We are all, it would seem, becoming more and more discerning with our shopping habits. I was interviewed by the Telegraph the other day for an article they were preparing on the nation’s changing high streets and over the last year apparently, the number of traditional tea rooms like ours has risen by a remarkable 15 per cent.
Digging deeper, it becomes evident that independent high-street retailers are becoming increasingly creative, tempting shoppers away from the large supermarkets and chain stores to enjoy a more unique experience.
I think our very own Stoke Newington Church Street is a lovely example of this.
A leading business insurance provider analysed over 30,000 independent retail outlets across the UK. This revealed that wine bars are up 13 per cent, traditional sweet shops up 15 per cent, and local butchers and bakeries have risen 21 and 17 per cent respectively, suggesting shoppers are happy to go to specialist outlets rather than supermarkets for certain purchases. Conversely, the number of pubs, cafes and sandwich bars has declined quite significantly.
Further evidence shows that independent shops are also catering to the recession-conscious Brits who are becoming evermore creative and resourceful. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of shops dedicated to ‘make it yourself’ purchases and in our own way we have seen this reflected at The Tea Rooms with the popularity of our floristry, knitting and crocheting workshops, and cake-baking classes.
The nation’s high streets have been struggling with a 5.5 per cent decline on last years’ footfall and all of us along Church Street have definitely felt this. But I think if we take the advice from Mary Portas and continue to ‘create experiences different to the ones consumers can get online or in shopping malls’ then I am optimistic that Stoke Newington will continue to support its local shops and that our high street’s future will be bright and boutique!
Click here to read The Telegraph’s article