Retail units on Britain’s high streets are at risk of being neglected and left to fall into disrepair, as more and more shoppers are choosing to make their purchases at retail parks or on the internet.
Springboard, a retail data company, recently revealed there has been a drop in shopper numbers of 3.1 per cent on the high street over the last three months, while those buying goods at retail parks increased by one per cent during the same period.
The Guardian reported the latest figures, which showed shopping centres are also struggling, with footfall here falling by 2.2 per cent from August 2018 to August 2019.
The British Retail Consortium’s Helen Dickinson commented on the findings, saying: “Stuck between weak demand thanks to Brexit uncertainty, and rising costs resulting from business rates and other public policy costs, many retailers are clearly struggling.”
She went on to say: “The government should take the opportunity to reduce the heavy cost burden holding back retail investment.”
While Springboard’s figures reveal high streets have experienced a drop in footfall, August’s numbers were probably higher than usual due to its hot bank holiday weekend.
The company’s insights director Diane Wehrle was reported by the newspaper as saying the record-breaking August bank holiday encouraged consumers to head to the stores.
“Footfall has declined in every year since Springboard starting publishing its national data in January 2009. In contrast to the high street, footfall in retail parks rose in each of the first three weeks, averaging plus one per cent, levelling off in the last week but remaining in positive territory,” she stated, adding that people still want both convenience and experience when it comes to shopping.
High streets interested in becoming more attractive to the public need to have certain shops, according to research by Utilita.
The report, which was published by the Independent, said the perfect high street in the UK should have a greengrocer, a pub, a Post Office, a DIY store, a butcher, a bakery and an independent clothes outlet. Bonus stores included a barber, energy provider, shoe shop, supermarket, and restaurant.
According to the survey, one of the reasons why many people do not use the high street anymore is because 80 per cent believe it does not have all the necessary shops to get what they need in one trip.
Despite just eight per cent of the public doing their shopping locally rather than travelling somewhere bigger, three-quarters are worried traditional high streets will become a thing of the past.
Therefore, it is important that they are taken care of, and shop owners make their stores as appealing to shoppers as possible.
As well as ensuring they stock the products consumers want – including fruit and vegetables, meat, bread, stamps, and every essentials – they should also maintain the interior and exterior of the retail units properly to make them more attractive to passers-by.
On-site paint spraying, for instance, could make all the difference in enticing people to step into a shop on the high street or deterring them.