Some bright spark came up with the idea. We all read about the ironic trend that turned breakfast cereal into a hipster treat and chances are you saw the pictures of Gary and Alan Keery, the photogenic chuckle brothers, who opened the Cereal Killer Cafe on London’s hip Brick Lane. We now also know that those bowls of puffs, pops, flakes and crunchies we woke up to every morning in the 70s, 80s and 90s were poisoning us of course, but those of us who ventured to the CKC were happy to overlook all that to become children once again. Children with bushy beards, that is.

This is not good news for cereal manufacturers and with sales in steep decline the boardroom at Kellogg’s must have been thick with anxiety. Until that is the bright spark piped up with an idea. Maybe, just maybe he stuttered, Kellogg’s could copy the Leery boys and make cereal cool again?

It probably took a good year to launch Kellogg’s NYC in Times Square so, naturally, I was eager to check it out. It must at least be fun, whacky even…you know how over excited big corporations get with the whole pop up thing.

Sweet Jesus it is piss-poor. It looks like it was built by Snap, Crackle and Pop Associates with a design that’s more prison canteen than concept restaurant. In fact, there is no concept here at all. The logo is painted on the white brick wall in a kind of cornflake beige, with the only colour coming from a row of red, numbered, cubby holes where you collect your bowl at the sound of a buzzer. At the counter the prison vibe continues: on thick aluminium trays, four mock up meals, designed by Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, look so unappetising even Ivan Denisovich would have second thoughts. This place is not just miserable it actually haemorrhages any positive energy there is in there straight back out onto Times Square. And there’s not much: a few lonely souls sup from spoons with their heads bowed low, presumably wondering what they had done to deserve such punishment.

But just imagine what could have been achieved here. Kellogg’s is steeped in a rich, kitsch visual heritage that stretches from Tony the Tiger, Coco the Monkey and The Flintstones through to the iconography of the Corn Flakes packs and Special K logos. Remember the excitement we felt when those assortment fun packs were presented at the breakfast table on special holidays? That’s what Kellogg’s could have recreated at this pop up, but instead they thought eating cereal during the day was ironic enough. Oh dear, oh dear.

The result is a concept, with good intent and considerable investment, that has stripped Kellogg’s of any residue goodwill it might have had left over from its glory years. This place is like watching your depressed uncle pretending to enjoy a kid’s party when you know he just wants to go upstairs and hang himself.

But enough of all this, let’s be helpful. Here are a few tips for next time:

1. Momofuku Milk Bar link up. A terrific brand but no one on Times Square has heard of it. It may have street-cred but not on 42nd Street.

2. Design. Well, there isn’t any. Snap, Crackle and Pop Associates clearly didn’t turn up. Pick a proper creative agency that’s in tune with your bold and colourful heritage.

3. Think big. Understand where the beauty and energy of your brand really lies and have fun with it. Just imagine what Warhol or Koons would have done. You could even afford the latter, although I realise the former is unavailable.

4. Aim for PR shock waves rather than footfall. If you don’t believe me ask Prada. Everyone heard about the Prada store in the Texas desert. Number of visitors? Half a dozen. And that includes the photographer. 

5. Next time ask me. I’ll find you the cleverest, most creative guys in the retail business and together we’ll build you a concept that gives you heaped dessert spoons of cool.

Thanks for listening. Now pass the toast.

Join me on Twitter for daily retail rants @retailfuturist and read more of my blogs here:

  Howard Saunders   Jul 27, 2016   Blog, Brand, Food, Uncategorized   1 Comment   Read More

GATWICK REVISITED: credit where credit’s due

In October last year I had the misfortune to pass through Gatwick South Terminal on route to meet a client in Portugal. I say ‘pass through’ intentionally, as I tried hard not to touch the sides. The signature bar was a hideous, sticky Wetherspoons that looked like it had been shipped in from Blackpool along with the locals, and there was nowhere for a sit down lunch, unless you’re pubescent and still think Nando’s is a treat. How can an international hub so critical to Britain’s growth get away with it, I thought? How can Gatwick seriously lobby government without sniggering into their handkerchiefs at the thought of anyone grown up actually coming to check them out? You can read the original rant here.

Good old England is so open minded and future focussed that we’ve only spent several decades cogitating as to where to put this extra runway we so badly need. And we still haven’t made a decision. Never you mind that China has 66 new airports planned over the next five years (airports not runways, remember) and is currently expanding a further 100 existing airports. Oh well, I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan or something.

