Hospitality businesses running the high street

Independent hospitality businesses such as restaurants, pubs and cafes are trumping independent retail stores on the high street, research finds.

Of a study of 75,000 high street businesses by insurance provider Simply Business, 31 per cent are restaurants, pubs or cafes, an increase of two per cent since 2008.

In contrast, the number of independent clothes shops has declined, making up only five per cent of high street businesses in 2010, compared to six per cent two years ago.

The results suggest that independent fashion retailers are struggling to compete with the big high street chains and the increasing number of shopping malls, says the organisation.

Independent newsagents are also struggling according to Simply Business, with the proportion of shops having halved between 2008 and 2010.

Simply Business CEO Jason Stockwood says, ‘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. 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 the big high street brands a likely cause.’

Stockwood adds that, with the government currently focused on increasing the number and diversity of independent retailers in Britain’s towns, it is crucial that start-ups don’t fall at the first hurdle and have every opportunity to ‘compete with the big boys’. ‘This means favourable planning laws, affordable business rates and easily accessible advice, support and finance,’ he says.

Two success stories however are hairdressers and beauty salons, showing that high street chains haven’t had such a large impact when it comes to personal grooming. The proportion of hairdressers has increased from four to five per cent since 2008 and the proportion of beauty salons from two to three per cent.

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for our sister website when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence...

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