High Streets Initiative 10 October 2018

Amidst the high street chaos, small retailers are finding alternative ways to fight back

5, 648 small shops left the high street between 2010 and 2017

Emma Long, commercial director at work space provider BizSpace, looks at how some small retailers are fighting back by finding an alternative to the traditional high street setting.

With bad news stories continuing to pour out about the high street, you could be forgiven for thinking that setting up a retail business in today’s economic environment would be pure madness.

But while we might not have seen the last of the woes faced by town-centre retailers, the future is not necessarily so gloomy for retail more generally.

It is well known that the way people shop has changed. Online retail sales rose by 15.3% over the past year to reach 18.2% of all retail sales, meaning almost one pound in five is now spent online. In 2013, the figure was just one pound in ten.?

With every challenge comes an opportunity: for the real estate industry, for example, the rise in online shopping has manifested itself in less demand for town-centre retail property but an increasing call for warehouses and logistics space. If businesses are entrepreneurial enough to observe how habits are changing, anticipate what that means in terms of supply and demand dynamics, and position their offer accordingly, they stand to be successful.