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Is the High Street Disappearing or Migrating?

This morning, the Metro free paper has emblazoned on its front page the title Internet ‘killing off town stores’.

The story covers a new report on the slowing of high street spending and the increase in online sales. The average Internet shopper is now spending about £130 more per year than they did in 2002.

Firstly, I am quite surprised that online spend per person has only risen by 28% over etail’s biggest growth years and secondly I’m not sure that the report takes into account those people who have migrated their business from the high street to the Internet because of the opportunities there.

The report doesn’t integrate the 1.5m UK businesses online, a number which is rapidly increasing and suggests that before long our high streets will look like ghost towns.

In Manchester everywhere you can see redevelopment of residential and city areas. The spaces are being filled by different industries. While retail is moving online and competing more effectively there, the service industry is moving into our high streets and filling a very public demand.

I’d love to know figures on those businesses moving online from the high street and similarly, the proportion of retail versus service sector on the local high streets now. I think extra statistics are needed to validate a report like this.

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