SHOPPING in person is dead, that is something we have been repeatedly told, for a host of reasons from online shopping, to being able to listen to music on our phones instead of visiting a record shop.

However, in contrast to this, there are more record shops now than in the 1990s, and despite Amazon becoming a new favourite way to purchase novels, the number of independent bookshops in the UK hit a decade-high in 2022.

Add to this the fact that certain high streets, in cities such as York, are booming, it seems like more than the British public's unwillingness to hit the shops is at play, rather an unwillingness to adapt.

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Venturing into huge chain stores does not hold the same appeal, when you can simply order the same items on your phone, often for cheaper, try them on in the comfort of your home, and return them for free. But companies like Debenhams, disappearing from our towns, don't necessarily signify 'the end'.

An example of this is Farnham in Surrey, it's a wealthy town, sure, which undoubtedly contributes to its perseverance to keep opening new shops, but it also holds a huge amount of charm, with a record shop, dozens of cafes, and gift shops.

Similarly, in Basingstoke, we have a paradox in which shops like Wilko have shut down, whereas the retailer Fig and Fox has just opened a permanent branch in the city centre due to its unfounded amounts of success. 

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It is for that reason, that I believe the high street isn't dead like so many of us believe, it simply needs to be given CPR in the form of independent shops offering things that traditional retailers can't.

For that to happen, incentives should be provided to attract these shops, such as low-commitment pop-up leases, subdivided units and lowered rent prices.

After all, I'd much rather visit a town centre with a wide variety of unique shops offering alternative products and experiences, than see a copy-and-paste high street with Primark, H&M and HMV in every single town.