A recent report by The Local Data Company and BIRA has shown that the number of independent retailers and leisure outlets is now at its highest level in four years. Contrary to popular belief, independent high street businesses have grown every year since 2009 whereas chains have decreased their store numbers.
The British high street is changing, with a decline in the number of “comparison” finished goods retailers and an increase in formats that require the consumer to be present. The number of tobacconists, barbers, beauty salons, restaurants, bars and cafes are all increasing, indicating that consumers are looking to the high street as a place of leisure. With the rise of online shopping people are happy to buy white goods at home, and this has driven a demand for more “experience-led” local shops that offer something different.
As Local Authority Association comments in response to high-street queen Mary Portas' 2011 review,
“The most vibrant town centres offer a wide range of locally responsive services that create a comprehensive retail, cultural and community hub”.
Independent retailers must be able to meet the demands of modern consumers who want to purchase something different on the high street. Consumers want exclusivity and the assurance that their local shops can bring them something unique, so it’s important that retailers generate a sense of pride in the quality and provenance of their items.
With a whole world of cheap goods at their fingertips, an opportunity for independents lies in bringing high quality, British-made products to the consumer and offering a level of service that brings them back time and again.
As encouraging as the reports from BIRA and Mary Portas are, they both call for British businesses as a whole to support the high street. This is exactly what we stand for at The Great British Exchange, but we don’t just talk about it – we do it.
The aim of our business is to supply British-made products to independent retailers, making it easy for independents to find unique British goods and enabling exclusivity and differentiation. By sourcing products on our website, retailers can give their customers exactly what they want – a varied and high quality offering that will keep them coming back time and again.
We champion British producers across all sectors from food and drink to homeware, and support British retailers by making it easy to find and order new products.
If you’re an independent retailer and would like to find out more, register with us today and see how The Great British Exchange can support your business.