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UK Retailers Must Woo Baby Boomers, Study Indicates

Shoppers over 55 are set to dominate the UK’s retail market, according to reports from retail market researchers Conlumino–in the next decade, retiring Baby Boomers will represent nearly two-thirds of sales growth in Britain. The report predicts that the UK will see a 2.4% annual sales growth in the next ten years, making shoppers in their golden years all the more vital to woo.

The report was commissioned by David Atkins, chief executive of shopping mall developer Hammerson. Atkins told the Guardian that car parking will be made more convenient, and additional restaurants and movie theaters will be added to accommodate the aging population–“catering and leisure” facilities, which currently make up about 15% of Hammerson shopping malls, will be brought closer to 25%.

The attraction of elderly-accessible activities, according to the report, may also be bad news for the already-suffering British “high streets”–centralized shopping districts populated by independent shops. Shopping is now more about “the experience,” Atkins said, which he believes malls can provide more conveniently than high streets.

Retailers will also find this aging generation more challenging to please than earlier retirees, according to Conlumino’s Neil Saunders, who called them more savvy, more demanding, and more attuned to fashion trends. “The older shopper of tomorrow,” he concluded, “is very different from today.”