The retail industry is confronted with unprecedented change. Economic turmoil and technological advances are combining to reshape the retail landscape faster than some retailers are able to react.

Today's consumer has vastly different and more sophisticated expectations of product, service, value and environment than five or even three years ago. In the new multichannel reality, the boundaries between virtual and physical space are becoming blurred and retailers are being forced to question the role and function of stores in an environment where their relevance to the connected consumer is increasingly subject to challenge.

While the role of the store is under question, even the most pessimistic commentators do not seem to be predicting the complete demise of the store. There will remain a role for physical space albeit in a different format and potentially radically smaller scale.

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