The Great British High Street (GBHS) awards have now been running for 5 years and 2018 was successful for many across the UK. The awards are launched across England, Scotland and Wales and 2018 saw Northern Ireland entered. 38 high streets across the country were announced as finalists in the ‘Champion’ and ‘Rising Star categories’.
Each high street is judged against four pillars of success: community, customer experience, environment and digital transformation. The judge’s scores are combined with votes submitted over social media and the winners are announced at a ceremony in London in November 2018. A ‘Champion’ and ‘Rising Star’ high street was named for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Crickhowell High Street claimed the top prize and was named the overall winner of the Great British High Street Awards 2018, taking home the title of the ‘UK’s Best High Street.’ See the full list of winners here.
This year is planned to be even better with entries closing on the 11th July so you don’t have long to make your entry count. Take look at the entry for Knutsford and give us your support in becoming a champion of high streets. You can support by posting on your social media accounts using the hashtag #knutsford #MyHighStreet tagging in @TheGBHighst
Our UK high streets face challenges every day they are open. We as a not-for-profit organisation are committed along with many other support organisations and the government to restoring the high street. We want to support small businesses, not only locally but throughout the UK in the quest to restoring the high street.
On a daily basis, we are working with many businesses and we will help and support business owners to overcome the challenges that are faced every day. High rents, long leases, competing with the website trading which now makes up to over 20% of all retail sales. This is a challenge for any independent high street business to compete against.
A high street can be the life and soul of a town, offering shops that you would not see in large retail parks and shopping centres. From quirky gifts to beautiful bespoke furniture pieces from independent small businesses who have been making a living for many years as a family run business. Across England and Wales, an average of 8% of shops have disappeared since 2013, with some towns like Stoke and Blackpool shutting two out of 10 town centres sites over the past five years. Stoke has the biggest decline losing 23% of its 415 stores in just 5 years.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) clothing retailers are now seeing a decline with 750 shops lost from the high street. This is sad news for the nearly half-million people working in the industry. But from this decline, an increase has been seen in health and beauty salons opening with more than 40 openings in Bright and Hove alone.
So whilst are buying habits are changing and moving more towards looking for online bargains for example footwear, clothes and bookshops, we see a massive increase in the high street becoming a hive for beauty therapy treatments.
If you have seen a decline in your local high street let us know, have you seen over the years how it has changed, are the big retailers moving in which are pushing out the small independent family business. Are you one of these businesses it has affected?