STOURBRIDGE has been rated one of Britain’s best shopping locations as Covid makes a huge difference to our shopping habits.

The town has shot up 229 places to come out 31st in a table of 1,000 shopping locations in the country.

The research takes into a number of factors, including shoppers’ movements, shop vacancy rates and meeting local consumer demand.

The analysis, by retail property consultants Harper Dennis Hobbs, shows a surge to the top of the table by smaller, accessible commuter-belt towns at the expense of cities hit by travel restrictions.

They have massively grown in popularity as Covid and lockdowns have turned us into very local shoppers.

Topping the list is Buckinghamshire market town Beaconsfield.

The research uses feedback from both shoppers and retailers.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, said: “The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. Consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores.

“Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

London shopping districts, including Westfield London, Knightsbridge, Chelsea, and the West End, saw big falls as the capital noted significant footfall reductions.

Dan Hildyard, head of UK retail at HDH, added: “More restricted consumer shopping habits have had an enormous impact on the relative success of high streets this year, with a shift to home working encouraging residents to reconnect with their local community.”

But city centres are expected to bounce back as restrictions are lifted. “These centres are also leisure and culture hot spots, and many will be looking forward to returning when it is safe to do so.”