Is the talk of the death of the high street set to become a reality or just another urban myth? The evidence is there to see, with stark statistics which cannot be a lie.
In 1950 there were 600,000 stores in the UK, declining to 290,000 in 2012. This trend is set to continue, with predictions of only 220,000 surviving into 2020. Take Woolworths, which in 1995 had 832 stores on the high street. It went into administration in 2008. Our Price disappeared in 2004. Even that stalwart of the high street, Marks and Spencer, is in rapid decline. Poundland, with 700 stores, went into administration in 2018. See (https://www.which.co.uk/news/2018/06/is-this-the-end-for-the-british-high-street/) for more information on high street trends.
The changing face of the high street
Many premises are occupied by coffee chains and charity shops. The latter are entitled to rate relief if they sell only second-hand goods. This means that they can fill spaces that other retailers cannot afford. It is likely that high streets will have more residential and social space in the future. Beauty salons, hairdressers and restaurants will fill space previously occupied by chain store brands. Banks and estate agents are also moving from the high street and taking on a virtual presence. Expensive locations and premises are not necessary in order for them to do business and draw in customers.
Customers may not like the changing face of the high street, but are all complicit in its demise. Online shopping is convenient and suits our busy lives. E Commerce is growing and will leave just 120,000 shops on our high streets by 2030. It will account for 40% of all UK retail sales. Perhaps one of the most significant changes will be the demise of physical supermarkets. Supermarket sales in the high street will not be viable, slumping from 42% to 24%. Online delivery is becoming ever more sophisticated with players on the market such as the same day courier Slough. Take a look at their website at same day courier Slough
Like it or not we must learn to embrace change and modify our perhaps outdated perceptions of what the modern high street should be about; more of these iconic locations will be residential areas with upmarket restaurants, coffee shops and places to make ourselves beautiful.