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High street goes boutique to compete with malls and supermarkets

A study of the UK’s independent shops has revealed that the traditional high street stalwarts of cafes, pubs and takeaways are gradually being replaced by more specialist and boutique outlets such as health food shops, tea rooms, arts and crafts stores, wine bars and old fashioned sweet shops.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

High street goes boutique to compete with malls and supermarkets

A study of the UK’s independent shops has revealed that the traditional high street stalwarts of cafes, pubs and takeaways are gradually being replaced by more specialist and boutique outlets such as health food shops, tea rooms, arts and crafts stores, wine bars and old fashioned sweet shops.

The study by business insurance provider Simply Business analysed over 30,000 independent retail outlets it insures across the UK. The results revealed that in the last year the proportion of pubs fell by 20%, cafes
by 11%, sandwich bars by 16% and takeaways by 3%.

Meanwhile, wine bars are up 13%, tea rooms up 9%, traditional sweet shops up 15% and health food shops increased by a significant 42%.  Local butchers and bakeries have also seen a revival, rising 21% and 17% respectively.

The findings also revealed that independent retailers are catering to the needs recession-conscious consumers with a noticeable increase in the number of shops dedicated to ‘make it yourself’ purchases. For example, fabric shops are up 44%, home baking shops by 50%, while art and craft shops saw a 29% rise in the last year. In addition, there was a trend for vintage and customisable goods, with second hand shops seeing a 6% rise and charity shops up 27%.

Jason Stockwood, CEO of Simply Business, said: "It is encouraging to see that the high street is adapting to the new retail landscape.  Our findings show that independent retailers are increasingly looking to specialise or offer something different to alternative outlets, tempting shoppers with a more quirky, unique experience.

"We can also see fascinating evidence that while today’s shoppers still like the finer things in life, they are putting effort into making their own treats and also shopping around for bargains. The rise in fabric shops, bakers produce and second hand shops suggests that Brits are becoming more creative and resourceful with how they spend their money."

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