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Internet retailers turn to physical stores as online sales look set to decline

Rhiannon Bury
Retailers which begun life online are seeing the value of having a real store - Bloomberg

A growing number of online retailers are opening physical stores on the high street in a bid to attract customers, as the growth of internet shopping looks set to slow.

By 2021, the rate of growth in online sales is expected to decline from the current level of around 11pc to 7pc, according to property consultancy Colliers.

In anticipation of this, online retailers are increasingly using real stores to bolster their sales and their brands, in a trend industry experts have called "showrooming", allowing them to display products to entice customers to buy.

An example of this is French fashion brand Sézane, which began life on eBay before moving to its own website and then setting up stores in the world’s major cities.

This increasing presence of shops on the high street has also extended to firms such as Samsung, Dyson and Seat which previously sold through stockists but are now reaching customers directly through their own store networks.

Mark Charlton, head of forecasting and research at Colliers, said: “The trend for [online retailers] to take physical stores will undoubtedly accelerate as increased online competition and lower rates of sales growth requires them to find a competitive edge.”