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COVID-19 is driving the tech transformation of retail

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From fashion to food, much of the retail industry as we know it is living on borrowed time. The global pandemic is serving only to accelerate a wave of technological transformation that is already washing over the industry, says Paul Cuatrecasas, CEO of Aquaa Partners and Author of Go Tech or Go Extinct.

In 2019 the UK retail industry employed 2.9 million people, recorded £394 billion worth of sales, and accounted for one-third of all consumer spending. Despite the industry's size and scale, however, the challenges confronting large areas of it are vast. Even before the global pandemic the shifts in the industry's tectonic plates were sizeable. Coronavirus is only accelerating this trend.

Resilience in the face of changing consumer demand

Driving the transformation is the industry's need to strengthen its resilience to cope with shifting patterns in consumer needs and behaviour. Technology, particularly as an enabler of automation, has been a primary driver in enhancing resilience and accelerating market value. Evidence of this is abundant: just look at the surge of e-commerce and the decline of the high street...

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