One in eight UK shop premises are vacant

IN: Business news

2012 was a difficult year for the retail sector, highlighted by the demise at the end of the year of well-known high street chains, Comet and HMV.

undefinedThe past

Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and the Local Data Company (LDC) found that one shop shut every hour in the UK in 2012. It found that 7,337 shops shut in 2012, with 5,558 new stores opening.

The research analysed 500 town centres and found that travel agents and health food shops were most at risk of closing and that high street shops fared better than shops in retail parks.

2013 saw the trend continue as consumers’ purchasing power and the rise of online retail helped put other famous names such as Blockbuster and Jessops out of business.

The present

A recent report from the British Retail Consortium reveals that the shop vacancy rate has gone up from 10.9 per cent in January to 11.9 per cent in April and is now at the highest rate since the survey began in July 2011.

The future

The high street is facing a revolution over the next decade, according to new research by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

It expects 22 per cent of shops in the UK to shut by 2018, with some regions experiencing shop closure rates of up to 30 per cent. This is equivalent to 62,000 shops closing in the next five years.

The CRR says that the reason for the change is not just due to the rise of online retail. It believes rents and rates are calculated based on when the high-street and “bricks and mortar” premises dominated the UK retail sector.

The CRR argues that thus is no longer the case and rent and rates should be cut to reflect this and  concludes that “radical changes need to be made by retailers, town centres and the government to preserve what is best in retailing.”

What can your business do?

Your business should review the amount paid for rent and rates and its overall portfolio of premises to see if any outlets are not paying their way.

You should also ensure that your business has an online presence and that you invest in that area of your business.

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