Retail parks feel the pinch as much as the high street

The ever-increasing popularity of online shopping has had a greater impact on large out-of-town retail parks than it has on the high street, according to new research.

A study of 1,500 UK retail locations from the Local Data Company has revealed that there are more premises vacant for three years or more in retail parks, many of which may never be occupied again, while the average Brit spends £2,000 a year on goods online.

Online grocery shopping has hit out-of-town supermarkets, reports, while in recent years many retail park regulars such as Comet have now ceased trading completely. On the high streets, meanwhile, Homebase, HMV and Game have been closing stores, opting instead to focus on their online offerings.

Retailers offering a combination of online and physical retail services, such as “click and collect” where customers order a product online and pick it up from their local store – as well as outlets which offer food and drink – are said to be the least likely to suffer, notes.

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, stated that the rise of online shopping has left many retailers “caught like rabbits in the headlights”.

“Vacant shops on out-of-town retail parks have been caused by the decline of retailers selling electrical goods, bulky white goods, DIY and home entertainment,” he said.

“Retailers stuck on these parks will not be spending money refitting their stores, making them a less attractive destination for consumers. At some stage, you are going to reach the point of no return.”

Author: Jack Stanton


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