Butcher's shops thriving in Oxfordshire, figures reveal

Butcher's shops are thriving in Oxfordshire, bucking the national trend.

By Hannah Richardson
Thursday, 24th January 2019, 9:23 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:47 pm
Butcher's shops thriving in Oxfordshire, figures reveal
Butcher's shops thriving in Oxfordshire, figures reveal

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows there were 65 butcher's shops in 2018, compared to 60 in 2010.

Across the UK, the number of butcher's shops has dropped by 9% over that time period, due to the "rising dominance" of big supermarkets, experts say.

Butcher's shops thriving in Oxfordshire, figures reveal

That's in line with the rest of England, where there were 5,635 businesses in 2010 and 5,105 in 2018.

The data does not include butchers in supermarkets.

Chris Mallon, chief executive of the National Beef Association, said very aggressive tactics from big chains are forcing many small businesses to close for good.

He said: "The steady decline of butcher's shops in the last 30 years has been a result of the dominance of large retailers in the food sector, driving market prices down.

"For small butcher's shops, it is near impossible to compete with supermarket deals such as 'buy one, get one free' and 'special offers'".

Mr Mallon dismissed claims that the decline in butcher's shops was due to the rise of veganism.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, added: "Increasing employment costs, high rents and competition especially from large online brands, is creating the perfect storm for small firms in the food industry.

"The biggest issue continues to be the outdated business rates system which disproportionately hurts small businesses.

“Businesses such as butcher's shops must also contend with the changing lifestyles of their customers with an increasing interest in more sustainable ways of living."

Experts also pointed to the high average age of a lot of independent butchers, with many having trouble finding someone to inherit the business.

A survey by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board’s beef and lamb division showed that 75% of butchers had been working for more than 20 years.

In the United Kingdom, there are 6,500 butcher's shops registered, while in 2010 there were 7,130 - a drop of 9%.