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Shaping Cities: The Changing Face of Retail

Posted on 14 December 2018

On 4 December 2018, Mishcon de Reya hosted a roundtable discussion on the impact of disruptive technologies on the retail environment: from market trends and innovations, to the reshaping of our high streets and shopping centres, through to the way in which we use and protect data. 

The discussion – the second in Mishcon's 'Shaping Cities' series – was co-hosted by New West End Company and chaired by George MacDonald, Executive Editor of Retail Week. McKinsey associate partner Tom Youldon set the scene with a short introductory presentation on digital solutions for smart cities, the impact on quality of life, and the opportunities available within the retail sphere.

Click on the film above for an overview of the discussion. Photos from the event can be viewed here.

Shaping Cities: The Changing Face of Retail

Susan Freeman
Partner, Mishcon de Reya

This event is one of a series of shaping cities.  Today’s panel discussion is all about the future of retail and we’ve put together an amazing selection of retail experts, we’ll be discussing how we think the future of retail is going to look, how it’s going to be affected by technology

Tom Youldon
Associate Partner, McKinsey

London is first of all quite well positioned in terms of the smart city agenda.  We have a successful and innovative FinTech sector, we have a mayor that is committed to making London the smartest city so we start from a position of strength

The Impact of Technology on Retail

Jace Tyrrell
Chief Executive, New West End Company

I think the role of tech we talk about it a lot but actually in the place but what it is doing for cities, what it is doing for retail was a big thing this afternoon.  I think it was great just to hear some different perspectives, global perspectives.  There’s a lot of good stuff happening in London which was drawn out as well this afternoon.

Brian Bickell
Chief Executive, Shaftesbury Plc

Technology is changing every aspect of our lives and I think real estate owners have got to wise up to this.  We’ve got to be smarter about how we use the space we’re trying to let to people.  Embracing change and perhaps moving away from a very traditional leasing model.

The Changing Physical Landscape

Amanda Scott
Managing Director, Fabled

Technology is, is posing a challenge to the physical space because obviously the consumers have been ever more moving online.  You have to think about how you can drive the consumer into your shop.

Ross Bailey
CEO, Appear Here

Everyone is obsessed with putting screens in stores and saying technology is going to save the high street and actually when you look at it, it’s amazing independent stores with great storytellers that care about their products and what they’re doing that I think will be the saviour of the high street.

Dona Haj
Head of Operations, UK Israel Tech Hub

The retail industry is quite a bit different from the UK. Where in Tel-Aviv or in or in other cities in Israel you would see more independent  shops, you would see the bakery and you would see the small butcher and you would see the small like fashion designer which builds communities and I think this is something that is lacking now in London. 

Sally Britton
Partner, Mishcon de Reya

I think the important points that we heard tonight was that actually a lot of people are valuing our kind of authenticity and independence in retail. 

Craig White
Senior Project Director (Retail), Argent

What  we’ve done at Coal Drops Yard and Kings Cross in particular it’s not so much the technology you can see, it’s actually the way technology influencing the shoppers, you know, the way they communicate, the way they congregate and it’s the way they bring themselves together as a community.

Sheila King
Chief Executive, Sheila King International

London is fantastic at retail but I think entertainment and leisure is a really key area that we just need to look at in from other countries and other cities around the world.

Data in a Digital Retail World

Adam Rose
Partner, Mishcon de Reya

The challenge for retailers is they collect huge amounts of data now.  There is clear tension between customer privacy and data usage. Businesses want to collect as much data as they can.

Joe Hancock
Cyber Security Lead, Mishcon de Reya

This kind of we need all the data versus I want to protect my data kind of dichotomy is really difficult.

Susan Freeman
Partner, Mishcon de Reya

It’s been a great evening tonight.  We’ve had influences, retailers, brand owners, there’s lots of things going on and it was exciting to hear

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