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Britain’s Failing High street


Britain’s high street is struggling to keep up with the modern technology of today and more and more of us are turning to the internet for our shopping needs. With internet shopping becoming ever popular, an expected 62,000 shops are set to close within the next five years; that’s almost a 1/5 of our high street set to disappear by 2018. This drastic drop will lead to even more shop vacancies; meaning empty barren streets and a huge drop in jobs in the retail sector. A suspected 300,000 people will lose their jobs due to this rapid decline in high street commerce and it couldn’t come at any worse time with thousands of people already unemployed due to the recession we’re currently in.















The Centre for Retail Research states that we are heading for ‘serious retail crisis’ and unless we do something about it, it’s not going to improve. Unsurprisingly it’s not the big shots who are suffering, it’s the independent retailers and local shops that are worst affected – with a 26% decrease in the number of high street shops. This will inevitably lead to the loss of our independent high street retailers. These shops are our social interaction and by losing these we will reduce socializing and public interaction. Texting and messaging are quick and convenient and Facebook has a staggering 1.11 billion users each month and these are what are replacing face to face conversations. Soon we will be a nation living indoors.

If this rate of decline continues we will lose our vintage shops and our boutiques and with that, our sense of individuality. If everyone buys from the same internet shops then we will all be dressing the same and the retail world’s power to control our fashion choices will increase. Expressing ourselves has never been more important and our fashion choices define who we are but if we don’t have those choices, we will all be the same.

The reason for our failing high street is the ever developing web. The ability to simply ’click and collect’ is one of great convenience to us and we are reaping in the benefits. Internet shopping is more popular in the UK than anywhere else, suggests Ofcom, with individuals in the UK spending in excess of £1083 a year. This rise in internet purchasing is driven by mobile devices or m-commerce. The ability to shop on the go practically anywhere in the UK is an appealing prospect to UK customers and so less of us are actually travelling out and about to do our shopping with reduced footfall seriously affecting sales figures. Britain’s notoriously bad weather is also partly to blame; why would you traipse around a dozen shops in the cold when you can get everything you want in one place and then have someone else deliver it to your door?

Some shops however are thriving in this modern environment and are taking the initiative. Take Top shop for example: they partnered up with Google to launch a real-time camera at one of their fashion shows so that people could experience their fashion show from a unique perspective and in their Oxford Street branch they set up a specially designed photo booth that was linked to Google+ so that customers could try on their favourite outfits and upload them straight to their website. The combination of high street retail and technology is what the public wants and will encourage more of us to put in the little bit of extra effort. This kind of promotion and initiative is exactly what the high street needs to revitalize their shops.

Efforts are being made to breathe life back into our high streets with a major regeneration of our shops being funded by the government, but could this be too little, too late.

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