The fourth Retail Week Interiors finds the retail design industry at something of a turning point.

The fourth Retail Week Interiors finds the retail design industry at something of a turning point.

If you’d asked a retailer, design consultant or shopfitter how things were looking about a year ago, the majority would have been pretty gloomy about how things were going. There followed a brief respite, however, and perhaps the nascent green shoots might have ascribed to a change of administration or maybe the perception that as things appeared to be on the turn internationally, they must be in the UK.

A few months and a royal wedding later, the feel-good factor seems to have evaporated and we are plunged once more into stories outlining the deluge that is to come and ominous tales of retailer belt tightening. Yet curiously, retailers, internationally and at home, continue to open new shops, modernise old ones and generally consider the way in which their shops appear to those who shop in them.

With this in mind, we asked a selection of the retail design sector’s great and good what the point of design is and why shopkeepers shouldn’t just make do with what they have and hope that they don’t lose too many shoppers along the way. The answers that came back were interesting and, for the most part, the line that was taken was not just that retail design as a discipline had changed, but that its place within retailing had also altered.

This issue also looks at two seminal pieces of retail design, operating at different ends of the market. The C&A flagship redesign in Cologne provides a value-led take on what can be done with a little imagination, while the Asics store in Amsterdam is a no holds barred piece of futuristic thinking that remains shoppable and which should do much to raise the brand’s profile.

The forthcoming Retail Week Interiors Awards in September are previewed and we also look at what’s new in the world of fixtures and shop equipment and how to make your shopfloor more interesting. Finally, if all of this is to be made a reality, the services of a project manager, in-house or external, will probably be required. We examine the evolution of the role and what retailers should expect from an efficient project manager… without which, compelling, new stores would be a pipedream more than any kind of tangible reality. Once more, happy reading.