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
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...