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16.10.2019

How the high street is changing?

Changes in modern retail associated with the dynamic development of online sales affect not only the shape of modern shopping centers, but also cause the evolution of shopping streets located in the centers of large cities.

A chance for small retailers

One of the observed trends is the increase in the share of independent sellers, which is accompanied by the problems of big brands, which are reducing the number of stores. And so, the British giant Marks & Spencer recently announced a plan to close one hundred stores in the UK by 2022. In turn, Tesco plans to close 90 stores with fresh products, also in Great Britain.

Therefore, if we take a look at the current situation only from the point of view of the biggest retailers, we could conclude that shopping street days are numbered. Some experts, however, predict that independent retailers can fill the gap after chain stores. The current situation is an opportunity for small retailers with different specialities – toy stores, bookstores, jewelry stores and bakeries.

The challenge for small retailers  planning to “conquer” high street is to provide customers with unique shopping experiences. The key to success can be the right strategy, based on the balance between traditional and online sales. The main problem that they will have to face is the high cost of renting space. Prices on prestigious shopping streets are often very high.

The specificity of shopping streets in Poland

Although in major European cities, such as Paris or London, fashion brands dominate the shopping streets, supported by restaurants and bars, there are countries that do not give in to this rule. An example would be Poland, where 1/3 of the high street area is occupied by gastronomy while clothing brands focus primarily on the presence in shopping centers. The ban on Sunday trade applied in Poland in 2018 has an impact on this situation. Renata Kamińska, CBRE expert on high street, points out that customers who are accustomed to going to shopping centers are increasingly looking for alternative forms of spending free time on Sundays. One of them is visiting high streets to which they are attracted by cafes and restaurants.

Cooperation is the key to success

The key to increasing the potential of shopping streets, both in Poland and in other countries, can be the cooperation of all market participants, and thus sellers, municipal authorities, residents and associations. Urban regeneration plans are also a chance. An example of a native courtyard may be changes in the functions of the “Pięciu Rogów” Square in Warsaw, or areas around Parade Square. It is also worth mentioning about the Center Project in Poznań, which aim is to restore the former functions of St. Martin street. Such initiatives certainly affect the positive perception of shopping streets.

Photo in the gallery: Vlad Alexandru Popa from Pexels

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