture Partners.

“Category after category technology in digital has been able to prove that you don’t need physical retail to get whatever you are shopping for – starting from books, electronics and even fashion”, he said.

The Chalhoub Group, for instance, which has more than 750 retail outlets across the Middle East with a portfolio of 300 brands that include Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Tod’s, Michael Kors, L’Occitane, Lacoste, Tory Burch – will close 10 per cent of its stores over the coming months to move a lot of its investments to e-commerce.

Even globally, Inditex, which owns eight brands including Zara and Pull&Bear, will close up to 1,200 stores. The Spanish retail giant has unveiled a digital platform and expects online sales to account for over 25 percent of total sales by 2022.

“If you are good in your digital channeling with the discounts, promotions, loyalty programmes, payment schemes, recommendation search engines etc. they are all way better online than offline. I don’t think retail will die but I don’t suspect that the shops will not be smarter and adopt the key premises of e-commerce”, he said.

Speaking of retail verticals he thinks are better off online than offline, Mansour said, “While shopping for electronics, 70-80% of the times customers do price comparisons online to see if there’s a better deal out there. And this applies to fashion too. Your entry point to your shopping experience, even if you are in a store, is through your cellphone”.

“In order to get coverage, you don’t need so many retail shops around the city, if your digital offerings are good. What retailers should probably look into are warehousing, stocking or on-demand supply chain capabilities. So investment models will have to change – where you invest less money in stores and put that money in somewhere else”, he added.

Atul Bhatia, the head of growth and strategy at Splash agrees that not all retail categories need physical spaces, but fashion isn’t one of them.

“I don’t think it’d be possible to not have any retail space for fashion. This is a question between discretionary and non-discretionary categories. If you want to buy milk, eggs etc. you can just buy them online. But fashion is an experiential category where you want to try and touch the fabric”, said Bhatia.

If you are a retailer, join the debate by sharing your thoughts with us on our social media channels

Comments

comments

Previous Article Next Article

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE /



UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets is hosting a two-week food festival at select 

Continue Reading

January 17, 2021 | By Lawrence Pinto

Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys has launched its ‘Power of Plants’ initiative in the 

Continue Reading

January 17, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
Cookit

Carrefour UAE has launched “Cookit Yourself” — a curated recipe box created 

Continue Reading

January 5, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
Al Islami Plant-Based Burger

UAE-based Al Islami Foods, one of the largest frozen food companies in 

Continue Reading

January 3, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau
Marks & Spencer's plant-based range

Marks & Spencer’s plant-based range now offers over 25 vegan products including meat-free 

Continue Reading

December 23, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

World’s largest fully integrated online brand in fresh fish and meat e-commerce 

Continue Reading

December 14, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau
Koita

Homegrown, organic and plant milk company, Koita has announced its expansion into 

Continue Reading

December 9, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau
Middle East's vegan revolution

Today’s on-demand streaming services are ripe with docu-series and explainer videos on 

Continue Reading

December 3, 2020 | By Shruthi Nair

International food retailer, SPAR has today announced a global partnership to tackle food waste with the 

Continue Reading

December 3, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

UAE-based concept grocery retail chain, Grandiose has opened a new supermarket within 

Continue Reading

November 22, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

US-based fast food chain, Nathan’s famous Inc. brings another New York classic, 

Continue Reading

November 12, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

Dubai-based Union Coop, the leading Consumer Cooperative in the UAE, opened its 

Continue Reading

November 11, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau




Download Images RetailME Magazine