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The UK’s Perfect High Street Revealed!

Although anyone working in the retail industry will no doubt already know the trials and tribulations involved in running a bricks and mortar shop on the high street these days, thanks to the advent of the internet, it seems that there is still a preconceived notion as to what the perfect high street should contain in terms of shops.

New research carried out by Utilita, reported on by the Independent, revealed that the ideal high street should be able to provide a greengrocer, butcher, a pub, a Post Office, a good DIY store, a bakery and an independent clothes outlet.Other essentials were a restaurant, barber and an energy provider, as well as a supermarket and a shoe shop.

Perhaps part of the reason high streets are struggling at the moment is that, despite the fact that 80 per cent of those asked said they do make the effort to use their local high street, many believe it doesn’t have the necessary shops required in order to achieve everything in a single trip.

The survey also found that just eight per cent of survey respondents do the bulk of their shopping locally, instead either using public transport or driving somewhere else to finish the rest at bigger shops and supermarkets.

Some 75 per cent said they were worried about the demise of their high street, with 32 per cent stating that the retail outlets that are left behind – beauticians and betting shops, for example – aren’t what is needed.

CEO of Utilita Bill Bullen was quoted by the news source as saying: ““As this study shows, there is a real desire for the high street to remain a fruitful and central part of any town or city: Brits like the idea of having one place where they can access all their products and services.”

He went on to say, however, that there are insufficient people shopping on the high street, so many businesses now find it unsustainable and shut up shop as a result.

Local councils and businesses alike could perhaps benefit from looking at Harper Dennis Hobbs’ 2019 Vitality Index for some inspiration as to how to breathe new life into their high streets.

It was noted that upmarket retail will attract aspirational customers, which means more money is spent and higher sales typically reflected by better shopping environments. Although big cities and stronger shopping centres are usually at the top of a retailer’s list, smaller places could be of interest since rents are often more affordable.And a small town or city centre with a high vitality score and the right kind of demographic could result in strong profits for the right kind of brands.

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