Research carried out by accountancy firm Deloitte found about one in five UK high street shops which closed during the 2009 recession are still vacant.
They looked at the fate of thousands of shops and found the high street was actually outperforming out of town retail parks and shopping centres when it came to filling the empty shops.
As the recession hit many big name shops went into administration
Deloitte found some large regional differences in the number of shops vacated. Greater London had a vacancy rate of 18% compared to north-west England. There the vacancy rate was much higher at 32%.
Deloitte said the UK high street is “showing great resilience”. They revealed the average vacancy rate for the high street is 20% but the average for shopping centres rises to 29% and 37% for retail parks. Consequently, this demonstrates that compared to other areas of retail, the high street has done better.
Hugo Clarke, the author of the report, said; “The results of this research are surprising and seem to challenge a number of myths around the state of the high street.”. He went on to say; “They would suggest that far from being dead, the high street appears to be showing great resilience and a capacity for re-invention.”
The study found discount and pound shops filled one in five of the empty properties. The Poundland chain are acquiring more than anyone else. Convenience stores have also filled nearly 12% of the space with three-quarters of them on high streets.
Head of retail at Deloitte, Ian Geddes, said the pattern suggests a change in consumer shopping habits is taking place. He said; “Rather than taking shoppers away, the internet is pushing people back to the shops with the growth of click and collect.”. He said that the report points towards; “a new era of ‘en route’ shopping, powered by mobile shopping and the demand for collection points strategically located at a point between where the consumer is travelling from and to.”. The new research suggests things on the high street are looking up.
However, the report used data from the Local Data Company who believe there are still 43,600 shops empty, which means just under one in seven shops are still vacant.