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Online shopping gradually replaces high street stores in UK

Reporter: Li Sien, Lv Li 丨 CCTV.com

09-30-2016 11:39 BJT

British consumers are leading the way when it comes to online shopping. This move towards e-commerce has caused a huge shift on the UK’s high streets, with many retail shops standing vacant. But these changes in shopping habits are paving the way for a transformation of many British shopping centres, as CCTV's UK correspondent Natalie Powell report.

The British High Street is changing. One in every ten retail spaces in UK town centres is currently unoccupied. And shoppers are having to adjust.

Voxes Ruth said, "It’s changed a lot since we moved here, a lot of the shops that were here recently have started to shut down, there’s a lot of closures and they’ve been replaced by a lot of factory outlet stores."

Lisa said, "It’s terrible because there were some really nice stores and it would be nice to have them open again. But as they’re closing down it’s becoming a right ghost town."

"The closure of department store BHS has left a huge dent in many British High Streets, and some analysts are predicting that large retail spaces like this could perhaps remain empty for quite some time," said Natalie Powell.

This is partly the knock-on effect of the growing trend for online shopping. But with change also comes opportunity. While some high-streets may be experiencing a low-point, experts are now beginning to see an evolution taking place in UK town centres.

Marketing and insight director of Springboard Research Limited, Diane Wehrle, said, "The online world has created huge change in the way we shop and the way we live, so hence the footfall on our high street is declining year on year so we won’t see more people visiting our high street but they’ll come in for different reasons. The functional transnational purchases we can do online, so people tend to be visiting high streets for more experienced led activities."

As a result cafes, tattoo studios, nail bars and e-cigarette shops are moving in. These all offer a service that can’t be bought online. The Vape Emporium believes that’s why its customers come back time and time again, and after opening two stores, it is now planning shops three and four.

Managing director of Vape Emporium, Andy Logan, said, "It’s down to the experience you get when you come in store, it’s very much tailored towards the customer being given all the information they need, which is much more difficult to get online, there are a plethora or different products. There are all these variables and it’s very difficult when your’e a consumer to choose what to get online."

So it’s the personal touch drawing customers into the high-street and an experience-led service which is helping to bring in the sales.

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