The rapidly changing face of the high street advanced apace with the news that the owners of Möben and Dolphin, Habitat and clothing shop Jane Norman went into administration this week.
While buy out deals may be on the cards for some of these companies, there’s no doubt that Britain’s high street doesn’t look the way it did even ten years ago. So what are we getting in their place?
Well in some instances, simply empty shops – a report earlier in the year found that a record 14.5% of shops in town centres were vacant at the end of 2010. To this threat, commenter Fat Sam argued that:
‘It’s time many town centres re-invented themselves and dragged themselves into the 21st century. Instead of councils and retailers moaning about online and out of town competition, they need to fight back!’
Anyone for coffee or a manicure?
However, other reports show that the businesses that are surviving aren’t your traditional high street favourites. A third of independent high street stores are now cafes, pubs, restaurants and takeaways, according to one study.
Hairdressers and nail bars are also on the up, with fewer and fewer high streets without at least one. Where I live, you can get your nails done in four different places on one street.
In contrast, newsagents and butchers have declined the most – dropping out of the top 20 altogether. However, in a reply to a previous Conversation, Julian argued that “death of the high street” claims are grossly exaggerated:
‘Everyone seems to like to moan about supermarkets and chainstores killing off town centres. The fact is they are offering what people want.’
So, what do you think about your high street – are you faced with lots of establishments doing business with nail polish, like me? How much do you think your high street has changed and do you think it matters?