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‘It has a real buzz’: how the new high street is bucking the trend

Chorlton, Great Manchester, is thriving with a mix of businesses backed by an independent ethos and community spirit

The woes of the British high street were highlighted again this week by figures that showed chain stores were closing their doors at the fastest rate in at least nine years.

A net 2,481 stores, banks and other high street businesses disappeared from Britain’s top 500 high streets last year, 40% more than in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC).

But there are also signs of hope. Five retail categories in particular have had increases in 2018: sport and health clubs; cake shops; ice-cream parlours; bookshops; and vaping stores.

In one southern Manchester suburb all the growth areas are in evidence. With its fiercely independent ethos and community spirit to support local businesses, Chorlton has many retail bright spots. The Guardian spoke with traders in the area to see how they were managing to thrive in an industry that has been struggling in recent years.

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DylanThomas

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