Debenhams chairman: Retailers must focus on “service, not stuff”

Sir Ian Cheshire, the chairman of Debenhams, said retailers need to do more than just sell “stuff” in order to survive in today’s challenging retail market.

Speaking at the World Retail Congress in Dubai, Cheshire advised retailers to concentrate on providing “real services” and giving customers – particularly millennials – great experiences, rather than focusing on just selling goods.

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He said that in the age of the internet and social media, which have made it hard for bricks-and-mortar retailers to compete with online rivals, retailers needed to up their game in order to be “winners”.

“The next generation is behaving differently, spending differently and interacting differently,” he said.

“To them it is experience, not stuff that matters. Just showing up with stuff and hoping someone is going buy it doesn’t cut it anymore.”

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