With the onset of globalisation producing increasingly familiar high street brands – whether in New York, London, Dubai or Tokyo – the independent retailer has arguably never been under so much pressure.
In addition, traditional shops and sole traders across the planet are wrestling with the economic downturn and advance in internet shopping. Certainly the UK’s high street is changing in front of our eyes as independent merchants and even larger shopping chains are taken to the brink of economic solvency.
With 20 UKshops closing every day and over 25,000 lost in the past ten years the British Government announced that Mary Portas, the leading retail marketing guru, would be officially undertaking a review of the English high street. The Report was published on 13 December 2011.
In addition to her 28-point revitalisation plan she has obviously warned that town centres “would never return to their traditional image of butcher, baker, greengrocer and fishmonger”.
All hours shopping – Africa style
The fact remains that away from our home town whenever we travel to a foreign land the local markets, shops and traders play a hugely important part in how much we enjoy our holiday. I too am constantly inspired by the energy, inventiveness and sense of entrepreneurship across the destinations we send clients on holiday. The buzz of local street life acts as a very visible indicator of how well a local community and economy is thriving. So whether on a beach, in a mountain village or in one of the world’s capitals the retail community provide important hubs of social interaction, providing employment and local commerce.
With international travellers constantly looking for a unique experience independent traders will always win in my mind. Spending holiday money locally is also always an invaluable way of contributing to the local community and a brilliant example of responsible tourism.
So look out for the local retail vending outlets taking on the bigger brands.
Fast food take-away
Tony & Guy Hairdressers
Nike & Reebok shoes store
Private re-cycling unit