So, having recently visited Gatwick again, I have to say that things at South Terminal have much improved. The dreadful British public are still there of course, in their hordes. The dull of eye and loud of mouth clamour over all sorts of pre-flight crap when they’re in holiday mode, so it certainly feels like the place is making money at least. But bang in the middle of the upper concourse there’s a bright new bar exactly where it should be. Lamely titled The London Bar, presumably because it’s in Crawley, it is nonetheless a vast improvement serving contemporary cocktails, in a somewhat surly fashion, as is the wont of the younger generation.

Better still, I’m pleased to say the star of the show is no longer the utterly cynical and fictional Wondertree, it is a real restaurant, from a real living chef. Grain Store is a breath of fresh air and is lifted directly from hip Granary Square in London’s King’s Cross, beneath the glorious new Central St Martin’s College of Art. It claims to source all its meat and veg within a thirty mile radius of the airport, but it’s not until you learn that Chef Bruno Loubet refuses to serve beef (due to the damage beef farming does to the planet) that you realise something new is happening here. Grain Store is all about making vegetables the focus of the plate, not a side dish. And it does so very well indeed. It’s not the organic thing that makes it so appealing, it’s simply the fact that there’s an idea, a point of view, behind the menu. Most airport restaurants are happy to churn out burgers and pizza under the beady eyed gaze of accountants that get over excited by margins and portion control.

Many of the staff here are reassuringly pink and pimply, which is lovely because it means that like the food and the beer they too are home grown and fairly local. And they’re nicely brought up too so they can talk about the provenance of things without getting embarrassed.

I’d like to think that somehow my October rant found its way onto the Gatwick board, where a red faced businessman shook a printout of my words, banged the table and shouted ‘We need to do something…and fast!’ Sadly, I know how long it takes to pull a deal like this together, so credit where credit’s due.

Now that we have a new, energized PM there’s a much better chance we’ll actually get a decision on this damn runway. So good luck Gatwick.

Join me on Twitter for daily retail rants @retailfuturist and read more of my blogs here:

  Howard Saunders   Jul 14, 2016   Food, gourmet, Uncategorized   2 Comments   Read More


Stand barefoot in the middle of Oxford Street or Fifth Avenue and if you don’t get hit by a red Routemaster or a yellow cab you’ll surely feel the ground rumble beneath you. You are smack-bang in the middle of the retail revolution and it’s gathering momentum at a spine-tingling pace. Look up from your iPhone for a minute and you can watch the tsunami crashing down the street towards you. It’s already washed away the likes of BHS, Austin Reed and Joe Fresh, and there are plenty more in its path. Watch in horror as the waves smash into the windows of Gap, Old Navy, Next, Accessorize, J Crew, Macy’s, Sears, Banana Republic, Sports Authority, American Apparel and Ben Sherman, leaving long term, if not fatal damage.

But the rumblings of change are not really out there as much as they are in here of course, inside us. We expect more than the mainstream and the mediocre now. These days we hold our money tighter and consider things more carefully. Perhaps that’s why the first wave of change came from food. We have a very personal relationship with the stuff we put in our bodies, for obvious reasons, and since we eat three times a day, food was the fastest to offer us alternatives.

Hot on the heels of food, the latest market to react, surprisingly, is not fashion but home. Put it down to cocooning, home-peacocking or simply the reaction to fifty years of polyester sofas and avocado bathrooms, we are willing to invest in our homes like never before. As The Home Depot, B&Q and Homebase struggle to cling on to a dying market, the new wave of home improvement stores has a radical idea: Instead of selling us the ingredients, they sell the whole damn meal. And what’s more, they’ll come and cook it for us too. Suddenly the sorts of bathrooms you thought were the preserve of spa resorts can be yours, assuming you have the cash. Kitchens that out-Kardashian the Kardashians can now be bought and installed by the new Lowe’s, for example, the DIY chain that realised telling busy Manhattanites to ‘do it yourself’ is impossible as well as downright rude.

There’s an audible whir of activity in the home space in New York at the moment. Earlier this year Kate Spade launched her signature cutesy home concept. Then trend-setting Restoration Hardware, which became the RH Gallery a year ago, surprised the market again recently with the launch of its RH Modern collection, and impressive it is too. Madura the French decor brand has a stylish new store on Broadway alongside Ethan Allen which is due to open an 8000 square feet flagship very soon. Italian furniture designer Poliform will also shortly open a 10,000 square feet store with design studio a few blocks north on Madison Avenue next to Roche Bobois, Minotti and Natuzzi. And Spanish kitchen and bath shop Porcelanosa recently opened a $40 million Sir Norman Foster designed showroom at the crux of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Even the groundbreaking Samsung 837 store has a home section showcasing smart fridges and robot vacuum cleaners alongside its virtual reality playground.

