Is Selfridges’ sustainability vision a sound business model?

At Retail Connections, we are 100% behind Selfridges’ sustainability pledge to base at least half of its transactions based on resale, repair, rental or refills by 2030. Its “Reselfridges” initiative is all about changing the way people shop. What we wonder is whether they can actually turn a profit pursuing this pledge.

Helping to change consumers’ perspective on shopping is a noble enterprise if a little misguided because the research that supports it is two-faced – many consumers say they will pay a premium for sustainably sourced goods but there is no research on what they actually did at the point of sale. We suspect that noble words are not always followed by noble actions, and inflation is likely to see many consumers turn away from doing the right thing to paying the lowest price.

We don’t seek to diss noble intentions just for the sake of it. It’s just that so much retail media commentary has become polarised between one view that the future of the store is going to be amazing, to the other view that stores are on their way out. No one takes a breath to talk about what will really happen, which of course as always is somewhere in the middle.

This is why going to industry events is so important. While the politicians, idealogues and analysts take the polar views, the people talk about the middle ground, and that is where reality lies.

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