High streets are fighting back against the continued threat from retail parks and online shopping, with increasing evidence that shoppers are recognising the value of their local stores.
Following the Retailinsider.com story earlier this week ‘Shoppers desert retail parks for the high street’ further research to prove that a high street renaissance could be taking place has emerged.
The Centre for Retail Research (CRR) weighed in with its findings from 13 areas within the UK to conclude third-rate retail parks could become housing estates in the future.
This radical view was based on its research, which found 10% of city dwellers now shop locally three times per week compared with only once a week three years ago, and that they now only do a ‘big shop’ every three to four weeks.
It also found that although discounters were starting to appear on retail parks [Retail Week news story], their favoured location remains on the high street where they enjoy the highest footfalls, a good mix of prosperous and poorer people, as well as regular bus services.
The rise of the discounters and their traditional high street locations is having a major positive impact on town centres, that’s for sure. And this looks likely to continue, according to research from grocery experts IGD, that found a net 24% of people expected to be using such stores more often by 2012.
The research also found: 23% of people reckoned they’d be using specialist stores more often; 16% suggested they would be frequenting neighbourhood shops more often; and 19% stated they would be visiting farmers’ markets (which are often located in the centre of towns) more often by 2012.
This is not to say there won’t also be increased use of the internet (by 22% of the people, according to the survey) but it does suggest that a mounting body of evidence is emerging that highlights how the game is thankfully far from over for the UK high street.