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Waitrose managing directors unveils plans to open cafes

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'Passionate about supporting local communities in which it operates' Waitrose are planning to provide us with another amenity in the form of a cafe.

Speaking at a conference this week, Waitrose managing director Mark Price has said he plans to open standalone cafes on the high street.

Although another cafe may not be exactly what Chiswick is crying out for, recent research highlighted 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.

Jeffrey Young, Managing Director of Allegra Strategies who conducted the study 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.”

June 10, 2011