X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Coffee House

The changing high street

15 January 2013

11:43 AM

15 January 2013

11:43 AM

I’ll confess to receiving the news of HMV going into administration with a heavy heart. Along with Woolworths, JJB Sports, Clinton Cards, Game, and Borders, it’s clear that most of the shops from my childhood are disappearing from the High Street.

Some of these structural changes have been caused by the economic downturn and benign changes in consumer habits, but the more enduring factor remains the ascendency of the internet. The Centre for Retail Research estimates that online sales accounted for 13.2 per cent of all retail sales last year. That’s an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year, and the highest figure for any European country. As increasing numbers of us start shopping with portable devices (such as tablets or smartphones) that figure is likely to rise even further.

[Alt-Text]


Bricks and mortar retailers simply can’t compete with the likes of online giants like Amazon and iTunes. Indeed, Amazon is now exploring ways to offer same day delivery as standard, a move that will surely see off the likes of Waterstones, WH Smith, and many more.

A report by PWC and the Local Data Company shows that store closures averaged 20 per day last year. The key losers have been toy shops, clothes shops, jewellers, card shops and furniture stores. Meanwhile, convenience food stores, charity shops, pawnbrokers, betting stores, and (worryingly) payday loans companies, are all thriving.

That change is even more grim when put in context. Affluent areas are seeing a return of independent retailers for whom price competition is not an immediate concern. Instead, they offer artisan or luxury products their customers are prepared to pay a premium for. This suggests a widening social gap between more prosperous and disadvantaged areas.

The modern High Street has come to resemble an awkward relative whose eccentricities are enshrined in fond family legend, but indulged only rarely now. Over to you, Coffee Housers: what do you expect the High Street to look like in ten or twenty years? And will you miss the traditional retailers?

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close