A coalition of leading figures in the retail industry has been formed to try and take more UK high streets online.
Named target200, the group hopes to build an e-commerce network that will enable independent retailers from 200 high streets to make the most of the opportunities provided by the internet in a bid to revive their ailing fortunes. It is comprised of MyHigh.St, Play.com, the British Independent Retailers Association (bira), Action for Market Towns and the Association of Town and City Management.
The coalition will be officially launched tomorrow (October 31st) and is set to release a report entitled 'A Nation of Shopkeepers', which will reveal 32 per cent of UK consumers do not think the high street has a future, but 40 per cent are scared of losing their local high street.
Loaye Agabani, MyHigh.St co-founder, commented: "The high street is facing its toughest ever battle. This year has seen our town centre chains shut more than 30 shops per month as the pressure from online competitors, out-of-town shopping centres and the economic climate took its toll."
She claimed action needs to be taken to ensure independent high street retailers not only survive, but thrive.
Alan Hawkins, bira chief executive, said encouraging companies to embrace the growing prominence of e-commerce will be good for shoppers, retailers and communities.
Play.com managing director Shingo Murakami stated: "We have built a global business by harnessing the power of the internet to help smaller businesses compete and grow; whilst protecting their individuality and their brands."
He added that Play is committed to helping more independent stores make the most of online retail.
Earlier this month, EU figures revealed 82 per cent of Britons with internet access used the web for shopping in 2012, which is more than in any other European nation. The most popular items to buy online were clothes and sports goods and holidays and accommodation, with 51 per cent of internet users having done so for both categories.
Satellite broadband can help both businesses and shoppers make the most of online retail.