Decline of the High Street continues with latest BRC data from the National Town Centre Vacancy Report says vacant rate is the “worst in over four years”.
In July, according to the latest British Retail Consortium – BRC – Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor, footfall saw its worst decline for the month since 2012.
Footfall dropped by 1.9% last month, with high street footfall declining by 2.7% and shopping centre footfall decreasing by 3.1%. However, retail parks continued to fare better with a 1.2% increase in footfall last month.
When you look at the year on year figures, High Street footfall declined by 1.9% from August 2018 to August 2019 and this followed on from the annual decrease of 2.0% in August last year, from August 2017 to August 2018. The high street footfall last in the last two years is down 4%.
Of the latest BRC data, “Retailers have faced a challenging environment this month, with declines in footfall on high streets and shopping centres,” said BRC CEO Helen Dickinson. “Sluggish sales growth and declining footfall also contributed to the rise in town centre vacancies, which rose to their highest level since January 2015.
“High streets and town centres play an important part in our local communities, and we should be concerned by the rise in empty store fronts. If the Government wishes to avoid seeing more empty shops in our town centres then they must act to relieve some of the pressure bearing down on the high street.”
Retail 5% of total Economy yet pays 10% of all business costs
She added: “Currently, retail accounts for 5% of the economy, yet pays 10% of all business costs and 25% of all business taxes. The rising vacancy figures show this is simply not sustainable.”
Springboard marketing and insights director Diane Wehrle said: “Consumer demand is ever more polarised between convenience and experience, and the stronger performance of out of town destinations where footfall rose by 1.2% in July reflects the fact that retail parks are successfully bridging the convenience-experience gap.
“They not only offer consumers accessible shopping environments with free parking and easy click and collect opportunities for online purchases, but many also combine this with an enhanced experience that includes coffee shops and casual dining restaurants, and some also have leisure facilities.”
The British Retail Consortium – BRC’s purpose is to make a positive difference to the retail industry and the customers it serves, today and in the future but the Decline of the High Street is a hugely complex issue that needs a concerted effort.
Retailers shut 2,870 stores in first half of 2019
The British Retail Consortium – BRC has its work cut out as some 16 shops are closing each and every day as retailers restructure their businesses and more shopping moves online.
The Decline of the High Street continues as a net 1,234 stores shut on Britain’s top 500 high streets in the first half of the year, according to research by PwC and the Local Data Company. This is up from 1,123 in the same period last year and the highest since the survey began in 2010.
Over the same 6 month period more than 1400 restaurants and 240 pubs closed in the first 6 months of 2019.
The High Street, Retail and Eating Out is more than a complex argument that cant be addressed in merely focusing on internet and business rates but changing tastes.
The High Street and its decline has a lot of bearing in the Kbb sector as many independents are on the High Street and if nothing is done to address the issue of the Decline of the High Street, it can and will only get worse, which is bad for everyone that isnt Amazon.