A retail expert will outline opportunities for independent shops at Business Gateway workshops in Angus this month.
John Cowan thinks the “doom and gloom” about declining high streets has been overdone and that there is still lucrative potential in retail.
His workshop will give an overview of the retail market and tips for shops to succeed.
“When taking a closer look at the facts and figures, the reality is that the large, national corporations are retracting and reducing their high street foothold,” he said.
“Without these big players, there is an opportunity for independent retailers to step into this space.
“You don’t have to look far to see positive examples like Hawick, Kelso and Pitlochry, which show how local high streets can flourish when independent retailers are given the chance to shine.”
Mr Cowan’s background is working in business operations for companies like Disney, Asda, Littlewoods and John Smith & Sons.
As an independent business consultant, he has provided support and mentoring for SMEs since 2008.
“I have witnessed first-hand the shifts in shopping habits throughout the past 20 years and helped hundreds of independent businesses to navigate the changing climate,” he added.
“My mission is to counteract the negativity heaped upon the high street by using facts and figures collated from the National Office of Statistics, British Retail Consortium and Which? reports.
“At each of my workshops, I ask participants to guess what percentage of UK shopping is done online.
“Guesses often start at around 50%, with some people predicting as much as 60% or 70%.
“In reality, the proportion of UK shopping done online as of September this year is 19.1%.
“While this is a substantial amount, it is definitely not the majority.”
“I think the answer is the perfect blend of the online with the physical.”
“Independent retailers need to work together to make local high streets a place of entertainment and opportunity, creating experiences that are impossible to replicate online.
Mr Cowan will deliver his first session at the Northern Hotel in Brechin tomorrow.
The second is at the Airlie Arms in Kirriemuir on November 11, both sessions run from 6pm to 9pm.
Places can be booked through the Business Gateway website.