61 per cent of Brits are worried that the High Street will disappear completely over the next ten years due to the increasing number go big-name retail store closures.
Research by finance specialists KIS Finance, which surveyed 1,000 British consumers, revealed:
• Food and beverage, value and fashion brands are predicted to be the biggest victims of the high street due to online competition
• Convenience is key factor that affects our shopping habits – if local high streets had free parking and easy accessibility, consumers would be more likely to shop in-store
• Northern cities and Scotland have been worst hit by store closures so far, but people anticipate many more to come
“It is quite likely that there will be a continuation, if not an increase of the negative headlines in retail,” said James Child, retail analyst at EG.
“The raft of CVAs and administrations in the sector has culminated in an expected 1,600 store closures across the UK, with over 18 million square foot of prime retail real estate vacated. When we break down the events of 2018 there are some trends which appear to be continuing into 2019 – due to fragile trading conditions and economic uncertainty.”
Child concluded: “There are certain sub-sectors that will face more pressure than others. The fallout from department stores will continue at pace, following the problems with House of Fraser last year, and now with the future of Debenhams at risk. Food and beverage, value and fashion brands will come under more strain as over stretched markets begin to weed out weaker offers as retail Darwinism bites.”
When asked what would tempt them back to the great British high street, the top answers from Brits were:
• More staff to ensure that the experience is quicker (41 per cent)
• Clearer stock check in store (34 per cent)
• 24-hour service so that you can shop at any time (27 per cent)
• Self-checkout service to avoid queues (26 per cent)
After asking consumers what they think the high street will look like in ten years, it seems that consumers are worried that independent stores won’t exist. The list below runs from most likely to least likely:
2. Coffee shops
3. Second-hand shops
5. Fast food restaurants
6. Retails chains e.g. department stores
10. Travel agents
11. Independent retailers
As part of its research, KIS mapped out which cities had been hit the hardest by the major store closures of the last year, including those announced already in 2019 such as M&S and Patisserie Valerie.
This revealed northern cities such as Leeds and Glasgow had been hit far harder than their southern counterparts. The top cities impacted were:
Discussing the findings, Holly Andrews, manning director at KIS Finance said: “With store closures flooding our newsfeeds recently, we were interested to find out what the future holds for the high street and how consumers’ shopping habits might affect retailers’ footfall. It is obvious from our research that people do still like going into store to shop, but it just isn’t as accessible as online shopping is.
“To save the high street many retailers need to ensure that they are thinking innovatively about how to draw customers in with clearer in-store stock checks, more staff and extended hours during busy periods.
“The reason why so many retailers are struggling with their stores is because consumer shopping habits are changing and the high street needs to change with it, creating a more community led atmosphere with more accessibility and variety for everyone.”