Amid speculation that the British high street is on the decline, businessman Theo Paphitis has spoken out - claiming that our high streets are a crucial part of everyday life in the UK.
The 'Dragon's Den' star spoke to telegraph.co.uk about his thoughts, stating: "For me, the high street is a key part of how we live, what sort of community we are, how we get our news and how we get our gossip.
"The high street is not a retail thing, it's a social thing, part of the British lifestyle," he added, in response to the many reports that suggest Britain's high streets are a dying institution. Many big-name brands have been forced to fold in the past two years, partly due to a decline in spending and partly due to the rise in popularity of online shopping.
However Paphitis hasn't given up on the cause, stating that high street businesses just need to find a solid reason as to why the public should choose bricks-and-mortar stores. He believes independent shops are a magic ingredient, calling them the "catalyst" high streets need to increase footfall.
He revealed: "If you want a new idea on the high street, you'll probably find it in an independent. I know I shouldn't say this, but new ideas rarely happen in chains."
In fact, Paphitis is one of the key proponents of Independents' Day, an annual event set up to highlight how much independent retailers do for the British economy. He believes they have a "vital" part to play in keeping the economy driving forward.