A city without retail is like… champagne without bubbles


No matter the changes in the industry and cities, retail will always play a role. There will be a new balance between culture offerings, gastronomy, work places and retail. The feeling of well-being in a city is becoming more important than purely providing the logistics infrastructure for goods.




Starbucks’ new store in Tokyo collaborated with the Think Lab and features several preservable workspaces. The smart lounges or individual booths can be booked for 40 min and aim at meeting the neighborhood needs beyond the serving of coffee. By going where people already are Think Lab good benefits from the ecosystem and foot traffic that Starbucks had already build.

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You need local relevance and you need to add value to the customers’ journeys where your customers are. For us, this clearly entails the provision of optician expertise offline. When many retailers do that at one place, not only customers benefit, but also city centers.

Nils Vortmann

Mister Spex

With regards to retail, city centres are currently experiencing a downward trend. This is mainly because of too high rents, chain stores, interchangeability. The process is both self-reinforcing and self-destructive. Municipalities and cities have a much harder time developing an overarching concept for the end customer than retailers do – there are simply too many different interests in play. We will use space differently in the future and need to increase city centers’ quality of stay again – so this can be a good trend.

Simon Drees

Outletcity Metzingen

As retailers, we are challenged. It is our task to create a positive shopping experience. But it won’t work if politicians don’t set the right course. This also involves issues such as mobility and the management of a well-balanced urban mix. So the municipalities and cities are also challenged. We are taking a close look at some cities, sometimes with great concern, but we remain in constant dialogue – you can’t do it alone.

Frank Postel


City centers are not shopping streets per se – and they will not die out as a result of the decline of retail. Rather it is the reduction of theses urban spaces to commercial buildings and retail that have led to city centers which are deserted at evening hours and nights.

Yes, I would miss something! It’s the combination of stores, caf├ęs, market stalls, snack bars and the old “church tower” that makes it so cozy. When I go on a shopping tour, it’s comparable to a vacation trip for me, one in which I want to experience with all my senses…

I don’t quite know if I truly want to hold on to the old idea of a high street. I ask myself “do we still need that today?”. I actually like the idea of dark stores and ghost stores. I have merchandise where people live, and can distribute it relatively quickly. The inner city has something to do with living space, where people are supposed to spend time. Commercial consumption should take up less space in our lives than it did in the past.

Dirk Bockelmann


In the long run, there will not be as many shops in the city center as before. How will this look like in the future? Today there are different types of usage. The properties in the city centre offer a variety of uses from retail, office space, health and residential. In addition, there are also offers for entertainment. The combination of different life aspects leads to a meaningful use of the square metres. And this is attracting the customers in the city centres.

I think that the municipalities have not yet recognised this necessity. That means it has to happen at the private sector level, that is already happening today. The inner city has been declared dead so many times and has always found itself anew. But it must be possible to allow other types of use.

Andreas Hauff

Kriton Immobilien

The mix of retail, restaurants, meeting places as well as the parks and public squares is what creates the ecosystem called ‘city center’. If one of the participants is missing, the ecosystem slowly but surely collapses.

Dirk Bachmann

Deutsche Telekom

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