The last 25 years have seen dramatic change on our high streets. From closures of big names such as Woolworths and BHS to the rise of shopping online, the ways we shop and the things we buy feel almost unrecognisable. According to Which, their members voted Woolworths as the most missed shop from the 1990s, closely followed by BHS and C&A. One member remembered ‘you could find anything there,’ while another added that ‘it sold everything at a reasonable price.’ A third said ‘I shopped in Woolworths all my life. I couldn’t believe it when it closed down.’
According to their survey, 60% of people preferred the high street in the 90s over the one they’ve got today. One respondent remembered that 20 years ago, ‘I could go out and get everything I wanted, when I wanted. These days online is the only option for most things not found in supermarkets, and in some ways online is less convenient.’ The way your high street has changed over the years is dependent on your location, and some towns have seen more improvements than others. For the 14% of people who prefer today’s high street, changes have been positive. Some felt that they now have ‘better shop layouts and more pedestrian space’ while others feel their high street has ‘more variety of outlets.’
News headlines in 2018 have been full of woe for UK High street retailers; House of Fraser became the latest high street company to close 31 of its stores and cutting some 6,000 jobs in a bid to save the struggling business. Fears are widespread that brands will follow in the footsteps of Toys R Us, Maplin etc.
According to Econsultancy, it’s no secret that the decline of the UK high street is due to the failure on the part of the high street brands to keep up with the digital age. Online sales are continuing to increase as a percentage of retail spending: the Office for National Statistics reported in April that online sales accounted for 17.3% of all retail, up from 16.1% the previous year.
So what are some brands doing to keep you coming back to the highstreet? The BBCs report has found these shops defying the High street down turn.
Fashion chain Primark is leaving rivals like New Look for dust by sticking to one principle. PRICE. Price is the main thing. Sometimes you hear that to survive, retailers must have a strong online offering, to keep customers coming back, Primark does just fine without.
Lush is the next brand bucking the down turn. The highly fragrant, highly principled cosmetics chain has a very clearly defined clientele and offering. Along with bathbombs and bubbles it offers politics and principles.
Their products are made in the UK, animal and environment friendly, and are accompanied with campaigning messages on subjects from gay rights to global trade. As the core values of the company resonate with their consumers they seem more authentic and also offer a product not available else where.
According to the BBC studies its Zara’s business model that keeps it ahead of the pack. The Spanish owned company s manufactures a lot of the clothes it sells rather than outsourcing via complicated supply chains.
Traditionally it used to be that shops had spring, summer, autumn, winter ranges and rarely updated them. Zara does it every week, at the same speed as ASOS does online.
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