More than 80% of shoppers consider it 'very important' to keep high street alive, poll finds | The Sun

THE perfect high street would have a patisserie, deli, farm shop and vintage store, according to Brits.

One in four adults feel their local high street is just surviving, and want to see a resurgence, with 81% stating it’s very important to keep their high streets alive.

Research of 2,000 adults found 29% said it makes them happy or excited to wander around independent shops rather than standard chain stores.

Respondents also saw benefits to shopping with independent stores, citing they support the local economy (53%), provide better customer service (41%), offer better quality and more interesting products (35%).

The research, commissioned by online wholesale marketplace Faire found nearly three quarters of shoppers visit independent retailers "often" or "occasionally", with a third shopping local a few times a week.

In fact, 44% say they feel guilty if they do resort to shopping in supermarkets or chain stores.

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Over half (54%) said they would shop online if there were forced to go further to shop, with most, 63%, saying they would travel for half an hour.

Charlotte Broadbent from the marketplace said: “The research reveals that there’s a real passion to support the high street, with the British public recognising the benefits of shopping with independent retailers citing that they offer high quality products and better customer service.

“However, we cannot forget the impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis and it’s clear there’s a sense of guilt amongst consumers who naturally resort to shopping in supermarkets or in chain stores, on the hunt for value.

“Even in times where money might be tight, the results of this study really do back up the desire to see independent stores thrive locally, with consumers clearly showing they understand that supporting independent retailers helps the economy and that they are keen to see a variety of stores on their local high streets.”

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When it comes to what different generations want from their high street, 26% of those aged 25 to 34 want the perfect coffee shop that offers a flat white, while 28% of Gen Z’s want all products to be sustainably created more so than any other generation.

And for 58% of those over 55, a book shop with a cosy nook for reading was essential.

Zero waste stores were in also in demand (33%) by those aged 35 to 44 – who also were keen on a craft beer seller (19%).

A local butcher was priority for shoppers in the North East, 71% compared to 33% in London.

Almost a quarter (23%) of Londoners wanted an art gallery, while more than half (57%) of those in the North West were keen on having a cake shop on their high street – with a bakery stated as important to three quarters (76%) of those in the South West.

Half of all respondents (48%) noticed a decrease in the number of independent shops opening and 55% said their favourite local shop had closed in the past two years.

Three quarters (73%) said it made them feel sad or angry when they see a small retailer shut down and 71% say it is now time for independent shops to take over the space on high streets left by the closure of big brands like Wilkinson’s.

Charlotte Broadbent from Faire added: “Local independent retailers are the original influencers and trendsetters within their communities.

“Supporting them strengthens our community's economic resilience and helps consumers benefit from shopping experiences specifically curated with their interests in mind.

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“We’re committed to erasing the inherent disadvantages that independent retailers face when competing against larger chains and offer a variety of tools to help level the playing field, ensuring smaller retailers can compete on an equal footing.

"This research shows a real appetite for independent shopping, and we are happy to support retailers as they continue to contribute to the unique character of our UK high streets.”

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