The increasing expansion of the digital market place, along with the effects the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the high street, has created a real shift in the look of our high streets up and down the country.
Debenham`s And The Arcadia Group Have Closed
Many of the large chains have struggled and some, such as Debenham`s and the Arcadia Group, have shut their doors for good. Shopping centres have suffered badly with the closing of these stores as they are often flagship stores which bring in footfall to the area every day of the week. Filling the gaps that these closures have left will not be easy.
There is certainly a changing nature to our high streets but it is definitely not all doom and gloom. Businesses that manage to marry their digital platforms with their physical stores will thrive. Using digital platforms to promote their stores can be very effective and vice versa you can promote your online platforms in-store.
We Deserve High Streets Of The Future
Talking about the challenges ahead for businesses on the high street on the BBC News website retail expert Kate Hardcastle said: “When I started out in retail over 20 years ago I just couldn’t imagine a world where some of the brand names we lost have disappeared.
“These are the big names that light up the high street, like Debenhams and the Arcadia group.
“It seems almost impossible that this has happened but when you get close to the detail and see how things have evolved I don’t think it’s a big surprise.
“We deserve high streets of the future and I’m excited about the next generation of high streets we’ll see.”
The High Street Is Not Dead!
Also quoted in the article is Jonathan Ritchie, who has opened a shop called Geek Retreat in Lisburn, which sells things like computer games and comic books, but also has a café space where customers can play with the goods they buy.
He said: “Many people have said to me over the last few months, the high street is dead. To that, I say challenge accepted,” he said.
“I think people will buy into experiences – we aren’t only a retail store, we have the café element where you can sit down with friends face-to-face. Especially after the pandemic, there isn’t a better time to open a business like this than now,”
And Brendan McDowell, who has two beauty shops in Belfast and Londonderry said: “I don’t think the high street is going anywhere, you’ve got to accept change. Some businesses don’t accept change but, for me, we are moving with it. I think the high street will become a more experiential place.”
That`s all for now, but if you have a business that needs some expert financial guidance please get in touch with our team here at WHR Accountants on 028 3752 2909.