Fashion and discount retailers are destined to become more profitable, thanks to the boom in online shopping, according to new research from the Investment Property Forum (IPF).

The Pricing Retail Space study examined the challenges to both retailers and investors in valuing the worth of physical stores in a multichannel retailing environment. Prime city centre fashion retailers’ productivity could benefit by as much as 34%

Other sectors, however, including grocery and electrical retailing, are likely to suffer.

Store productivity in the electrical goods sector in particular is likely to decline as consumers test equipment in-store, then check prices via the internet and conclude their purchasing online.

Malcolm Frodsham of real estate strategies, who chaired the IPF Project Steering Group, said: “The impact of online shopping on physical retail locations has been dramatic: destroying value in some locations but adding value in others.

“For landlords and retailers alike, understanding the new dynamics between a store’s location, turnover and contribution (both positive and negative) to other sales channels is of paramount importance.”

While Frodsham said changes are still in their “infancy”, the impact of online shopping could accelerate.

”Investors in retail property need to be alert and adapt their portfolios to suit, whether this is through adjusting tenant mixes, physically adapting stores or avoiding further value erosion by trimming assets,” he said.

Changes in sales productivity across six retail sub-sectors and four types of retail location were analysed for the IPF by CBRE’s Martin Summerscales and Matt Thompson, delivering initial results that suggest there may be some significant winners and losers.

Summerscales, head of retail consultancy at CBRE, said: “The established view that the rise in online shopping is to the detriment of physical retail locations appears too simplistic.

”Though changes in consumer behaviour have disadvantaged some locations, others have benefited.”

The traditional metric of rent-to-sales ratio as a measure of store profitability no longer applies, the study found, while, for some types of retailer, the role of physical stores is shifting from driving sales of products in-store to being a “brand showroom” and supporting completion of a transaction through strategies such as click-and-collect.

The study also found that a number of retailers have reported a ‘halo’ effect to local online sales following the opening of a new physical outlet, although this is dependent on the nature of the product sold and type of location.