Today’s report by PriceWaterhouseCooper and the Local Data Company sighting closures of high street retailers and an increase in shops offering a value product offering should come as no real surprise as the high street continues to align itself with the economic climate and the wants and needs of society. This isn’t a new trend for the high-street and change is certainly a constant of retail marketing.

Electrical stores, travel agents, books stores, furniture retails and fashion stores are all struggling and many of the multiples are consolidating the number of stores to out of town locations.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom with value retailers, top-up supermarkets, charity shops, bakers and shoe shops all opening new stores on the high street. Maybe not the most aspirational of sectors, but growth is still growth and importantly the changes reflect the areas consumers are now in need of.

This switch from premium and lifestyle purchases to focus on distressed and essential purchases will continue as the masses feel the pinch in their purses and wallets. Even the middle-classes are following suit and being frugal is seen as fashionable rather than penny-pinching.

This trend will no doubt reverse as soon as the long awaited recovery arrives. And purchases which consumers are currently delaying will be made once the financial pressure lifts.

And what would my advice be to retailers right now; well if you’re a value retailer then this is your opportunity to make hay while the sun shines – more customers are looking for a bargain so make sure you’re capitalising on this by broadening your target audience and increasing your market share. This also a good time to be reducing your overheads by negotiating on your property rent.

Whatever your business, with high street footfall down then it is vital that your website and digital offering is second to none. For commodity items, price point is key with brand-promiscuous consumers finding it easier and easier to compare costs.

For premium or lifestyle brands, then moving to out of town locations with easier access and parking will be very tempting, but if you want to make the most of your high street locations then emphasis on providing a reason to visit is key. Allowing consumers to touch, feel and interact with your product is essential and providing an engaging retail experience will draw people to your brand.

The hard times are probably here for some time to come, but the right retail environment can see you though until the good times roll again.

Adam Tregaskis

The Behaviours Agency