Comment: Boohoo’s Dorothy Perkins purchase – Are e-commerce giants buying out the high street?

Today’s news of Boohoo acquiring Dorothy Perkins and Burtons, the final sale and piece of the puzzle of the Arcadia Group, serves as a warning towards businesses that have not yet embraced e-commerce.

Although the pandemic played a big part in driving the nail through Arcadia Group’s coffin, it is the sad conclusion of businesses that failed to embrace the future of retail as offline sales steadily decreased and physical stores were eventually deemed not part of Boohoo’s long-term strategy.

Asos’ recent purchase of the Topshop group of stores is part of the business’ strategy to “accelerate our multi-brand platform strategy” – although they too chose not to take on the bricks and mortar stores.

But these shouldn’t be used as more ‘death of the highstreet’ stories.

Zoom fatigue and cabin fever have set in. Consumers are craving the face-to-face retail experience now more than ever, with 44% of consumers planning to start shopping at retail stores as soon as businesses reopen.

While shifting to e-commerce may be one of the only ways businesses survive in the short-term – now is not the time to tear down brick and mortar stores.

There’s no doubting the sudden surge of socially-distanced footfall on UK highstreets as more and more people demand the physical experience that the ‘old fashioned’ way of shopping brings.

Those retailers that will not just survive, but thrive in the long-term will be those that can offer consumers a variety of different experiences – embracing a model built on the quality of the physical experience underpinned by the speed and efficiency of buying online.

Rob van den Heuvel, CEO at Sendcloud