But the biggest fanfare recently was reserved for the opening of the much heralded Pirch, a brand with a serious reputation to maintain, especially when landing in busy, cynical Manhattan. It does not disappoint. Three floors of home glamour that border on the pornographic. Mixer taps the size of cherry-pickers, showers and steam rooms you can actually shower in, refrigerators only slightly smaller than a terraced house, barbecue grills so beautiful you could never possibly scrunch newspaper into them, ovens seemingly hewn from from one solid lump of iron that are so sexy you feel your underwear tighten. Yes, all the rooms are ball-achingly seductive, but the focus is not the space. It’s us. Really. From the coffee bar at the entrance through to the consultation rooms and the five full-time chefs whose job is both to entertain and educate, their philosophy is to make you feel worthy of a Pirch interior. I guarantee not a single customer ever leaves this store saying ‘Yeah, it’s ok, but I’ll stick with my squeaky Melamine.’ The only obstacle between you and a Pirch life is the greenback, and in a market that has been so stale, for so long, that alone is quite some achievement.

Pirch is sure to go down a storm here in New York. Previously, if you wanted a Sub-Zero fridge you could stroke one at a showroom on 58th Street, but you’d have to buy it through PC Richards. That’s like watching your Fortnum & Mason hamper being delivered from a Tesco van.

If you think my Pirch enthusiasm is tad over excited then let me explain. By way of contrast, when I visited Sir Norm’s beautiful Porcelanosa flagship, the security guard/doorman (certainly no greeter) scowled as if to warn me not to try shoplifting a bathtub. Porcelanosa obviously considers itself terribly posh, but we Brits are more familiar with its store on The Purley Way in Croydon. Enough said.

The bar has been raised and the front door is wide open. We have given up doing it ourselves because we were crap at it and it made our houses look ordinary. Now we want our homes to reflect the way we think we should feel about ourselves. The death of mediocrity just took another step forward.

To better understand the implications of all this on your own business email me:

Join me on Twitter for daily retail rants @retailfuturist and read more of my blogs here:

  Howard Saunders   Jun 02, 2016   Future, Retail, Uncategorized   0 Comment   Read More


When did retail turn into a science? Browse the list of upcoming trade conferences and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a branch of physics. It’s even worse when you look at the pseudo scientific jargon they use at ‘digital commerce’ seminars. It’s all algorithmic disruption, omni-channel touch-points, digital footprints, universal wallets, shopping funnels, micro-conversions, journey maps, crypto-currencies, connected spaces, content silos, click-throughs, and cyborg face-wash. I made that last one up, but it’s only a matter of time. We don’t sell stuff any more, we trigger conversion with the help of beacon technology in order to reduce friction. Marketeers were always jargon-junkies but things have become much worse recently.

It’s as if at some point in the last three years or so, the old guard of retail, the battered, the bruised and the bewildered, slid slowly down the wall weeping as he handed over the keys of the store to the nerdy millennial in the white lab coat.

For despite its impressive vocabulary, most of this pseudo-science just seems too linear, too simplistic, as if the ultimate aim of data analysis is to predict exactly what the consumer is thinking before she does. In an ideal world I’d imagine these retail nerds would have each of us followed by a personal drone that maps our every eye movement as we open our wardrobe in the morning or scan the kitchen cupboard in the hope of inspiration for dinner. Presumably, this data is then sent back to Nerdist HQ where giant matrix diagrams are decoded. ‘SOUP!’ The humanoid voice eventually utters. ‘She wants soup!’

Surely we can do better than this pointless quest to crack the enigma code of retail? Shopping is not a science but an emotional dance, a nuanced game of aspiration, respect, reward and relevance: emotional needs, not practical. There’s no code to be cracked here, anymore than there is in our personal relationships.

Since science is front of mind, here’s an experiment: Take two identical universes, A&B. In Universe A it’s a sunny day. You meet a good friend in town for coffee and after you say goodbye, you wander into the department store before heading home. As you browse the watches/jewellery/bags the assistant catches your eye and greets you with a warm smile. She keeps a polite distance until you start to show more interest. She wanders over and gently, but enthusiastically, tells you that they’ve only just received that particular model. She shows a genuine knowledge and passion for the brand, and as you chat you end up comparing notes on earlier models you both liked. She opens the cabinet to give you a closer look and lovingly points out some of the features. She’s not pushy, and as she goes to put it back you stop her and try it on. It looks good in the light and you have been promising yourself a reward for a few weeks now. Sold.

In Universe B it’s not quite so sunny. The same girl is there, only this time she’s slightly distracted, though she still smiles as she clocks you lingering. She finishes with her customer and walks briskly over. She asks if you’re interested in seeing anything and you straighten up to reply ‘It’s fine thanks, I’m just browsing.’ No sale.

The differences between the two scenarios are subtle, very subtle but nonetheless crucial. The question I’m interested in then, is how do we build that emotional connection for digital commerce? Put simply, how do we make the sun shine online?

The pinnacle of retail intelligence is not prediction, the assumption that every purchase has an invisible trolley wire stretched taut from brand awareness all the way to the checkout, ticking all the boxes along the route: Availability? Check. Colour? Check. Price? Check. Add to cart. This digital route to the checkout has clearly modelled itself on the supermarket, a format which, ironically, is in decline in the real world. In digital supermarkets you can be sure that everything is neatly laid out in order of price, or colour, or size: an endless aisle of stuff. Far too many brands have simply thrown us the keys to the warehouse, and all we can do is wander back and forth, up and down the aisles until we have seen absolutely everything. That’s no way to shop.

If we dissect the retail process too much we’re in danger of watching it disintegrate before our eyes. Reward, surprise, emotional connection, desire, spontaneity, elation and relevance are far too wriggly and intangible to be pinned to a cutting board like a dead frog. Understanding shopper behaviour should not be about predicting the inevitable (soup!) it should be inspiring us to venture into new territory, showing us things we hadn’t planned to see, didn’t know about, things that weren’t on our radar.

They’re very busy in the backroom right now with all their algorithms, plug-ins, bots and beacons…but it’s still the backroom. Whatever new channels of brand awareness emerge, whether it’s personally interactive billboards or pop-up chatbots, it still comes down to three things: original visuals, engaging copy and emotive sound. Millennials and Gen Z’ers may flit across devices like a bi-polar grasshopper but that doesn’t mean they’ll be seduced by equally frenetic snippets of communication.     

Building a more emotional connection online is what the cleverest brands are already learning to do: online communities that make you feel you’re a part of something, instead of just being told ‘what’s new’. Shouty pop-up intrusions are being replaced by powerful, warm, engaging stories that keep a respectful distance before inviting you in. And then once inside, the online world can offer so much more than the offline: meet our designers, visit our factory, ask us questions, hear our philosophy, see our plans for the future, tell us your own opinions and ideas.   

After all, retail is not rocket science. In fact, it’s not science at all. Like anything that answers human, emotional needs, it’s an art. 

Join me on Twitter for daily retail rants @retailfuturist and read more of my blogs here:

  Howard Saunders   Apr 27, 2016   Retail, shopping, Uncategorized   2 Comments   Read More

Forget the High Street. MICROTOWNS are where the action is


It begins over a beer. A couple of guys agree to try brewing their own and when that goes well they want their own brewery. They settle on a silly name, rent a warehouse on a disused industrial estate and within a couple of years have opened a shop, a bar and been joined by an arty florist, a trendy barber, a funky fashion designer and a gourmet hot dog stand. And so a Microtown is born, and despite a decade of urban doom and gloom these hipstery green shoots are popping up right across the planet, as an alternative to the homogenised high street.

Governments of all shades, local authorities, as well as private landlords, have failed our communities. They continue to milk retail for every last drop in spite of the biggest global financial crisis in history. They act as if nothing has changed and that eventually everything will return to how it once was. It won’t. Relentless rents, rates, taxes and parking penalties are how they pay respect to those that fed them when times were good. Worse, they refuse to acknowledge that this is a new age, the digital age, where the gentlest swipe of a thumb sees your groceries delivered, your washing machine replaced. Even our richest, busiest town centres are locked in a state of stasis, where only ubiquitous chain-stores are willing to invest. And too many of these are clinging on simply because they must be seen to be there.


If you were lucky your urban regeneration was taken care of by Westfield, Land Securities or Lendlease who stitched your town centre together with their polished marble and glazed roofs. But even here, with all this shiny shopping centre packaging it’s hard to attract independent brands that might bring something fresh to the mix. So, with some notable exceptions, an enormous number of our city centres are either decimated, dying or just plain dull.

Thankfully nature has a way of responding to disaster. Razed forests become fertile ground for new shrubs, not quite the ancient old oaks we grew up with and believed were immortal, but new plants that bring fresh colour for a different age.

The term Microtown was originally coined to describe a place that had bled to near-death because its citizens abandoned it to work elsewhere, so that it became a tiny, broken version of its former self; a kind of pre-ghost town. I’ve hijacked the term to describe something far more significant: the nuclei that is the genesis of new communities. Those edge of town micro-brewers and their chums are actually pioneers building our future, re-awakening our shopping streets, and in the process, redefining retail itself. They have already shifted the centre of gravity away from the mediocrity at the heart of so many towns, and rest assured the Microtown movement will gather momentum as other young, retail enthusiasts join the fun.

Let me take to you half a dozen of my favourite Microtowns that I visited in the last year.

City Works Depot, Auckland, New Zealand

Despite being surrounded by Hobbitesque hills and lakes, Auckland city centre is a pitiful mess, a tatty selection of bewildered brands and 1980s fascias, huddled around a mundane and moribund department store. But a few hundred yards from the centre, City Works Depot is a desperately needed breath of fresh air.

The old Auckland Council Workshops are now home to microbrewery and bar, Brothers Beer with 18 beers on tap, a pizza oven and a big squishy sofa, Foodtruck Garage which began life as a TV series peddling healthier fast food, the fabulous Odettes where I had one of the best meals in a very long time straight from their wood-fired oven, the Botanist cafe and florist, Scratch Bakers, Three Beans Roastery coffee and Best Ugly for Montreal style, wood-fired bagels. This scruffy little industrial estate puts the town centre to shame.

Raleigh Warehouse District, Raleigh, North Carolina

Similar to CWD above, Raleigh’s Warehouse District is an insignificant row of industrial sheds and old railway depots alongside a rather useful car park (shock horror) that’s become the coolest spot in town. The stars here are the Videri Chocolate factory for tours and tastings, the Raleigh Denim factory (watch your jeans being made) Tasty Beverage, a craft beer general store & bar, Crank Arm Brewery, The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium (there’s a theme emerging) and The Pit Authentic Barbecue. And before you think there’s a gender bias here, all the customers I saw at the bar in Tasty were female, millennials too for that matter. These girls clearly have a thing for ‘authentic’ beer and have left the Miller Lite to the middle aged men. (Miller has targeted men for fifty years and must feel they’re missing out now)

Cass Corridor, Detroit

Although it’s now being marketed as Woodward Square (sounds too posh, will never catch on) the vibe here is still punk-bohemian even though in 2013 Shinola landed right opposite the Motor City Brewing Works to help smarten things up. In 2015 in a move that comes directly from cool heaven, Detroit born Jack White (of the White Stripes) set up shop next door. And guess what his Third Man Records label is doing here? Pressing vinyl. I know, you couldn’t make it up. Read more about my thoughts on Detroit here:

Mission, San Francisco

With a long and rich history of art, music and food, Mission’s rebirth is much more mature than the other districts I visited. Many would say that gentrification has gone a step too far, bringing high rents and the wrong sorts to the neighbourhood. But what impressed me so much was the beautifully elegant retail eco-system that has emerged. The hipster baker, Craftsman & Wolves, bakes bread for Mission Cheese, the cheese and wine bar next door. Dandelion Chocolate, the small batch factory, sells coffee from beans supplied by Four Barrels just up the road. In turn, Four Barrels uses Dandelion chocolate. Several of the stores run their deliveries on bikes built by Mission Bike. If you haven’t heard of Trumpton, Google it. The collaborative culture here is a heartwarming reminder that good retail is all about community.

Schanze, Hamburg

Hamburg is such an elegant city. I spent three days walking it and I can honestly say that every square meter has been thoroughly thought through and precisely planned; every facade elegantly up-lit, every sign hangs squarely in an appropriately tasteful font. The problem is, it’s boring. The city centre has no nooks and crannies, no quirky coffee bars or cafes hidden down lanes asking to be explored. Presumably this is why celebrity chef Tim Malzer set up his Bullerei restaurant on the edge of town, to escape the tidiness. It’s not like he couldn’t afford a flash restaurant with a lovely up-lit stone facade overlooking one of the canals, but it’s just not hip hanging out with Hugo Boss and Massimo Dutti. Sometimes it takes a single entrepreneur to kickstart an alternative town centre, and thank ‘Gott’ he did. As soon as I stepped into his converted abattoir (yes, really) I could see this was where all the beautiful people had been hiding. (I’d wondered why I hadn’t seen any) The Bullerei restaurant is clearly the main attraction but the area is developing fast and there are plenty of other things to enjoy, like the Spanish wine store, The Burger Lab, Cafe Elbgold with its coffee roastery and shop, and of course, Altes Madchen, a glorious brewhouse and beerhall inside an old warehouse, serving burgers, brisket and, yes, craft beer.

The Funk Zone, Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara isn’t a place that looks like it’s struggling. No this is not an Auckland or a Detroit. The streets here are lined with palm trees and giant magenta flowers that make a pretty poor attempt at screening the sprawling haciendas that oversee the ocean. Like Hamburg, the town centre is almost perfect. In fact, the architecture is so ridiculously cute that walking up State Street feels like you’re in an outdoor shopping mall, safe in the ubiquity you’d expect from a glamorous holiday spot. But if you want somewhere a little edgier head just east of State Street to what is cringingly known as the Funk Zone. The heart of the zone is The Lark, a signature restaurant in a disused fish market, serving ultra trendy local dishes on long communal tables raised from the stone floor by rusty reclaimed radiators. Peek through the window behind the bar for a glimpse of the stunning Wine Collective rooms, for tasting and celebrating an endless range of local wines. Across the yard is a hip pizza place, Lucky Penny, as well as Le Marchands, the wine bar and merchant. Helena Avenue, a trendy artisan bakery is opening soon too. All of the above were created by Acme Ventures, a clever bunch of Barbarians who know what people want, and that they won’t find it on State Street. Alongside the Acme brands there are other restaurants, coffee shops, the Surf Museum (I have no idea) and enough galleries to satiate the most pretentiously arty appetite. Most memorable of all is the magnificent Guitar Bar where they actually encourage you just to hang out. It’s so obvious this is where the action is and, by contrast, how staid and stuck in the nineties the town centre has become.

Central Park, Sydney

Look, Sydney is a beautiful city. The setting, the climate and the relentless optimism all make for a world class city, no doubt. But the retail? Well, most of it feels like 1980’s Birmingham, lots of cheesy shoe shops and ‘boutiques’ with dated mannequins in the window. Ok, so I’m being cruel, but until Westfield rebuilt its epicentre in 2010 they’d never seen a contemporary shop-fit or a sign that wasn’t back illuminated. That’s why the new Central Park development, just ten minutes south of the city centre, is so uplifting. Far from being the creation of a beardy, beer-entrepreneur, this is a big money scheme from Greencliff, Frasers Property and Sekisui House. Last September, on opening day, I was privileged enough to be taken on a personal tour by the top man, Dr Stanley Quek. A gentle soul, he proudly showed me the new park, Halo, its giant kinetic sculpture, the beautiful Jean Nouvel designed apartments behind a living wall, the cantilevered sun-reflector or ‘heliostat’ that directs light into the atrium of the shopping centre, the reborn pub and brewery that’s become The Old Clare Hotel with rooftop lido, Jason Atherton’s gorgeous new restaurant Kensington Street Social (his first Sydney foray) and perhaps best of all, the tiny, one-up, one-down, workmen’s cottages that he’s turned into galleries, independent shops and cafes. Here is a developer who understands what it takes to build a community, a man who knows that authentic retail must always be at its heart.

So you see, you can’t kill community, though local government has done a decent job in trying. As I’ve said a thousand times, retail is the lifeblood of our communities and if town centres remain frigid to the oxygen of innovation, then bright young retail entrepreneurs will set up shop elsewhere.

This blog is a summary of a series of talks Howard has given recently on retail’s role in urban regeneration. If you’d like him to inspire your team with the world’s most cutting edge retail email:

“Since publishing this blog I’ve received dozens of emails telling me of other Microtowns that are springing up around the world. I’m now building a list of them all, so please email me with any other suggestions. Thanks!”


Join me on Twitter for daily retail rants @retailfuturist and read more of my blogs here:

  Howard Saunders   Apr 07, 2016   Uncategorized   0 Comment   Read More