High street shopping

Convenience shops sell things we use every day, eg milk and newspapers. These shops are usually close to people’s homes so people can make many visits during the week.

In the past, it was important to have a range of local shops within walking distance because people had to buy fresh food on a regular basis. Most districts had a local high street but recently some have declined.

Typical high street shops also sell low order goods, and include products from:

  • green grocers
  • butchers
  • bakers
  • chemists

Many people now travel by car to large supermarkets once a week, where they can buy many of their groceries in one place. These are usually located in accessible locations, eg off ring roads. Long working hours also mean that many people only have time to visit one shop for their groceries - and we are able to store food for longer periods because we have refrigerators. This means we don’t have to visit shops as often.

A busy high street in Brighton, UK

City centres have traditionally been places where people go to shop for comparison goods or high order goods. These are relatively expensive goods that we don't buy very often, eg clothes and electrical products. The word 'comparison' suggests that people will visit a number of shops selling similar goods to compare them before selecting and buying one. Comparison goods shops need to attract lots of shoppers so they often group together to attract as many people as possible - this is so they can have a high threshold population.

In recent years there have been many changes in the way people shop for comparison goods. Two of the main changes are: