The High Street's Future Is Social

Featured in The Grocer

By Nick Harrison
This article first appeared in The Grocer on 12th April, 2019.

This week’s bad news from the UK high street was not the first and it won’t be the last. In recent months, as well as hundreds of retail store closures, several restaurant chains have been facing difficulties and are also pruning their networks.

So, is this Armageddon for traditional high streets? We think not. Despite the current gloom, some have a bright future. But they won’t look like the high streets of the past. They will have fewer outlets that sell pure goods but more locations for socialising and entertainment – and for formats combining different activities.

To understand why, first let’s separate two kinds of change. Structural shifts are bringing about long-term changes to the nature of business. But many of the recent impacts come from cyclical changes – short-term fluctuations due to the economic cycle and product trends.

The stores that survive will offer the kind of service and experience customers can’t get online

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