In an age when one in every five pounds spent in the UK is now online¹, it would be easy to assume that bricks and mortar are no longer a good investment for any retailer.
You can’t go more than a few days without reading a news headline about the death of the high street. From House of Fraser to Poundland, more and more retailers are finding that a physical presence on many of our high streets is simply not a possibility if they want to continue, and that the only way they can survive is to increasingly move their products and services to an online market.
At Specsavers, we’re bucking that trend and we’re happy to do so. While many retailers are reducing the size and number of their stores, bricks and mortar is, and will remain, the lifeblood of our business. There are many reasons why that should be the case, from the expertise of the clinician and the breadth of services offered in store (including innovations such as Enhanced Optical Services and Frame Styler) to the personalisation of service – these are things which simply can’t be done online.
Not only is our position on the high street strong, it’s growing. In previous years around 30 new Specsavers stand-alone stores would typically be opened per year. That number remains steady, but we’re also opening more stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets. There are more than 35 Sainsbury’s stores currently open, with plenty more to come.
It’s an ambitious strategy but it’s working. By expanding our footprint, stores can cater for all kinds of customers. We’re on the high street and in shopping centres for people who work in or visit town or city centres, while other customers love the easily accessible out-of-town locations with free parking, and can tie in their Specsavers visits with their Sainsbury’s shopping trip.
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