Lifestyle fashion retailer White Stuff is launching initiatives such as Swap Shops and Book Clubs as it aims to maintain footfall and make its stores community hubs.

White Stuff creative director Lee Cooper said: “There’s less money in people’s purses but they still want to be out shopping and out in the community. Initiatives like this help us engage with people and make it a place for the community to go to.”

Cooper said the move has been driven by the changing role of the high street. He said: “Shops aren’t just about selling stuff. If people want to buy cheaply they can do so online. Going to stores must bring an experience; it’s about theatre, drama and sociability.”

The retailer is to launch its Swap Shops, where customers bring their second-hand White Stuff clothing into store and exchange it for another used item, in six stores from September. Customers will be asked to give a donation for the exchange, which goes to a local charity.

The monthly Book Club, sponsored by Penguin Books, also launches in six stores from September. If the trials prove successful they will be rolled out to stores which have enough space to run the activities. The move comes after customer research found that White Stuff shoppers’ number one pastime is reading.