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We may feel they're akin to mobile phone shops and estate agencies but a new report has highlighted the welcome boost coffee shops give to our High Road.

Carried out by research company Allegra Strategies, the report shows the impact of coffee shops in maintaining the vibrancy of town centres during tough economic times – with up to 25% of footfall made up by people out for a coffee. Almost 90% of local businesses questioned say the extra trade brings life to their high street and 40% say it gives them a direct lift in takings.

The report, entitled 'The Role of Coffee Shops on the High Street', offers a snapshot of High Streets as they adapt to changing consumer habits by becoming places for leisure, socialising and conducting business rather than simply being places for shopping. It’s the first-ever independent, in-depth examination of the role of coffee shops on the modern UK high street and was developed with the support of Starbucks to better understand the changing marketplace.

The report makes the following conclusions about the future role of coffee shops on the high street:
Creating a ‘dynamic High Street’ which offers consumers a vibrant experience is critical to the success of retail on the high street and local economy, these include a mix of outlets for both leisure, community and retail purposes.

Jeffrey Young, Managing Director, Allegra Strategies said: “High Streets have taken a battering during the recession and they have to adapt and innovate in order to survive and prosper. With more retail going on-line, successful local shopping is about creating a more diverse mix for people to meet and enjoy their leisure time. There’s no substitute for human contact, which goes some way to explain the phenomenal success of coffee shops.”

Managing Director of Starbucks UK & Ireland, Darcy Willson-Rymer said: “The report gives us vital insight into the changing high street and the behaviour of our customers. Local businesses understand the positive impact of Starbucks on the success of their neighbourhoods – in fact I’m often asked if we can open a store to help boost the vibrancy of a town centre. But it’s also clear that customers expect us to be part of their community and are asking us more than ever to become a focal point for meetings, conversations and volunteering. ”

January 20, 2011