What are high streets?

[] What is a high street and how does it differ from a retail street or a mall? We explain

Connaught Place in Delhi, Hiranandani Powai in Mumbai, Fergusson College Road in Pune and T Nagar in Chennai. What do they have in common? These are high streets where one can see some of the most prominent businesses and retail showrooms. It is easy to identify such locations, because of the way they attract crowds, even from far-flung areas.

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What are high streets?

City High streets
Bangalore Brigade Road, Commercial Street, Indiranagar
Delhi and NCR Connaught Place, Khan Market, South Extension
Mumbai Hiranandani Estate (Powai), Bandra Linking Road, Colaba Causeway, Breach Candy
Chennai T Nagar, Anna Nagar, Adyar
Hyderabad Himayat Nagar, Begumpet, Banjara Hills
Pune MG Road, JM Road, FC Road
Kolkata Lindsay Street, Park Street, Camac Street, Gariahat

Characteristics of high streets

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An amalgamation of the discerning crowd, exclusive and legacy stores, F&B outlets and much more, are often show what high streets are. These high streets enjoy a locational advantage and a constant flow of traffic throughout the day. Some high streets are also specialised. For example, people flock to Indiranagar in Bangalore, because it is a destination high street with apparel and F&B outlets being the hot attractions. The same is the case with Connaught Place but it is not just a destination high street but a transit-oriented high street, with easy connectivity to other parts of the city. In Mumbai, Hiranandani Powai is all about food and entertainment while for clothing and shoes, you would probably head to Bandra Linking Road. In Chennai, if you are thinking of jewellery and clothes, T Nagar would be on top of your list.

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High streets vs malls

In spite of their popularity, high streets in India are not as professionally-managed as malls. Also, in a mall, there is better association and coordination between mall developers and the brands that they lease the space to. In the case of high streets though, brands can set shops in the lower floors with a frontal view to all their prospective customers. In a mall, outlets are on different levels.

High street or malls: Which one do shoppers prefer?

Benefits of high streets for consumers/retailers 

  • Scope for bargaining and negotiating.
  • Established areas with scope for brand visibility.
  • Relaxed outdoor experience.
  • Great experience for casual shoppers.
  • No common area maintenance charges (CAM) applicable for retailers.
  • Relaxed entry and exits.

Drawbacks of high streets for consumers/retailers

  • Convenience is compromised – poor traffic/parking scenario and crowded footpaths.
  • Higher rents that are deterrent for retailers.
  • Lack of amenities, for example, washrooms or seating for the elderly.
  • The weather can be a deterrent – for example, rainy weather can drive away potential customers.

Threats to high streets in India

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High streets have always been appealing. However, with the advent of online shopping, much of the craze of shopping outdoors has dimmed, with shoppers eagerly embracing easier access to products through their smartphones. Also, with better prices and ‘try and buy’ options available online, high street shopping now has major competition from online shopping enthusiasts.

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Through the end of 2019 to 2020 and still ongoing, the Coronavirus pandemic also gave a jolt to high street shopping, with wary shoppers preferring maximum social distancing and hence, being won over by online brands.


How did high streets fare in India immediately after the Coronavirus?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on retailers, like for any other sector. The complete lockdown was a big hit to revenue. However, with the progressive lifting of the lockdown, things may get better.

Which are the most expensive high streets in India?

Khan Market, Connaught Place and Linking Road are some of the most popular and expensive high streets in India for office space leasing.

What does high-street fashion mean?

It refers to fashion and clothing items that are available in an average high-street markets. These fashion products may not be occasion-specific.

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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