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Online shopping 'rehab centre' opens in London

Small business payments technology company iZettle is running a two-day ‘rehab centre’ for those addicted to online shopping.

Between 12-13 October, the company will be hosting a space in east London and inviting consumers to explore the benefits of shopping locally and with independent businesses.

Run by trained therapists, The Giant Corp Rehab Centre offers a variety of interactive sessions, including a group therapy and a digital distraction class and workshops with independent business owners aimed at encouraging a change in shopping habits.

It comes as iZettle, which is now owned by PayPal following the completion of a $2.2 billion acquisition deal last month, released research suggesting that one in three people in Britain believe they are ‘addicted’ to online shopping, while one in 12 said they make purchases online every day.

The research also shows that 35% of Brits claim they shop too much through ‘one-click’ buys and repeat purchasing online with giant retailers. Some 42% of respondents claim they shop too much online with giant retailers in general, with 18% shopping two or more times a week.

Edward Hallett, managing director at iZettle UK, says: “Our research shows that it is time for consumers to start thinking about their shopping habits, and choices, to keep the high street alive.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and create a world with choice and diversity. That’s why we provide them with powerful business tools so they can succeed in a world where big businesses are taking over.”

Athena Duncan, co-founder of Hackney florist Rebel Rebel, will run a workshop at the rehab centre where she will be teaching flower arrangements. She remarked: “We need our high streets and shops so we can experience real things and touch them, taste them and feel them.

“In ten years’ time when we turn round and there are no high streets left it will be too late.”

The Giant Corp Rehab Centre is open from 10am to 5:30pm in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch. It is part of a wider iZettle marketing campaign encouraging UK consumers to think about their shopping habits and support local, independent businesses.

The rehab centre opens almost 24 hours after another high street retailer announced it has collapsed into administration. Women’s fashion retailer Coast announced late on Thursday it is closing its 24 stores across the UK, while selling its 145-strong concession business to Karen Millen.  

“The businesses had been facing financial difficulties due to structural challenges in the retail space and specifically the concession partner market, as well as a softening of demand for occasionwear,” explained Mike Denny, one of the joint administrators at PwC.

“This sale puts the ongoing business on a firmer financial footing."

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