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LONDON-A survey by Chesterton International has revealed that an overwhelming 80% of respondents disagreed with the fact that, by the year 2020, ‘City centres will be dominated by leisure functions while shopping be conducted in virtual reality malls.’

Commenting on the finding, Julie Pears, Associate of the Retail Department for Chesterton International, said: ‘It seems that most people will continue to enjoy what has become, over the last ten years, the traditional shopping experience–a combination of shopping and leisure activities. This is in spite of the fact that some purchases can be made just as effectively through virtual reality malls, as in traditional shops.’

The Chesterton survey, conducted in conjunction with Estates Gazette, also revealed that respondents were more in favour of changing the function of real-world supermarkets, than disposing of them altogether. When faced with the proposal, ‘Supermarkets will be converted to warehousing where goods and food can be collected after being ordered through the Internet’, 55% of respondents disagreed, while a comparatively healthy 46% agreed that, indeed, this could well become the case.

Pears commented: ‘Consumers appreciate the benefits of goods and food collection points; and this [supermarkets converting to warehouses] may be the way forward given the superior accessibility and parking facilities that most supermarkets offer. However, certain elements of traditional supermarket shopping will continue to feature high on the priority list for the majority of shoppers – the purchase of fresh produce, for instance. Therefore, perhaps only a percentage of supermarket floor space would be converted into warehouse facilities.’

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