Preston is the ninth best centre for independent retail, national survey says

New research has said that Preston is in the top ten towns and cities in the country for having independent shops.

By Tim Gavell
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 3:30 pm

The study by South Western Railway revealed that Preston was the ninth best place for independent shopping in the UK tied with Ipswich.

To champion shopping independently, South Western Railway analysed the number of independent shops in each town and city according to Indie Retail, and compared this against population figures to reveal where in the UK has the highest number of independent retailers per 100,000 people.

The top city in the survey was Cambridge, which was credited with having 43 independent retailers, or 35 per 100,000 people, while Preston had 19, or 14 per 100,000 visitors.

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Friargate in Preston. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

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The survey said that cycling was the strongest indy sector there followed by food and drink establishments and book shops.

The study also said that Google searches for “independent bookstores” had increased 376 per cent from 2018 to 2022, and “independent bike shop” increased by 270 per cent.

Calli Ward, head of marketing at South Western Railway said: “Nothing beats getting to know a city through the businesses and people that make it what it is. Being able to give back by supporting small, independent retailers is so important, no matter where you are in the UK.

“Whether you are visiting a new place, or discovering local gems, consider grabbing your next coffee, next gift for a friend, or new bike gear from an indie shop. There are plenty across the UK offering bespoke, independent shopping experiences who would no doubt appreciate your custom.”

Brighton and Hove was the second biggest independent retail offer according to the survey with York third.