28/10/2013 06:48 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Shopspotting: The Complete Guide to the New Shops on Britain's High Streets

Do you remember going shopping when you were seven years old? The High Street was simple when viewed through the eyes of a child: you had the sweet shop, the toy shop, the chip shop and 'Woolies'.

Now that we're older, when we walk down the typical British High Street the same chip shop might be there but we're more likely to see a charity shop, betting shop or Tesco Express than shops selling jars of treats, spinning tops or Lego blocks. And when even a seven year old child will pick up an iPad to pester parents about potential presents, we know that the High St will never be the same again.

But, as the High Street changes, as retailers register websites before postcodes - can you name the new shops taking over the High Street? Last week, Sainsbury's announced plans to open up a new 'dark store', but what is a dark store and how does it differ from pop-ups, top-ups, pick-ups or lock ups?

Pop ups

Pop ups are easy. These are shops that 'pop-up' for a month or two then (normally) disappear.

Sometimes shops pop-up because they only sell specific items for a specific time - firework shops in October or November, or calendar shops at Christmas. More often, a pop-up tests a new idea or location as retailers and entrepreneurs test customer demand over a few months of trading to see if the shop has a future. For many retailers, pop-ups are 'retail greenhouses', filled with the seeds of ideas, waiting to grow if conditions are right. Brands like Hotel Chocolat started as pop-ups.

Top ups

We all know top-ups. These are the small supermarkets like Sainsbury's Local or Tesco Express that provide handy shops to 'top-up' our cupboards during the week. These convenience stores are the next battleground for UK supermarkets as they look to add to their larger stores by offering customers handy places to shop near to where they work or live.


Not everyone has time to visit a large supermarket for a weekly shop, or even to top-up on their way home. On-line supermarkets mean groceries can be dropped off at home at a time which suits you. But these groceries don't just magically appear. They still need to be collected from stores. To streamline the process, supermarkets are opening 'dark stores' - shops that don't open to the public. They only exist for drivers to 'pick up' your order and deliver it to you to cut down the time from store to door. As on-line shopping continues to grow, expect more dark stores to appear - and, perhaps, sometime soon, a 'dark high street' open only to couriers and delivery vans.


It's not just footballers who want to avoid a red card: no one likes visiting the Post Office to collect missed parcels which the Postman tried to deliver while you were out. The rise of 'click-and-collect' shopping - picking up items from stores rather than having them delivered to your home - has seen companies like Amazon install lockers in petrol stations and other handy locations where items ordered on-line can be collected from the 'lock-up'.


For modern retailers, a combination of pop-ups, top-ups, pick-ups and lock-ups ensure that customers get what they want when they want it. Which means that some things haven't changed. When you think about it, getting what you want, when you want it, if you want it, isn't that much different from shopping like a seven year old child...