What is the future of our high streets?
Posted on 17th May 2021 at 11:44
We’re pleased to say…pretty rosy. Despite the challenging yoyo effect of the past year, our high streets have shown significant resilience. With forward-thinking and dynamic planning, coupled with enthusiastic consumer backing, savvy and determined businesses owners are able to reinvent and refocus their bricks and mortar retailing. And while some of our high street favourites have sadly struggled and closed shop, many more eager retailers have seized the opportunity and taken advantage of closures by opening shops and businesses in their place.
A change in culture
So much has changed post-pandemic. Not least our wish to stay local and shop local. The UK high street has always meant more to us than just a purchase. It’s part of our community. It’s at the heart of our value system. It is part of our historic heritage. And with home working now a phenomenon which is here to stay, the big city chain shopping experience has been partly replaced by local shopping – independents, local fresh produce, a responsible supply chain and traditional high street and community shops and cafes. A nip to the local café to break up our home working lunch hour, or popping to the neighbourhood butcher for tonight’s dinner is an appealing and rewarding experience. The city centres are no longer filled with crowds of frantic suit wearers. And quite honestly, we can’t say we miss it!
So, with many of us supporting our local community more, it seems the need for us to shop local, from people we know, and goods and services from businesses who rely on us, make us feel good. Retail guru, Mary Portas, has branded it ‘the kindness economy’. And, according to a recent survey by Deloitte, 57% of consumers say they would much rather spend money on a business that offers locally produced products. Good news!
Just take Birmingham’s New Street. Away from the Bullring and down the narrow streets is where you’ll find the glorious hidden gems. Indie fashion retailers, quirky coffee shops and other exciting local small businesses. Each leaping for joy internally when you leave their shop with a smile on your face.
And you needn’t look further than the Cornbow in Halesowen to see how much shoppers value their regular visit to the high street shops.
Connection vs convenience
But what about the opposing online shopping experience? Well, it seems the convenience is no contest for the community hub. Exciting pop ups, local boutiques and self-care ventures offer much more to us than the dry, anonymous and unremarkable click of a button. Not to mention the masses of planet damaging packaging and the delivery giants filling our roads with huge petrol-guzzling trucks. A meaningful connection with a local high street shop is much more …up our street!
Last year, the government injected £95m into 68 local high streets across England to help recover from the impact of Covid-19. The plan was to beautify high streets with sculptures and flowers. ‘Pretty up’ high streets to welcome footfall and appeal to the community. An experience you simply cannot replicate with a quick and perfunctory online purchase.
The future of our high street lies in adapting to what customers want and how we now live. Quite simply, to understand consumers is the key to surviving and thriving in our post-pandemic world.
At Godfrey Mansell & Co Chartered Accountants in Halesowen, we are huge supporters of local businesses. We provide growth strategies, financial health checks, management accounts and good old fashioned problem-solving advice to our clients nationwide.
“Having my own personal experience of running a retail business means I can see things from a client’s point of view. I have over 30 years of knowledge and hands on experience and nothing makes me happier than sharing that expertise in order to help other people.”
We’re the accountants with a difference and we’d love to support your business with your accounts, tax accounts or management accounts. Please call us on 0121 550 8509 or email us here for a chat about all the ways we can help you.
Share this post: