Could collaborative retail save our high streets? Independent retailers should merge to avoid closure

The Collaborative Retail report from Gekko looks at how independent retailers can think more innovately to avoid struggling on the high street

Gekko's retail report suggests ways independent retailers can flourish on the high street.

The survey has revealed that independent retailers should think more creatively and work together to avoid going bust.

The report interviewed 2,000 UK adults, with nearly three quarters (73%) admitting that they thought independent retailers should collaborate to come up with innovate ideas like sharing shop space and marketing costs ad cutting down on their individual overheads.

Independent shoe and clothing retailers were among the most popular types of shops for collaborations ( favoured by 71% of consumers), followed by book shops and cafes (68%) and bakeries and greengrocers (65%).

Reasons for these collaborations included consumers wanting to support the high street (64%), wanting to support local businesses (63%), by choice (56%), convenience (52%) and an enhanced shopping experience (48%).

Alongside these collaborations, nearly 90% of consumers thought it was important that large national retail brands renovated their store designs and opened up concepts in new regions rather than just in major high street destinations. Over fifty per cent (56%) said they would visit their local high street more if brands did this.

Nearly three quarters (70%) of consumers said they were concerned about the impact of online sales on the high street and the local economy, but felt that the high street still had a major role to play such as it meant consumers could try items before they buy (62%), browse leisurely (55%), buy an item and take it home immediately (51%) and visit multiple shops in one go (40%).

Daniel Todaro, MD at Gekko, said: “We cannot just sit back and watch our high streets continue to degrade. Our research clearly shows that UK consumers are worried about the future of the high street and the impact its demise will have on their communities.

"They would love to see more independent retail collaborations and believe this is a very exciting way to inject life back into the high street and it does make sense. However, this approach to retail requires new and imaginative ideas from Government that support the legal and financial infrastructure of such initiatives. Our high streets do have a lot to offer so Government and retailers need to work together to make it an enticing proposition and lure people back.”

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