Retailers see 'click and mortar' as way to beat Amazon

Tue Oct 8, 2013 3:19pm EDT
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By Emma Thomasson and Dominique Vidalon

PARIS (Reuters) - Traditional stores can take on e-commerce and keep their major role by reinventing themselves faster to best combine shopping in stores and online, top retailers said on Tuesday.

Despite the challenge from players like Amazon, 68 percent of retailers say stores remain the most important channel for shoppers and one in three plan to expand their footprint, according to a survey by the Australian Centre of Retail Studies released at a conference in the French capital.

"I am totally convinced that click and mortar is the future," said Georges Plassat, the head of world number two retailer Carrefour, referring to the combination of online sales and shopping in stores.

He told the three-day World Retail Congress that more than two thirds of his group's sales are still in-store.

"There is a dream for people working purely in the Internet that they will be delivering everybody on a daily basis a liter of milk. This is totally a dream and could become a nightmare because of the cost of energy."

Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire said Europe's biggest home improvements retailer is overhauling store layout and using space for events like do-it-yourself classes.

"I can't realistically outrange Amazon. What I can do is make my range better curated and framed," he said.

Kingfisher staff also suggest items to people collecting online goods, like brushes and dust sheets with paints, he said.   Continued...

A zoomed image of a computer screen showing the Amazon logo is seen in Vienna November 26, 2012. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader