By and  on September 29, 2011

BERLIN — The future is mobile, localized and personal in a seamlessly integrated omni-channel retail world, according to speakers and attendees at the 2011 World Retail Congress, which closed here Wednesday.

Despite Eurozone jitters and overall economic uncertainty, the mood at the three-day event was more “get up and go” than doom and gloom. Brick-and-mortar is far from dead, with surveys presented at the congress indicating even digital natives see physical stores in their shopping future. However, to keep them healthy, the prescription now calls for an intensified focus on private brands with a clear profile (versus yesteryear’s faceless private labels), and using technology to allow for expanded merchandise offerings in smaller stores. As Myer Ltd. chief executive officer Bernie Brookes summed it up, “Make your smallest store your largest store by having complete access to your assortment online, at the store.”

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