Analysis: What happened to the retail lab? Walmart, Tesco and Farfetch on the evolution of innovation

Farfetch Dream assembly base camp

Retail labs and accelerators were everywhere a few short years ago. What happened – and are retailers still innovating?

Retail labs became a key trend in the industry around a decade ago, with retailers from John Lewis and M&S to AO.com and Iceland launching incubators, hubs and labs in a bid to keep up with the pack. 

For a while ‘retail labs’ felt like a buzz phrase, with some embracing the trend purely for the positive image it projected. But what has happened to the digital innovation labs since then? And did they ever truly produce innovation?

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