What future for the High Street?

A news item on BBC Breakfast this am featured a couple of high streets - Swindon in Wiltshire and Wimbledon Common. It's probably not news to many of us but the traditional, independent high street retailer is fast becoming a shop of the past as supermarkets continue to embrace every product available to man, Internet shopping becomes ever-easier and out of town retail parks offer a one-stop, easy access, free parking experience.  So what future for the High Street? According to a new report (I missed the source) 28% of all recent startups are in the food, wine, hairdressing and beauty salon sector. This is certainly true for my home town - whenever a shop closes we have a restaurant / wine bar start-up instead. So is this a market niche start-ups should be looking to exploit? What about disposable income? As we're all tightening our belts how come we apparently have the cash to eat and drink on such a scale? And just last week the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) was warning that the heavy snow falls and disruption to traffic meant that we were all staying in and that small restaurants were failing. So there's a bit of a conflict here - especially as the turnover of eateries seems to be very high.

We'd be interested in your views.....  

The BBC's Inside Out at 7.30pm discusses this topic in more detail - this is a regional programme though so you need to check your own local schedules. Worth watching I think.

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