// Ex-Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King “optimistic” about the future of high streets but warns on a tough period shopping centres
// He believes customers and retailers will quickly adapt to social distancing and extra health and hygiene measures
Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King has said he is “optimistic” about the future of high streets but warned of a tough period ahead for shopping centres.
King, who is currently a non-executive director at Marks & Spencer, said he believes customers and retailers will quickly adapt to changes on high streets caused by the coronavirus – namely social distancing and extra health and hygiene measures.
“People will continue to walk down the high street safely and choose to go into stores that look safe or quiet,” he told the PA news agency.
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“I’m optimistic about the high street.
“But I think you have a hard time convincing shoppers to return to shopping malls or other covered spaces where they might feel enclosed.
“People will find it hard just trying to go up a flight of stairs while keeping distance so multi-storey shops could find it hard, too.”
King made the comments as retailers and hospitality firms join forces to use Rezolve’s SafeZone platform, aimed at reducing contact for customers in stores.
Resolve, of which King is a a senior adviser, has pushed forward with the expansion of the platform in the UK after growth in China and Germany.
SafeZone allows customers to receive information regarding stock availability and collection or opening times, while simultaneously allowing stores to control customer volumes by telling them when it is safe to collect items or enter sites.
King said he believes the pandemic is driving a “step change” in the way technology is used by retailers and customers.
“We are certainly seeing a shift and platforms like this benefit both customers and businesses,” he said.
“Customers will continue to try to avoid contact in the short-term and that’s something that SafeZone tries to manage.”
with PA Wires