in the know

High Streets hit as shop vacancy rate worst since 2015..

The number of empty shops in town centres is at its highest for four years, industry figures show.

The vacancy rate was 10.3% in July, its highest level since January 2015, according to the British Retail Consortium and Springboard survey.

Footfall also fell by 1.9% in July, the worst July performance for seven years.

Diane Wehrle, Springboard insights director, said July had been “much more challenging” for shopping centres and High Streets than out of town stores.

The survey showed that High Street footfall declined by 2.7% in July, and shopping centre footfall declined by 3.1%.

In contrast, footfall in retail parks increased by 1.2%.

‘Enhanced experience’

Ms Wehrle added: “Consumer demand is ever-more polarised between convenience and experience, and the stronger performance of out of town destinations where footfall rose by 1.2% in July reflects the fact that retail parks are successfully bridging the convenience-experience gap.

“They not only offer consumers accessible shopping environments with free parking and easy click and collect opportunities for online purchases, but many also combine this with an enhanced experience that includes coffee shops and casual dining restaurants, and some also have leisure facilities.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-49311298