National & International

Crisis worsens on UK high streets

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Data on high streets crisis has shown that 1 in 10 shops in UK town centres are now lying empty, according to Guardian.

The national town centre vacancy rate climbed to a four-year high of 10.2% last month, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) vacancies monitor. The vacancy rate has risen in each of the last four quarters to give the highest reading since April 2015, up from 9.9% three months ago.

The BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said some struggling high streets were trapped in a downward spiral: “Empty shopfronts, particularly for larger stores, can deter shoppers from an area. This effect can be cyclical, with the long-term decline in footfall pushing up vacancy rates, particularly in poorer areas.”

The vacancy rate is likely to get worse before it improves, amid a sea change in shopping habits. A growing number of retailers, struggling as sales shift online, are scaling back their physical stores as high rents, coupled with rising business rates and payroll costs, make them unprofitable. The situation is made worse by dwindling shopper numbers, down 0.5% in April compared with a year ago, despite retailers benefiting from a late Easter.




featured image: retail connections




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