NORTH WEST HIGH STREETS WORTH CELEBRATING
Big increase in cafes and convenience stores
Shoppers in the North West are being asked to celebrate their high streets after a new report revealed increasing optimism and the growing popularity of ‘click-and-collect’ services.
A national competition is being launched today by High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis, alongside new evidence showing that our high streets are rising to the challenge set by consumers who want increased convenience and more flexibility of services on high streets.
In the North West, the number of convenience stores has more than tripled since 2004, and the number of cafes has nearly doubled.
The search, to find and celebrate the best high streets in the country, is being run by the Future High Street Forum and the Association of Town Centre Managers. There are six separate categories in recognition of the diversity of Britain’s high streets: City Centre; Town Centre; Market Town; Coastal Community; Village and parade of shops.
The Government’s long-term economic plan has supported local high streets with a billion pound package of investment that includes targeted business rate discounts, sensible planning changes and action tackling over-zealous parking practices.
Many high streets affected by the economy in 2008 are now thriving as a result of making changes to serve their communities in increasingly popular ways and High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis believes this should be recognised. He said:
“Whether it is a market town, coastal village or city centre, there are so many high streets across Britain doing fantastic work and now every community will be able to get behind their home town’s bid to show how popular they are.
“This competition will discover where the Great British High Streets are and celebrate their brilliance. I want the public to tell my panel of experts why their area should win. The most popular will get all the accolades that come with being named the best in Britain when we announce the winners in autumn.”
The competition comes as new analysis by Experian – https://www.atcm.org/policy_practice/towncentrefutures – found that high street managers and shop owners are positive about the future thanks to a strengthening economy and the emergence of the ‘one stop shopper’ who prioritises convenience and leisure. This is contributing to greater footfall and people spending more time on the high street.
The study identifies the rise of this evolving consumer behaviour where shoppers prefer ‘convenience culture’ such as ‘click-and-collect’ services so they can multi-task and have more time to socialise while doing their shopping in this convenient way.
Different parts of the country are catering this in a variety of ways: whether it is giving older people easier access to services, helping bargain hunters browse the best deals online or offering city dwellers more fun and variety. This shift is being reflected in a high street that is rapidly moving beyond traditional retail into a ‘Great British’ experience. The report points to the steady growth of convenience stores (+153%), cafes (+75%), fast food (+30%) and restaurants (+20) as proof of this evolution.
More information on the Great British High Streets competition is available at www.thegreatbritishhighstreet.co.uk
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