Since 2010 there has been a justifiable concern about the demise of the High Street.
This was fuelled by some big chains collapsing due to a reduction in consumer spending, a changing focus towards ‘value for money’ and the growth of shopping online or ‘out of town’.
But it’s not turning out quite like that. It seems we do still like the sociability of the High Street and the opportunity to browse and actually see and touch merchandise.
Amazon has recently announced plans to open its first actual store in New York, expected to be modelled on the lines of Argos, and surviving retailers have become more agile in adapting to what consumers want, so we now have click and collect.
Shopping patterns have changed to limit “brand loyalty” to one supermarket, hence Tesco withdrawing planning applications and selling land it had earmarked for more large stores.
There are also some signs that fewer people are doing a weekly “big shop”. There are noticeably more smaller High Street branches of the big four superstores, but also the rise of the budget stores like Aldi and Lidl because we also like value for money.
Smaller independent retailers are also proliferating according to research from the Local Data Company and the British Retail Consortium. They include e-cigarette shops, barbers, independent cafes and restaurants, clothes, crafts and gift shops.
It looks like the High Street is changing in character but we think it is a long way from being written off yet.
What do you think?