UK High St ‘in urgent need of new ways of thinking’, PwC
The growth in online shopping and shift to in-home leisure are key factors in the half-year net reduction in stores on Britain’s High Streets reaching record levels, according to PwC research.
A net 1,123 stores disappeared from Great Britain’s top 500 High Streets in the first half of the year as only 1,569 opened, compared to 2,692 closures. These were most marked in categories affected by online shopping (e.g. fashion stores, electricals outlets) and increasing consumer preference for in-home leisure.
“The continued rate of store closures reflects the new reality of that many of us prefer to shop online and increasingly eat, drink and entertain at home. The High Street is adapting to an overcapacity in retail and leisure space resulting from these channel shifts,” says Lisa Hooker, Consumer Markets Leader at PwC.
“The British High Street is in urgent need of new ways of thinking and new forms of retail. Encouraging this should be a priority. However, it remains to be seen if recent packages of support for the High Street and reductions in business rates for smaller retailers will be sufficient to stimulate this.”