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Study shows restaurants and cafes are replacing independent shops on high street

Independent and start-up hospitality businesses, such as restaurants, pubs and cafes, are replacing smaller retail stores on the high street, according to new research.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Study shows restaurants and cafes are replacing independent shops on high street

A study of 75,000 high street businesses quoted by insurance provider Simply Business since 2008 revealed that 31% were restaurants, pubs or cafes in 2010, an increase of 2% since 2008.

In contrast, the number of independent clothes shops has declined, making up only 5% of high street businesses in 2010, compared to 6% two years ago. Simply Insurance claims the results suggest that independent fashion retailers are struggling to compete with the big high street chains and the increasing number of shopping malls, such as Westfield in London and the Bullring development in Birmingham.

The insurer said independent newsagents are also struggling with the proportion of shops having halved between 2008 and 2010. The decrease suggests that traditional corner shops are finding it hard to compete with the proliferation of local supermarket chains on Britain's high streets, sid the insurer.

Jason Stockwood, CEO at Simply Business commented: "The business climate has clearly been more favourable for some retail businesses than others and this has influenced the make-up of high streets across the UK. While it's great that food and drink businesses are doing well, it's worrying  to see that certain sectors such as fashion and newsagents are in the decline, with competition from the big high street brands a likely cause."

He added:  "With the Government currently focused on increasing the number and diversity of independent retailers in Britain's towns, it's crucial that start-ups don't fall at the first hurdle and have every opportunity to compete with the big boys," continues Stockwood. "This means favourable planning laws, affordable business rates and easily accessible advice, support and finance."

Two success stories however are hairdressers and beauty salons, showing that high street chains haven't had such a large impact when it comes to personal grooming. The proportion of hairdressers has increased from 4% to 5% since 2008 and the proportion of beauty salons from 2% to 3%.

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