Centre for Service Management

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14 Mar 2014

March 14th 2014 – UK Consumers Still Loyal to the High Street

photo of a shopping area of Loughborough One of Loughborough's busy shopping areas

A study into consumer behaviour, led by Dr Cathy Hart, core member in the Centre for Service Management and leader of the Town Centres RIG, has revealed that despite increasing competition, town centres are still the preferred shopping destination, accounting for almost a third of all retail visits. However, competition from online retail, supermarkets and out-of-town stores is likely to prove ‘overwhelming’ if town centres do not seize the opportunity to adapt to changing consumer behaviour, the report warns.

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the study was co-funded and supported by a group of project partners, including Argos, the Association of Convenience Stores, Action for Market Towns, Boots UK, the British Retail Consortium and the Loughborough BID Partnership.

The researchers tracked consumers across six towns – Huddersfield, Loughborough, Swindon, Watford, Sandbach and Bury St Edmunds – with respondents logging every aspect of their shopping activity and experiences over a four-week period.

A copy of the ESRC town centre research report can be downloaded here.