Changing geographies of retail: Does the high street have a future?

Rikhil Morjaria
University of Reading
August 2017


The high street is perceived as being at the heart of the community. However increasing pressure from larger shopping centres and online retailers threaten high streets and are seen to be behind a recent decline of traditional retail spaces. This report evaluates the methods that councils and other economic development organisations are using to promote traditional high street retail environments. It focuses on two important time periods in the retail calendar, Christmas and Black Friday 2014. Fieldwork was conducted in 15 town centres in South East England, which included interviews with town centre managers and planners as well as observations of promotional events and activities. I found that involving the community in events and initiatives is an important way to add vitality back to the high street however more needs to be done on a national level in the form of cutting business rates and amending planning policy. Whilst the threat from online retailers can have detrimental effects on the high street, this can be minimised by using the Internet alongside physical retail stores and offering more than just a basic service to increase customer satisfaction. Significantly retailers must adapt to changing environments and meet customer’s needs by meeting their aspirations from retail shopping.


economic geography, Black Friday, High Street, online retailing, retail, town centre

Changing geographies of retail: Does the high street have a future? by Rikhil Morjaria 
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons Attribution

Based on a work at

Original Papers - Geoverse
ISSN 1758-3411
Editor-in-Chief: Professor Helen Walkington