If retailers do not adapt, they will perish, according to the head of retail at Colliers International, Michael Bate.

If retailers do not adapt, they will perish, according to the head of retail at Colliers International, Michael Bate. Photo: Glenn Hunt

RETAILERS need to adapt to market changes more swiftly as pressure mounts from prickly consumers who now prefer the internet, according to leasing experts.

But in the lead-up to Christmas, and with the hope of another drop in interest rates, consumers are said to be looking to spend up this year.

The eighth edition of the Recommended Retail Practice report from AMP Capital Shopping Centres and researcher Directional Insights shows clothes and shoes are back in favour.

AMP Capital Shopping Centres managing director Bryan Hynes said the report asked people whether they preferred to shop online, in-store, or a combination of the two. ''In the majority of categories, the number of Australians planning to shop 'in-store only' remained stable or increased, with shoppers preferring to visit stores when looking for everyday fashion, big-ticket furniture and electrical items, and household goods,'' Mr Hynes said.

''This indicates there is an opportunity for bricks-and-mortar retailers to retain and broaden their customer base provided they offer a superior in-store experience.

''Retailers must not view a return to shops as a licence to continue 'business as usual'. While online retail is often convenient for certain items, there are signs of shoppers returning to stores that can give them an in-store experience.'' Mr Hynes said people still wanted to shop, but retailers and landlords had to make it more enjoyable. It was like putting the ''theatre'' back into shopping.

If retailers do not adapt, they will perish, according to the head of retail at Colliers International, Michael Bate. Retailers least affected by the current trading environment have been food and beverage outlets, since these are hard to sell online. ''But food outlets, such as supermarkets, have also been smart enough to adapt to new technology by allowing customers to pre-order goods online and pick them up later,'' Mr Bate says in his latest report, Talking Shop.

''They've added another convenience level for supermarket shopping.''