World Footwear


Britain loses 6 000 retail stores in 5 years

Aug 25, 2023 Great Britain
Britain loses 6 000 retail stores in 5 years
New estimates from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) indicate that 6 000 storefronts were lost in the country in five years. The rise in the cost of living has led to short confidence amongst consumers and less spending, experts point out
“The past five years saw Britain lose 6 000 retail outlets, with crippling business rates and the impact of the COVID lockdowns a key part of decisions to close stores and think twice about new openings”, commented Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the BRC.

“The Government announcement earlier in the week about making changes of use to vacant units easier is welcome but it’s important local councils have a cohesive plan, and don’t leave gap-toothed high streets that are no longer a customer destination and risk becoming inviable. Government should go one step further and freeze rates bills next year”, Dickinson demanded.

The overall vacancy rate increased to 13.9% across Britain in the second quarter of this year, a 0.1 percentage point drop on the first quarter but 0.1 points up on the same period last year, according to the BRC’s Local Data Company (LDC) vacancy monitor.

Greater London (improving over the last quarter thanks to the opening of new flagship stores, more office workers, and tourists visiting the capital), the south-east and the east of England maintained the lowest vacancy rates. The highest vacancy rates were in the north-east and the Midlands, followed by Wales and Scotland.

Shopping centre vacancies remain unchanged from the first quarter at 17.8%. In the same period high street vacancies increased 0.1% to 13.9%.

“The high street has seen some of the most notable impacts, with rising rents and increased competition putting pressure on small and independent businesses, who may struggle to meet high operating costs. Across all location types, vacancy has reached critical levels, highlighting an ever-increasing need to redevelop units to breathe life back into retail destinations”, added Lucy Stainton, Commercial Director, Local Data Company. “The current climate is undeniably difficult, but it should not be overlooked that today’s retailers are more innovative and future-thinking than ever”, she concluded.

Image cresdits: Arjun Myanger (Unsplash)