Coffee shops buck high street trend

Image: Pixabay

The character of our high streets is changing. As online shopping soars in popularity and customers prefer to browse from the comfort of their arm chairs, shops are also being hit with rising costs. The number of new shops opening in Britain is currently at its lowest for seven years, and a study commissioned by Price Waterhouse Coopers has revealed that almost 6,000 shops closed last year. Famously among recent casualties are big chains such as BHS, Toys R Us and Maplin. Among the sectors hardest hit are clothes shops, banks and travel agents, with more and more customers preferring to shop, bank and book holidays online.

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom though, and the good news is that there are several retail genres bucking the trend – including coffee shops. It seems that spending all that time hunched over our computers buying shoes isn’t replacing our need to socialise – so after our online shopping, we’re still strolling along to our local cafe for some actual human contact. Other industries on the ride include bookshops, tearooms, craft beer pubs, ice cream parlours and shops selling beauty products and services such as nail bars.

It seems that stores offering experiences rather than just products are being more popular rather than less. Ordering a six pack of craft beer online simply doesn’t compare with the experience of drinking it in a pub with your mates – and it’s the same with coffee shops. Despite pressures on the British retail industry, 25 new coffee shops opened in the UK last year. Perhaps the ideal new business idea is a coffee shop selling books, ice cream, beer and face cream? It can only be a matter of time.

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