Nationwide has joined pressure group in calling on big brands to support the high street.

Christmas shopping will give the long-struggling British High Street the boost it needs. Nationwide research shows Brits plan to shop local over the holiday period with 58% set to visit their high street.

Some 67% say visiting the local high street and enjoying the Christmas festivities helps give them that Christmassy, nostalgic feeling. Moreover, 54% say that they prefer to shop in a physical store than online.

Nationwide argues that more must be done by big brands to commit to the UK’s town centres next year.

High street shopping: not just for older age groups

Nor is it just the older generation that is planning to stay local for their Christmas shopping this year. Nationwide research shows 71% of 25–34-year-olds are planning to visit the high street.

Despite this seasonal show of local festive support, the high street needs big ‘anchor’ brands like Nationwide to commit to help smaller retailers to keep and create these valuable communities. Nationwide and are urging businesses to commit to stay on the high street well beyond the busy Christmas period.

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Failure to do so will risk further decline due to the detrimental impact closing has on smaller and independent retailers.

Nationwide now the biggest financial brand across the UK high street

In contrast to the big banks, Nationwide this year renewed its promise not to leave any town or city in which it is based without a branch until at least 2026. It is now the single biggest financial services brand on the UK high street. Footfall has increased, with some branches now back to pre-pandemic levels. Almost half of all fixed rate savings products are opened in branches. Nationwide attributes much of this to a structural shift in people’s working and shopping patterns since the pandemic.

Mandy Beech, Director Retail Services, Nationwide, said“People and communities still very much want to visit their local high street. But the challenge we face is that without a longer-term commitment from big brands, consumers will have less and less reason to visit them other than at Christmas. Our customers are telling us they still want branches. Our branch promise ensures we are committing as far into the future as we can. The fact we are seeing our branches get busier shows that not only do people value them. They are still very much using them.”

Huge opportunity to change the high street for the better

Alex Schlagman, Founding Partner of, said. “Successful high streets benefit everyone through the festive periods and beyond. Alongside a diverse and thriving independent sector, it’s important that high streets also have strong anchor brands. Most of the department stores that once anchored our high streets have now disappeared. This leaves huge voids that need to be reimagined and repopulated with the offerings that people now want locally. This is a huge opportunity to change high streets for the better in 2024. We are calling brands, both big and small, as well as anyone who cares about the future of our high streets, to join this movement.”