Signs of hope for our high streets?

By: Lee Perkins

Date: 3 October 2012

Signs of hope for our high streets/store closing down{{}}Britain's high streets could be pulled back from the brink of extinction by a new wave of entrepreneurs. Hope for our high street is provided by new research published by Sage, which suggests that one in five people planning on starting a business would open a retail shop on the high street. That number rockets to 47% for those planning on launching a service-based business.

The YouGov Entrepreneurial Britain study was conducted as part of Sage's Discover Your Business Potential campaign and surveyed 3,329 respondents. It aimed to shed light on how many people are planning on setting up a business in the UK, where these businesses will be and in what sectors. Its findings suggest that:

  • 25% of Brits want to start a business, with retail proving the most popular sector for budding entrepreneurs.
  • Providing services to business (11%) and personal services (9%), for example, beauticians, plumbers and cleaners, were the next most popular choices.
  • And despite the strength of online sales, 52% of 18-24 year olds surveyed were planning to start an offline shop.

High street shop closures have impacted town and cities across the UK, with an average of 14 shops closing a day at worst. The north east of England is the area hardest hit, with 15 per cent of retailers closing. However, Sage's research suggests that things are looking up for the region. The North East has the highest number of people planning to start a business, with retail again being the most popular choice (22%).

The research suggests there is light at the end of the tunnel. Everyone has business potential and it’s encouraging to see so many people set to launch a new venture in the next couple of years. Whether it's the Mary Portas effect or not, without doubt, there is hope for the UK high street.

  • The Entrepreneurial Britain research was conducted as part of a wider Sage initiative where the company is looking to provide prospective entrepreneurs and existing small business owners with guidance and insights that help them to discover their potential. We have published a range of free guides for small firms and start-ups. You can read them here.
  • We’ve also produced an infographic showing which types of businesses are being started in different parts of the country as you can see below.

Signs of hope for our high streets/Saga Entrepreneurial UK map{{}}

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