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What the Irish want from shopping street

Wednesday, July 30 11:14:30

New research, published by Deloitte, focusing on the key opportunities and challenges facing high street retailers has found that eight in ten consumers want more variety of stores.

It found that 76pc of consumers are satisfied with the convenience offered by the high street while a smaller number, 60pc, are satisfied with the choice and selection of stores while some 72pc of respondents are satisfied with the safety of the high street.

The three areas consumers highlighted they were most dissatisfied with included parking facilities - as identified by 49pc of respondents, followed by access to free internet services including WiFi (39pc) and the number of public places including squares and public sitting areas (38pc).

The report highlights how the dynamic of the retail market has changed over the last number of years, with the high street experiencing increased competition from out-of-town retail parks, and the growth in online shopping. In addition to these competitive pressures, high street retailers have also been squeezed in recent years by declining sales volumes, coupled with onerous long-term leases with upward only rent reviews.

Despite these challenges, the high street remains a key destination for consumers. 40pc of consumers shop for clothing, footwear and accessories on the high street, while 35pc shop for jewellery there. While a third said they go to the high street for health and personal care products, people also like to purchase these types of products in local stores and in town. 'Books, music and media' was the only product category where a higher proportion of respondents shop online compared to the high street.

Kevin Sheehan, Head of Consumer Business for Deloitte Ireland, commented: "Consumers in today's market have more sophisticated expectations of product, service, value and environment when compared to five years ago. The accessibility of online retailers has multiplied with the improvement and growth in the internet, smart devices and the availability of WiFi. Technology has enabled consumers to take control of their shopping experience. High street retailers, through the integration of certain technology solutions in store, can combat some of the competitive pressures enforced by online retailers and use the advances in technology to help reshape their business. For example, the roll out of in-store WiFi would enable retailers to gather valuable consumer data on consumer trends based on what they are looking at while in the store."

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