Traditional high street businesses in decline, finds report

But coffee shops and beauty salons proving popular

High street food, drink and beauty businesses are thriving, while traditional retail stores are struggling to make ends meet.

That is the conclusion of a new study of 75,000 retailers by insurance company Simply Business, which found that cafes, pubs, restaurants and takeaways now comprise a third of Britain’s independent high street stores.

It also showed that, in the past two years, the number of independent clothes shops has declined to 5% of high street businesses, while they made up 6% of stores in 2008.

Meanwhile, the hairdressing and beauty industry is rapidly growing, with the number of hairdressers increasing from 4 to 5% of the high street over the same period, and beauty salons rising from 2 to 3%.

Unsurprisingly London remains the nucleus of Britain’s food industry – with restaurants now making up 11% of the capital’s high street enterprises.

The South West, Wales, and the North East have well and truly developed a taste for caffeine, with 12% of these areas’ high streets now made up of coffee shops.

Meanwhile Scotland is the nation’s takeaway hotspot, with fast-food eateries accounting for 6% of high street outlets.

Jason Stockwood, chief executive of Simply Business, said: “The business climate has clearly been more favourable for some retail businesses than others, and this has influenced the make-up of High Streets across the UK.

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“While it’s great that food and drink businesses are doing well, it’s worrying to see that certain sectors such as fashion and newsagents are in the decline, with competition from big high street brands a likely cause.”






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