Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


The future of the High Street


Recent financial results by major players in the UK grocery industry seem to point to the ever-increasing consolidation of grocery retailing on the UK High Street, but is this actually in the consumer’s interest, and is it what the consumer really wants? Dr Alan Hallsworth of the University of Surrey School of Management has been looking at trends in UK grocery retailing in the UK for over 25 years and comments, ‘ consumers display ambivalent attitudes towards retail change. There is a residual fondness for the corner shop and most hope it will still be there should they need it. However, modern car-dependent shopping behaviour works against small shop survival. What we want for the long term may not survive our behaviour in the short term.’

In 2000, in a ruling by the Competition Commission, it was implied that there are actually two distinct and separate markets; major retailers in which people tend to do their main weekly shop; and convenience stores or traditional corner shops and high street stores. The underlying assumption was that the two sectors did not take trade from each other. The ramifications of this ruling mean that while the major supermarket chains may now find it very difficult to buy each other out, they can still increase their market share by buying out convenience store chains. This was the case when Tesco was unable to purchase Safeway due to competition rules, but later was able to buy out independent retail chain T and S (better known as One Stop).

A further issue raised by the ruling means that if any of the major multiple grocery retailers were now to get into financial difficulty, they would most likely be bought by foreign companies as their UK competitors would, in most cases, be barred from doing so because of monopolistic concerns.

Other changes also favour the trend towards the homogenisation of the high street. The introduction of Sunday trading puts smaller retailers with limited staff at a disadvantage against larger retail outlets. The purchasing power of large multiples is well-known, but the fact that they also have their own supply chains can also adversely affect the competitiveness of not only smaller retailers but also of independent suppliers such as NISA.

Since the 1970s the UK high street has seen many changes. The choice of retail outlet fascias available has decreased but the convenience to the shopper, range of choice and price of product may be argued to have risen. If we look to the future of the high street in ten years time the question that needs to be asked is: If the public as a consumer abandons community shops in favour of the convenience of the larger retail outlets, how will this affect long-term consumer choice. Dr Hallsworth comments, ‘ we are in what is known as a social trap. If local provision is to survive, local people will have to support local shops. At the moment many of us are relying on our neighbour to keep the local shop alive.’

Stuart Miller | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>