Many children have never visited traditional high street shops, survey finds

Many primary school age children say they have never visited traditional high street shops such as the butcher’s or greengrocer’s, a survey has found.

The research among five to 11-year-olds found nearly a third (32%) of children surveyed have never been to a butcher’s shop, while nearly a quarter (23%) have not visited a greengrocer.

In further evidence of changing habits, more than half (56%) have never been to a launderette, 44% have not visited a florist and 41% have never been to a shop which repairs shoes or cuts keys, Nationwide Building Society found.

One in seven (13%) children surveyed said they have never visited a bank or building society.

Three quarters (76%) of children said their parents’ shopping usually comes from a large supermarket and two fifths (40%) said their parents shop online.

Online shopping habits varied geographically. Half of children in London (50%) said their family shops online, compared with just over a quarter of children in Wales (27%).

When asked what a high street is, a quarter (26%) of children did not know.

But nearly three quarters (72%) of the 2,000 children surveyed would prefer to buy items in a shop than online.

The reasons given for this were to explore the different items (64%), feeling grown-up (31%), and being able to talk to people (10%).

Of those who know what high streets are, more than four in 10 (41%) children do not think they offer enough for them to do.

When asked what would make them go to a high street more often, the most popular answers were more places to play and a better choice of shops.

And 3% would be tempted to go more often if there were more phone chargers available.

Nationwide recently pledged to not leave any town or city in which it is based without a branch until at least May 2021.

Mandy Beech, Nationwide’s branch network director, said: “Our research shows there is a clear need for local shopping centres in the eyes of the youngest generation.

“It is up to businesses – large and small – to think how we can work together, invest and rejuvenate our high streets.

“Kids say the high street gives them the opportunity to explore and feel grown-up.

“But they want more variety and places to play and that can only come from greater investment. This is perhaps what is putting parents off going shopping locally.”

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