The rise of internet shopping has certainly made life harder for local retailers, with consumers preferring the ease and convenience of ordering online, as well as the greater amount of choice on offer.
Last year, it was reported that UK high street sales had slumped to a to a 25-year low.
However, some retailers are claiming that the end 2019 actually saw a small shift back towards the high street, citing better than expected Christmas sales figures and slight increases in profit.
In Brighton, we are blessed with a huge array of wonderful independent shops. It’s one of the things we’re famous for, and it is hard to imagine our city without them.
There are plenty of reasons why it is worth going local for some of your weekly purchases. We take a look at 5 of the best…
1. It’s better for the local economy
Research on spending by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stayed in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business. This is because local business-owners are likely to spend the money you give them in other local shops, meaning that this money goes back into the local economy rather than being sucked out of it by a big corporation. Shopping small really is the foundation for building a strong and sustainable local economy.
2. It helps create local jobs
Collectively, small businesses are by far the biggest UK employers, accounting for three-fifths of employment in the private sector. Furthermore, research shows that they are more likely to pay a proper living wage than big corporations. Shopping locally therefore helps to sustain a fair and thriving local job market.
3. It’s better for the environment
Buying locally produced goods from local shops helps to reduce your carbon footprint, as these products do not come with thousands of air miles attached. Food from a local farm, for example, has not been carried on long plane or truck journeys to make it to your plate, meaning you can dig in with a less guilty conscience.
4. It helps to preserve the individuality and character of a town
In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by carbon-copy chain stores, independent shops bring much-needed originality and variety to communities. Part of the charm of streets like those in Brighton’s North Laine, for example, is that they are a collage of different, quirky shop-fronts, all selling unique, one-off items. These small shops rely on your support far more than the big chains, as they don’t have a wealth of other branches or endless reserves of money to fall back on if business declines. Imagine walking down Kensington Gardens and seeing all the same shops as Churchill Square – it doesn’t bear thinking about!
5. You can help build communities
Independent cafes, bookshops, florists and gift shops often host events run by people in the community, whether that’s reading groups knitting circles! Groups like this are vital to strengthening community ties and bringing people together
If these businesses disappear, it goes without saying that these local groups are likely to disappear too.