Recent BBC article:

The first freight train from China to the UK arrives in London, having crossed seven countries in 18 days. [...] It delivered 34 containers of clothes and High Street goods.

A Google search for "High Street goods" does not give any definition in the first four pages.

A forum thread named "Are high street goods cheaper in Dubai than UK" has answers about luxury products.

What does "High Street goods" mean, both technically and in the mind of most people?

  • Two good answers below, so no need of a third, but I would not have capitalised High Street, and I would have hyphenated it to make the meaning clearer: high-street goods.
    – Mick
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:27
  • 5
    You might be interested to know that they were called high streets because they followed the Roman model of raising paved roads above the level of their surroundings so that they'd drain well. At first only main roads were raised (high ways), and then, as towns/cities grew up along the edges of the highways, with feeder paths (usually unpaved) branching off, they became known as high streets (Anglo-Saxon stræt, from Latin strada, road).
    – MMacD
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 21:01
  • 1
    @MMacD I knew that but did not even think to say it. Really good point because OP may think high as meaning high or first class, not literally or originally meant as *high*er. I think of them as busy/main streets and did not think to add that either.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 21:26
  • @MMacD Is that actually true? I can't find any good references and didn't think Roman roads are that high, only cambered. In Roman towns the main streets are usually lower than their surroundings.
    – user42526
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 16:39
  • @JamesP: Yes, it's true. See, e.g., britannica.com/technology/road
    – MMacD
    Commented Feb 1, 2017 at 18:00

2 Answers 2


"High Street goods" are goods you might buy from the High Street – general, everyday things that you wouldn't have to go to a specialist retailer to find. See this definition (from Oxford Dictionaries):

high street

1 The main street of a town, especially as the traditional site for most shops, banks, and other businesses:
"the approaching festive season boosted the high street"
[in place names] "Kensington High Street"

1.1 [as modifier] (of retail goods) catering to the needs of the ordinary public:
"high-street fashion"

When I read the sentence in your question, I imagine the freight probably consisted of toiletries (soaps, toothpaste, etc.), general tools and utensils, stationery, TVs/phones/other electronics, and possibly white goods and groceries.

  • 5
    Note this is specifically a British expression. In the US we might talk about "Main Street" instead, although possibly not in this context.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 18:56
  • 1
    You would likely not say "Main Street goods" in the US, but you might say "housewares" or "household goods" (more specific to mean items one buys for the home) or even just the generic "general merchandise" (basically, items sold in retail stores, as opposed to goods that are primarily industrial or commercial in nature). Commented Jan 25, 2017 at 5:33

high street
the main street of a town, especially as the traditional site for most stores,banks, and other businesses.

(of retail goods) catering to the needs of the ordinary public.
modifier noun: high-street "high-street fashion"
Oxford Living Dictionaries

So it means merchandise meant for sale on the high street/ in the shopping area of a British town.

  • Would you have examples of what is high-street goods and what goods are not high-street goods? That would be a nice complement to your answer, cheers! Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 20:35
  • @NicolasRaoul I think that anything from bread, meat and books to pharmacy items might be found in most shopping areas. Clothing as well as shoes or pet supplies. No matter where you are from, you know what a shopping area looks like.
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 20:41
  • @NicolasRaoul: high-street goods include anything you'd find in a C&A, Quelle, Bon Marché, or a supermarket such as Bricomarché, etc.
    – MMacD
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 21:09

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