High streets may be seeing a resurgence as they adapt to modern consumers’ shopping needs.
A report from Southampton University commissioned by the Government’s Future High Streets Forum found food and groceries’ share of town centre sales grew from 16.9% in 2007 prior to the recession, to 24.2% in 2013. And clothing and footwear sales recorded a similar trend in town centres, increasing from 20.5% to 25.4%.
The report found this is due to growing internet and mobile commerce, the ‘convenience culture’ and increasing petrol prices putting customers off travelling to out-of-town shopping locations.
The report stated that consumers are looking for convenience at a local level, referring to high streets, rather than viewing convenience as a ‘one-stop shop’ they may experience from a shopping centre or retail park.
Meanwhile, retailers are investing in click-and-collect in town centre stores.
It said those retailers who can offer an edit of its larger retail park stores, or those which are more specialised or rooted in the community tend to be the most successful.
And with the rise of online shopping, consumers are increasingly ‘topping up’ with a trip to local stores.
Future High Streets Forum member and Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said: “The average consumer is much more likely to shop for food every day and engage with services than they were ten years ago. This change in consumer behaviour, coupled with a population with a much larger elderly segment has given convenience stores the opportunity to thrive.”
The report said recent research suggests that over the next five years from 2014, convenience store sales and market share will increase to account for 24.1% of the grocery market by 2019. But the market share of superstores and hypermarkets is expected to fall over the same period from 42.2% to 34.9%.