10 Popular UK High Street Shops

Shopping sprees on the high street are a thing again! It’s a welcome turn of events for many, who love the atmosphere from physical retail, and what’s more, lots of us can now reconnect with our favourite brands away from the computer screen. Below, we have celebrated the steep history of British retail with 10 of the most popular shops. 


Although founded way back in 1969, this Irish clothing retailer has only recently become a staple for many who love their affordability. So, why can they keep prices so cheap? Well, they sell in very large volumes, and if you hadn’t noticed, they never pop up on TV or radio, so marketing costs are never a concern.  

Primark window

Marks & Spencer 

This iconic brand has now become something of an institution within the UK. As the name suggests, this company was founded by two gentlemen called Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer, who oversaw substantial domestic growth throughout the 20th century by only selling British goods. Customer relations has also been a huge factor behind their success, and this was perfectly encapsulated with their slogan from 1953: “The customer is and always completely right”. 

marks and spencer

John Lewis 

Another main stayer in British retail, the John Lewis brand has been with us since 1864, and since then, gained an esteemed reputation for being a luxury store to buy from, as well as being a lucrative place to work. They have also left a huge mark on the Christmas season, as their TV adverts, first launched in 2007, have become an annual tradition, generating huge amounts of anticipation each year. 

john lewis building


Founded by Joseph Hepworth in Leeds, the Next brand has over 150-years’ worth of heritage, now providing the British public with clothing, footwear and home products. The idea of chain stores was in fact largely pioneered by Mr Hepworth, who managed to grow the company rapidly across the country during the latter stages of the 19th century. 

Next store


One of the newer brands to make a real impact on the British high street, the Poundland brand first appeared back in 1990. Their name makes everything pretty clear, and that’s how items are priced at £1, therefore providing consumers with immense value. Much like Primark, they can operate under this mechanism through their large volume of continuous sales. 



Back in the very late 1970s, Bill and Jill Adderley founded the Dunelm brand, which has now grown into one of the largest homeware retailers in the UK. Their journey began with a market stool in Leicester selling textiles in 1979, and five years later, they opened their first store in the same city. In 1996, Will Adderley took over the running of this company from his parents. 



Starting out as Wilkinson Cash Store, this brand was renamed Wilko to match with their famous tagline: “Where there’s a Wilko, there’s a way”. Another retailer originating from Leicester, they have always operated with the Wilkinson family placed at the very heart of key operations, and now has Lisa Wilkinson currently working as the company’s director. 

Wilko store

The Body Shop 

If you need cosmetics, skin care or perfume, head over to The Body Shop. Did you know The Body Shop were pioneers in zero waste? Before recycling became a mainstream concern, this brand was offering discounts to customers who bought back empty containers for refill.

The Body Shop 


Grabbing hold of books on the high street is often done at good old Waterstones. The book retailer was founded in 1982, and now has stores in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands. With focus on recruiting only highly read staff, the brand became the biggest bookselling group in Europe during 1992. 

book shop

Holland & Barrett 

With stores now based in 16 different countries around the world, Holland and Barrett was first brought to life in the humble surroundings of Bishop’s Stortford, where Alfred Slapps Barrett and Major William Holland started selling groceries and clothing. Nowadays, they are of course better known for supplying a wide selection of healthy foods. 

Holland & Barrett 

We’re Retail Experts

We love the historical nature of British retail and want to help new businesses accelerate their presence on the high street. To get the perfect shop displays for your brand, simply get in contact with us today. 


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