Reports of the high street's death are greatly exaggerated

Clara Guibourg
Follow Clara
Brixton high street
Source: Getty

Reports of the high street’s death are greatly exaggerated. At least in London.

Forget e-commerce or retail parks: When it comes to what we like best, a majority of Britons still rate the high street best, as a new study has found that Londoners visit our high streets 97 times per year.

This is quite the opposite of what we’ve come to expect for the UK’s embattled high streets, as figures have shown the number of people heading there in steady decline over the past years, disrupted not least by the allure of online shopping, which has skyrocketed in the same period to make Britain the e-commerce capital of Europe.

Footfall on the high street fell some 2.8 per cent against last year, while shopping centres saw a 2.6 per cent decline as shoppers were taking to the internet instead.

But according to new figures, we’ve still got a soft spot for the classic high street. Especially in London, as the average Londoner will make 20 more annual visits to his or her high street than the average Briton.

Some six in ten surveyed like shopping on the high street best, citing “supporting the local community” and “better service” as the main reasons for their preference.

Britons are spending £26 per visit, adding up to a total of £93.7bn that high street shoppers are adding to the economy, according to the study conducted by Populus and Cardtronics.

In more good news for the UK’s high streets, shop vacancy has dropped to a five-year-low, falling as low as 21.9 per cent.