Putting retailers together under one roof looks more and more like a way to avoid the ravages of online merchants.

There’s a widget attached to the Retail Week website that allows those in the office to see which stories are getting the most views, in real time.

To which you might be inclined to stifle a yawn, but looking at the way it’s gone over the past two weeks, one theme is apparent and it’s pretty interesting.

Stories about retailers shedding in-store space and making room for others is an overridingly popular topic.

The week before last it was the news that John Lewis was considering devoting some of its floor space to co-working that caught the imagination.

“There is an elegant complementary benefit about the Currys PC World and Tesco arrangement”

Then on Friday, a picture-led piece about a Currys PC World concession in a Tesco Extra in Milton Keynes seemed to get fingers clicking on keyboards, crashing Amazon profits notwithstanding.

The fact of the matter is that bad news still tends to be good news as far as readers are concerned. But the stories mentioned have elements of both.

Complementary retailing

Clearly, the bad news is that many large-footprint retailers have bigger feet than might be desirable and even if Amazon profits aren’t as expected (as if its management needs to care about profit), the relentless move towards online shopping continues.

“When the biggest tech retailer is in the same location as the biggest grocer, then a true single store ‘destination’ has been created”

The good news, however, is that retailers are thinking on their feet and there is an elegant complementary benefit about the Currys PC World and Tesco arrangement.

Both retailers stand to benefit, and the point perhaps is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Flagging that there is tech stuff in a large branch of Tesco is in itself not a cause for cork-popping (you’ve been able to buy computers in Tesco stores for years), but when the biggest tech retailer is in the same location as the biggest grocer, then a true single store ‘destination’ has been created.

“This is a matter of giving shoppers more to look at in one place and, in effect, becoming more like the web”

This is a matter of giving shoppers more to look at in one place and, in effect, becoming more like the web, but giving customers the chance to look, see and feel a product before a purchase is made.

As such, the more this is done, the better for bricks-and-mortar retailers, even if they do have a big online presence themselves.

There will, in the process, still be those who find themselves unable to offload excess space in a beneficial and good-looking manner, but this will be a lot more to do with their stores and the manner in which they have been maintained and kept up to date, rather than the principle itself.