This year’s most-read Retail Systems stories

With the end of 2020 in sight, we crunched the numbers to bring you a round-up of Retail Systems’ most popular stories of the year.

There are no surprises that the top story was about 5G and how the technology could help drive a retail revolution. In the spring it was reported that the government would be supporting 5G by incorporating it into its Industrial Strategy, having pledged £1 billion towards digital infrastructure.

Research from Barclays Corporate Banking earlier this year suggested that 5G could supercharge the UK economy by up to £15.7 billion per year by 2025 – but the opportunity could be missed because industry leaders still do not know enough about the benefits of investing in the technology.

Coming in at a close second was a feature that explored whether or not ailing retailers should dump stores after the COVID 19 pandemic.

The article said that with High Street clothing and footwear retailers among the hardest hit by the Coronavirus lockdown, some were suggesting that those going under would be better to re-emerge as online-only brands.

As predicted, after seven additional months of coronavirus restrictions, store closures and lockdowns, we have seen big High-Street brands like Arcadia and Debenhams fail to stay afloat.

Unsurprisingly, given ongoing lockdowns, the next most popular headline was a prediction that 91 per cent of UK shoppers would avoid stores on Black Friday.

A survey of 1,000 UK shoppers conducted by analytics company Contentsquare, found that while many consumers were planning to avoid Black Friday altogether, 35 per cent would still be hunting for deals online on 27 November as shoppers shifted their buying behaviour to digital and online channels.

The prediction was certainly in the right ballpark, with retail footfall down by 98 per cent during the shopping phenomenon last month.

In further evidence of the turbulence on the High Street, in July AllSaints became the latest retailer to gain creditor approval for its Company Voluntary Arrangement plan by more than 75 per cent of creditors. In the previous month, the fashion retailer had announced the CVA, aimed at driving a major restructure of its store portfolio in the UK and the US.

Landlords were consulted on plans to move most of its 41 stores in the UK and 42 stores in North America to turnover-rent.

Another feature looking at how fast fashion is falling out of favour made the top five list. The article explores the growing scrutiny of the ethics of retailer supply chains, with brands rushing to implement technology that gives better visibility into how products are made, sourced and shipped.

It pays particular attention to a report published about fast fashion retailer BooHoo’s UK supply chain in July which alleged that its factories in Leicester had paid workers below the minimum wage.

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