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Which shops the UK wants on the high street

Survey suggests people don’t need wealth of betting shops and beauticians currently filling town centres

Emma Elsworthy
Friday 19 July 2019 17:10 BST
Poll hints at which shops the UK wants on its high streets
Poll hints at which shops the UK wants on its high streets (Getty/iStock)

The perfect high street is home to a Post Office, green grocer, butcher and pub, a poll claims.

Britain’s traditional main shopping thorough-fares have been eroded by the boom in online shopping after the emergence of huge out-of-town malls and stores drove the initial nail into their coffin.

But the majority of us still have a perception of what the high street should be able to provide, with a decent bakery, a good DIY shop, and independent clothes outlet all making the list.

An energy provider, restaurant and barber were also hailed as essential, along with a supermarket and shoe shop.

Highlighting the challenges facing businesses, just eight per cent of the 2,000 adults polled currently do the bulk of their shopping locally, preferring to drive or use public transport to top up at larger shops and supermarkets.

And while eight in 10 respondents reported making the effort to use their local high street, many think it lacks the outlets they require to get everything they need from one trip.

Three quarters said they were worried about the decline of their high street, and 32 per cent said the retail outlets which are left, such as betting shops and beauticians, aren’t what is needed.

Researchers also delved into the reasons why the local high street is being neglected by so many, and found one in three avoid it amid a worry that goods are generally “more expensive”.

“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,” said Bill Bullen, CEO of Utilita, which took the poll.

“However, not enough people are shopping on the high street and this means many businesses are finding it unsustainable and are therefore closing down.

“If people want to see their local shopping area do well, they’ll need to invest a little more time and money in the businesses currently there.”

The survey suggested people visit their local shopping area twice a week, spending £23 in total in the process.

The results suggest that given the opportunity, shoppers prefer to buy something in person than via the internet, and four in five love to converse with shop workers when purchasing something in-store.

Death of the UK high street: Retailers gone since 2008

Bill Bullen added: “Our high streets are important economic hubs, the small and micro businesses – thousands of which we supply – on them forming the backbone of the UK economy.

“But they are more than this; they are the beating heart of communities across the nation.”

The shops people want on the high street

1. Greengrocers

2. Independent clothes shops

3. Baker

4. Butchers

5. Handyman / DIY

Driverless cars to transport shopping for new home delivery service

6. Record shop

7. Shoe shop

8. Chain clothes shops

9. Post Office

10. Luxury clothes shops

11. Newsagents

12. Gluten free / Vegan shops

13. Restaurants

14. Pubs

15. Energy / utility providers

16. Supermarket

17. Jewellers

18. Coffee shops

19. Barbers

20. Charity shops


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