The Future Retail Challenge student competition has become an established and popular part of the World Retail Congress. Now in its 9th year, the Future Retail Challenge seeks to promote the future talent in the retail industry across the world. The World Retail Congress partners with retail colleges around the world that are in turn supported by the industry. The Future Retail Challenge aims to promote future retail talent, the work that these colleges do, the range of talented students they are preparing for careers in retailing and to bring the students’ fresh thinking and new ideas on retail into the Congress itself.
Around the world, retailing is facing enormous change and major structural challenges as consumers migrate to online channels in preference to stores or malls. The effect of this is already being felt with increasing store closures and pressure on traditional shopping malls. This is leading to a growing number of retail commentators stating that the appeal of the physical retail space is declining irretrievably.
However, against this negative picture we are also seeing a very positive grass-roots level movement in cities around the world where entrepreneurial developers and businesses have taken over redundant spaces of different kinds to create exciting new consumer destinations. New retail formats can form part of these new experiences as well as food and drink offers, cinema, night clubs and other entertainment. The effect has been to draw in consumers, often young consumers, which is then helping breathe new life back into urban areas.
The competing teams in this year’s Future Retail Challenge are tasked with finding a location or building (where their college is located) that is currently empty or no longer being fully utilised. Their task is to develop a strategy and creative approach to revive completely the chosen building so that it could become a new consumer experience.