Over the last few years there has been a noticeable change in the shopping habits of both locals and visitors alike.
One of the biggest differences to towns where visitors used to be a large part of the footfall is that local resorts are now holding on to guest spend within the resort wherever possible. In recent years towns such as Auchterarder and Crieff have seen a noticeable difference in the number of local resort guests visiting local businesses. Why would a guest need to leave the resort when they are able to buy clothes, food and drink, gifts and take part in activities whilst they are there?
Online shopping has also taken its toll. No longer do we require niche shops for occasional items that we can have delivered to our doors within 24hrs of ordering online. Clothing, food, personal items and gifts are all available at the click of a button.
What has increased in both the above mentioned towns is residents. More houses have been built, the community has increased quite dramatically. The number of people visiting local shops from this bigger community does not seem to have increased nearly as much.
What is stopping these new members of the community from visiting local stores? Is it because the stores are priced for wealthy visitors rather than the more modestly paid local workers? Maybe it’s because local residents have a long work commute and by the time they are home the shops are closed? It could even be that newer residents have no idea of what is available as they go to Perth or Stirling for their purchases.
Whatever the reason, now is the time to find out and make our town centres a place that local residents want to visit.