Consumption Trumps Consumerism for High Street Entrepreneurs

By Simply Business, PRNE
Monday, June 20, 2011

LONDON, June 21, 2011 -


  • A Third of Independent High Street Shops are now Cafes, Pubs,
    Restaurants and Takeaways
  • Independent Clothes Retailers and Newsagents in Decline
  • Hairdressers and Beauty Salons Thriving

Independent and start-up hospitality businesses, such as
restaurants, pubs and cafes, are trumping independent retail stores
on the high street, according to research by href="">
Simply Business, the largest business insurance provider in the
UK. A study of 75,000 high street businesses quoted by Simply
Business since 2008 shows that last year 31 per cent were
restaurants, pubs or cafes, an increase of two per cent since

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,
such as Westfield in London and the Bullring development in

Independent newsagents are also struggling according to href="">Simply Business, with
the proportion of shops having halved between 2008 and 2010. The
decrease suggests that traditional corner shops are finding it hard
to compete with the proliferation of local supermarket chains on
Britain’s high streets. Tesco, for example, is due to open 292 more
stores this year alone.  

Jason Stockwood, CEO at href="">Simply
Business, commented: “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.”   

The findings are timely given the recently announced review into
the decline of the high street headed by ‘Queen of Shops’, Mary
. Portas aims to reduce the number of “clone towns” and
increase diversity in town centres, with fewer big chains and more
independent businesses.   

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

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. 

The figures also highlight some regional high street hot

  • Wales is the place to go for a drink - 17 per cent of
    high street businesses in the area are pubs or bars, two per cent
    higher than the national average.
  • Predictably London is the restaurant capital of the UK -
    11 per cent of high street businesses are restaurants, a massive
    five per cent higher than the national average.
  • Scotland is the place to go for a haircut as seven per
    cent of all outlets are hairdressers. That’s two per cent higher
    than the national average.
  • South West, Wales and the North East are
    top for a caffeine hit, with 12 per cent of shops taken up by cafes
    or coffee shops, one per cent higher than the average.
  • Two per cent of high street shops in the South East are
    florists, one per cent higher than the average.
  • London is the independent fashion capital with the
    highest proportion of clothes shops - six per cent compared to five
    per cent nationally.
  • Scotland is also top for takeaways - six per cent
    compared to five per cent nationally.

Comparison of the
top 20 high street shops in 2008 and 2010 (not including food and

       National ranking -      National ranking -
       2008                    2010                 Change since 2008
    1  CLOTHES SHOP         1  HAIRDRESSING         Up one place
    2  HAIRDRESSING         2  CLOTHES SHOP         Down one place
    3  GROCER               3  GROCER               No change
    4  NEWSAGENT            4  BEAUTY SALON         Up one place
    5  BEAUTY SALON         5  GIFT SHOP            Up one place
    6  GIFT SHOP            6  OFF-LICENCE          Up two places
       ARTS, CRAFTS &
    7  TEXTILES             7  BAKERY               Up four places
                               ARTS, CRAFTS &
    8  OFF-LICENCE          8  TEXTILES             Down one place
    9  FLORISTS             9  NEWSAGENT            Down five places
    10 FURNITURE SHOP       10 FLORISTS             Down one place
    11 BAKERY               11 SWEET SHOP           Up five places
    12 COMPUTER             12 PET SHOP             Up one place
    13 PET SHOP             13 FURNITURE SHOP       New entry
    14 ELECTRICAL GOODS     14 COMPUTER             New entry
    15 SPORTS SHOP          15 ELECTRICAL GOODS     New entry
    16 SWEET SHOP           16 SPORTS SHOP          Down one place
    17 BUTCHER              17 BRIDAL SHOP          Up two places
    18 CHILDRENS CLOTHING   18 JEWELLERY            New entry
    19 BRIDAL SHOP          19 CHILDRENS CLOTHING   New entry
    20 CORNER SHOP          20 DELICATESSEN         New entry

Figures are based on quotes requested
by 75,198 business between 2008 and 2010.

Infographic about the research can be seen here:: href="">

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s largest business insurance

Launched in 2005, the full service insurance specialist
identified a need to improve insurance offerings for the UK’s
millions of small businesses whose needs were neglected by
established insurance and broking companies.  Where the
traditional broking model was slow-moving and inflexible, Simply
Business developed an agile and online brokerage service which was
able to deliver bespoke policies tailored to their individual and
often very specific requirements. Its online offering is supported
by a dedicated, UK based team of insurance specialists who provide
a tailored and personal service more commonly associated with
broker relationships.

Today, Simply Business insures over 170,000 small business
customers, more than any other UK broker.  It has been a
Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years, with
offices in London and Northampton, and employs over 140 people.
 Simply Business revenues have grown 44% a year from £4.2
million in 2006, to £12.5 million in 2009.

For further information and print quality images, please

For more information, please contact 
Lexi Mills 
London: +44(0)20-7183-0767 Mob: +44(0)79-2102-0345


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