What is currently happening to high street sales in the UK?

In 2018, the high street saw the lowest amount of sales that they’ve seen in three years. concerns have resulted in around 40,000 employees having to lose their job, or at risk of this. 

The main reason for this is due to the rise of online shopping within the past years. Consumers are finding it much faster and easier to purchase clothing from the internet, where all they have to do is click a few times on their gadget, than having to get themselves into a town to buy that same item. Recent studies have shown that one in five pounds that are spent in UK shops are now spent online. This has doubled since 2013, where it was one in every ten pounds. These results are significantly similar to additional studies that show that online purchases have increased from 15.3%  to 18.2% over the past year.

In addition to customers shaping the future of purchasing, the stores themselves are equally as responsible. Many stores have closed down due to the fact that without having to pay for the physical space of the store, as well as the additional staff that the store needs, they can do this for much cheaper over the internet by selling on their website. However, this unfortunately only aids in closing down the high street.

When clothing brands are working on the design of their website, once they have chosen this, then their website will continue that formatted image until it is further changed again. But when companies sell in a store, this can attract all kinds of unwanted inevitabilities that come with working in buildings. This can include rust, cobwebs, bugs, damp and dirt from customer’s shoes. Experts have explained that people are specifically avoiding ”dusty old department stores,” as the environment itself may not seem pleasant to them. If a store owner is not keeping their store in a good condition, then this type of behavior from potential customers is seeming to become more common. So what can be done to stop this then?


An internet tax

Mike Ashley, (the CEO of Sports Direct) explained to government MP’s recently that he believes that if a company is making over 20% of their sales online then there should be a separate online tax. This is because he too sees that there is a massive decline in high street sales. Mike Ashley was very passionate about this topic, claiming that high street stores need help from the government in order to stop the stores from becoming even more desolated than they have already become. He explained that it’s ”the internet that is killing the high street.”

For more on ‘Mike Ashley Wants A Tax On Retailers With Online Sales Of More Than 20%‘ please click here.


Appeal to all customers

A total of 3 out of 4 disabled customers claim to have left a store due to a bad experience. This totals to $249 billion that could be spent by all of these customers combined around the world, which is a massive target base to not want to lose. Additionally, this opens up possibilities of negative reviews by your store not catering to those in need, which in turn could conclude to fewer people purchasing there as well. A company must make sure that all customers are welcome in a store, in order to see maximum sales.

Customer Experience

Furthermore from the topic of disability, if any customer is experiencing a negative time in the store, then they are not going to want to return. If the staff are talking to each other at the till, and making the customer wait, then even this act could have severe consequences. The customer could be left feeling that they have to speak up to an uncomfortable volume to get the staff’s attention, making them then not want to be in that position again. Additionally, if a staff member is taking a very long time to check if the item is in store, then this could result in the potential customer walking out and either shopping somewhere else, or shopping for the product online.

For more on ‘Tips To Help Retailers Bring Back High Street Shopping‘ please click here.

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