Traditional retail is dying; at least, that’s what major news outlets want you to think. For decades, people have been under the impression that independently owned shops are in a slow decline as a result of tax, amongst other things. But is traditional retail really under threat, especially in the local area? Today I’ll try to answer this question and many more.
In Hampton, whilst walking around the high street, one might find that there are many independent shops that appear to be doing just fine. Unfortunately, however, with a little bit of further inspection it becomes obvious that more is happening behind the scenes. Around a dozen have recently closed in Hampton alone, mainly consisting of shops in which general, common items are sold. In contrast, the shops that have been able to survive mainly consist of services such as hairdressers, restaurants and the like. It can therefore be deducted that the main threats to independent shops are online and big-chain retailers selling common-day items as well as food. But why is this?
I believe that this is mainly occurring as a result of familiarity. If the average individual is somewhere a long way away from their home, if they want to buy something quickly such as food or an average common item, they are more likely to buy at a place that they know is of a high quality. Therefore, if there’s a shop that’s part of a chain they recognise, they will buy there. This also applies for online shopping, as less effort is needed to buy something which they know will be good and cheap. Therefore, these types of shops will eventually become entirely controlled by a select set of companies, to the expense of independent shopkeepers.
In high contrast is the type of shop that provides services such as hairdressers and restaurants. These are not often used, so are consequently going to be used locally. Restaurants, however, are the exception, but often they have some sort of rating to determine the quality. Anyway, for a large chain to have restaurants would risk food quality to the expense of remaining cheap. This is, of course, where the origins of fast food places come from. Therefore, this type of shop is seldom under threat from any large company. This is evident in Hampton. General shops and food shops tend to have been closing, whilst restaurants, especially those of an Indian theme, prove to be thriving.
In conclusion, only certain categories of shop are being greatly affected by the rise of online retailing and large chains. Others, however, are less affected. This is mainly due to the rise of globalism and easy travel across the nation, inspiring large-scale consumerism that’s become rampant in shutting down food and general item shops. Years ago, before this, everything was local. Fortunately, this has endured to some extent and continues to highlight the local area in any small town or village.