Is the High Street slowly dying?
With footfall down 10%, a record number of insolvencies last year and one in six high street shops now vacant*, what is the future for our beloved High Street? Michael Larcombe, Partner, Commercial Property, B P Collins LLP examines how the market has changed over the last few years.
Since 2008, the commercial property market has changed significantly – with a surge in online spending and an increase in the creation of out-of-town shopping centres, the traditional high street is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Consequently, landlords are investing less and less in the High Street as they no longer see the demand from tenants.
Within Britain’s 5,000 high streets, banks, restaurants and boutiques are being replaced by nail bars, coffee shops and charity outlets.
It’s fair to say that as consumers, we get the High Street that we deserve – and if the demand is for nail extensions, flat whites and spray tans – that is what we’ll get. Some consumers will say that their High Street is being overrun by chains and undesirable outlets bringing down the look and value of their local town. However, the demand for such facilities is obviously there.
The opening of consumer orientated shops within the high street, focused on discretionary spending, has also meant that many out of town centres have reached their peak – with supermarkets replacing high street functions, offering pharmacies, dry cleaning and other essential services
More and more, we’re also seeing an influx of pop-up shops. This is being driven by the change to business rates, paid on non-domestic properties. Many landlords would rather have a tenant for a short term providing perhaps minimal income, rather than having to pay business rates on shops that might stay empty for a number of months.
Recent news* suggests that that due to the recession, the decline of the high street is continuing. With efforts to reinvent and rejuvenate the high street in progress, who knows what’s in store for future generations?
Supplied by Michael Larcombe, Partner, Commercial Property, B P Collins LLP