The Future of the High street

There is no denying it, the British high street is in trouble.

1 in 6 shops in the UK is currently boarded up, with footfall down by 10% in the last three years. A quarter of the UK’s high streets are failing, with another 11% in decline. Against this near universal picture of doom and gloom, Saatchi & Saatchi have commissioned research that reveals an unexpected story of optimism.

Over the past few months, we have been talking to 1500 16 – 29 year olds from across Britain about their high street and the role that they want it to play in their lives. We chose this group because if the high street has a future, they are it. Numbering some 11.1m people, they are the future lenders, spenders and shopkeepers of this ailing institution.

On February 2nd 2012, we hosted a dinner to discuss the future of the UK retail environment. Chaired by our EMEA CEO, Robert Senior, guests included captains of the British retail industry, senior clients and politicians, notably Tessa Jowell – Shadow Minister for the Olympics and London. At this event, we asked whether the high-street as we know it is dead, whether it matters, and what steps can be taken to future proof its existence for 2012 and beyond. A selection of thoughts that informed the dinner are captured here in mini-interviews with some of the guests, in addition to the downloadable research paper.

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