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How about 5100 beauty salons & 4600 fast-food outlets?

Hello Watford High Street What's cluckin'

There are 6,500 high streets in Great Britain. Who'd have guessed that? If you’d read my blog last week you’d know, but how have these evolved over the last few years?

The Ordnance Survey (OS) & Office for National Statistics (ONS) did an amazing job defining exactly what a high street is & where they can be found, but feedback told them users wanted to know much more.

So this project evolved into an additional broader dataset that also included retail parks & shopping centres. It’s known as Retail Geographies & it’s where things get really interesting.

We can now see how our high streets have evolved after 2 years of Covid lockdowns & trading restrictions. Why's this valuable? “It will help examine topics such as changes in the retail industry and the future of high streets & town centres” says Richard Prothero from ONS.

So, who are winners & losers in this rapid evolution? Earlier this month BBC analysts published their findings from interrogating this data & we can now see what has been happening.

Did they find anything new? We all know during successive lockdowns much traditional #retail went online. We know that was a final nail in the coffin for a number of already struggling businesses such as Arcadia, Debenhams & Beales; so naturally clothes shops (-8.5%) and department stores (-13.4%) took a hit. Banks (-8.1%) were already on the wane given our ‘guided’ switch to digital banking. And nightclubs (-9.4%) suffered due to changing cultural behaviours (& the significant cost of alcohol).

But on the other hand, indulgences (or treats perhaps) that could only be done in person, became the biggest winners. Tattoo & piercing studios (+8.2%), fast food & takeaways (+7.2%), hair & beauty services (+5.9%), cafes (+5.7%), pubs & bars (+1.6%) all grew our high streets. No surprises maybe!

But these percentages don’t really tell the whole story (although they might make great soundbites). Whilst the number of tattoo & piercing studios grew between March 2020 & March 2022 by a significant 8.2%, it actually only equated to an additional 350 studios.

However, in the same period an additional 5,100 hair & beauty premises, 4,600 fast-food outlets, 2,000 cafes or tea rooms, 1,600 new independent convenience stores, 700 pubs & bars, 300 fish & chip shops, 194 big supermarket chains stores & a similar number of organic & other speciality food shops opened. Amazing news and is the reason why vacancy rates are falling across the country.

The common ground? These new arrivals are more service & hospitality-based. Could we even suggest more community & people biased?

One can form one’s own opinions of course but what is certain is this has all happened in JUST 2 years. It confirms physical retail is resilient, agile, & innovative. It’s going nowhere & I can't wait to see how it evolves over the next twenty.

Over the last 2 years our local town Watford has seen a 35% increase in #Beauty Services, 12% increase in #pubs and #bars, 15% increase in #cafes, 7% increase in fast food, and 4% increase in #restaurants. During that time there was a 15% decrease in clothes stores. Find out what is happening in your local area here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-63799670

If you'd like to find out more about how to activate your brand with high street audiences get in touch with We Are Acuity. You can book a FREE 30 minute chat here. We'd love a conversation, even if it is just to discuss a mutual love of local retail.

Or if you'd like to read more about Local Marketing have a look at our blog page "Local Thinking': https://www.weareacuity.com/local-thinking-our-blog


#beautyindustry #foodandbeverage #qsr #marketing #highstreet #community

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