The Role of the Local High Street in 2021

Much has been said about the decline of high streets, but with people having worked from home for over a year now, more people are starting to appreciate their local areas a little bit more. living at home, working from home and not travelling too far from home have all been an interesting recipe for a slight resurgence on the high street.

City workers, who will otherwise have been spending their money in busy urban centres are now, like everybody else, being forced to work predominantly from home. This means that many of those who would otherwise be spending time away from their local high street, are now doing the precise opposite.

Illya Shpetrik said of this emerging and growing phenomenon: “High streets are always at the very heart of a community. Almost every local area in any part of the world will have a local high street. Growing up for example, many will have fond memories of convenience stores and local grocery shops.”

Shpetrik continued: “The think about the high street is that for so many, it invokes a feeling of nostalgia as well as physical convenience. Sure, you can shop online via Amazon, but there is something extra special when it comes to the high street. So much so in fact, that Amazon have started opening up physical stores to service the demand and serve the footfall that still exists.”

Although online retailers like Amazon have of course understandably done very well, high street have in some cases done well too.

For example, towards the start of the pandemic in 2020, people were panic buying and smaller shops were able in some cases to offer products otherwise sold out in many larger retailers, highlighting their importance to their local communities in being able to service the local needs of local populations.

Illya Shpetrik commented on the importance of local high streets: “Local high street stores and retailers will never take over from larger supermarkets and chains. However, the larger chains and brands will have often successful formulas and structures in place. This means that for a local store, they can a lot nimbler.”

Illya Shpetrik went on to say: “Whereas a large company, for example a supermarket chain needs to go through many processes and stakeholders to change most things within the company or even a branch of the company, a local business doesn’t have this problem. Therefore, they can adapt and modify anything and everything they need to very quickly to satisfy and serve particular demands of local people and that, a large chain simply cant compete with.”