Press releases

Deloitte Consumer Review: restaurants, coffee shops and bars play vital role in evolving high street

19 November 2013

  • Evolution of the high street as leisure takes an increasingly prominent role;
  • 52% of UK consumers prefer going to a coffee shop and 43% a restaurant on their high street than at a shopping centre;
  • 36% would like more choice of restaurants and 25% more variety of bars and coffee shops on their high street.

New research from Deloitte reveals the importance of the high street to UK consumers for leisure activities, such as dining and drinking out.

Over half (52%) of consumers surveyed say they prefer to go to their local high street for a visit to a coffee or tea shop, compared to just 18% at in-town shopping centres and 11% who go to an out-of-town shopping centre.  Similarly, whether eating out at a restaurant (43%), or a night out at a bar or club (28%), the high street is the preferred destination.

The research shows those high streets which maintain the right mix of shops, while offering experiences and convenience that cannot be replicated online remain popular.  This is particularly pertinent as, despite concerns around the demise of the high street, it is still consumers’ choice of destination for top-up groceries (59%), health and personal care (55%) and clothing and footwear (50%).

Ben Perkins, head of consumer business research at Deloitte, comments: “The results demonstrate the continued variety of roles fulfilled by the high street, but also how its use is gradually evolving.  Traditionally, it has been defined as a retail centre that serves the shopping needs of the local community. However, in a changing retail landscape, it must change and offer a broader range of experiences and services in order to become the nerve centre of a town or city; a place where people can get together.”

Adapting to local demand

When it comes to who manages their high street, 73% believe it should be the consumers themselves who decide which shops and services should be available.  If they could have a say on what goes into their local high street, the main improvements consumers want to see relate to parking and store choice.  60% want more free parking, 59% a better selection of shops and 57% more independent stores.  Significantly, consumers also rate highly the opportunity of more choice of restaurants (36%) and of bars and coffee shops (25%).

Jon Lake, a corporate finance director in the licensed retail group at Deloitte, adds: “Food and beverage operators have an increasingly important part to play in the development of the high street.  They need to innovate and maintain brands, products and services to meet the changing demands of the modern consumer.

“However, the high street needs help to enable it to evolve in response to the changing landscape.  An important factor in this will be the need to address its fragmented ownership and management structure, together with planning policies that constructively support the regeneration of town centres.”


Notes to editors

About the Deloitte Consumer Review survey
The research featured in the Deloitte Consumer Review is based on a consumer survey carried out by independent market research agency, TNS, on our behalf. This survey was conducted online with a nationally representative sample of over 1,200 UK adults aged 18+ between 1-3 October 2013.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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