“Who would now be a retailer?” It was a comment from a city economist Jeremy cook, when the latest set of grim retail sales data was released by the office for National statistics on Friday. “The average Briton”, he added, “has spent the last few years live ‘when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.’”
After a bleak December, many hoped to return, but the figures showed that consumers were not as hardy as they once were, cook said, and the retail sector is experiencing a long-term, continuous decline.
Buyers, who suffered from declining real wages, the level of consumer debt and the prospect of higher borrowing costs. But the broader problem is a structural shift in how consumers spend their money. It threatens well-known retailers and forcing a rethink about how high streets will look like in the future and what can be done with retail parks and shopping centres, where retailers have closed up shop.
It’s not just about buyers prefer to buy online – despite the 20% sales fashion, where the pressure may be worse now moved to the Internet. Occurred a seismic shift in how we spend our time and money. Social media, recreation, travel, meals, nutrition, in – through take-out and delivery services and technologies requires time and money, which would immediately went straight to the shops.
In food, an increasing number of people now prefer to buy local and often. Less big weekly shops mean country hypermarkets are under pressure and in big supermarkets are trying to entice other retailers to take up space they no longer need.
This rapid change in consumer habits is the increase in sales for “likes” Amazon, asos and loudly to weep or to laugh, but forcing a radical change in British cities as a physical retail space is becoming redundant.
The last few months, the flow collapses – from fashion store East for the chain of shoes as well as specialists-bed Warren Evans and feather and black. Toys R us is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, while house of Fraser, debenhams and new look all with great difficulty with all three, given the large-scale closure of shops or in space.
House of Fraser is struggling with heavy debts. Photo: Linda Nylind for the guardian
Independent retail analyst Richard Hyman believes that at least 20% of retail space will need to be closed in the coming years, as the costs, including taxes and wages, and the growth of sales in physical stores continue to fall. “It’s a slow burn,” he says. “Retailers have done all sorts of things to patch up the cracks, but what the markets need for retailers to get smaller”.
The task on the main streets and other shopping centers are allocated to the fate of the former estate of BH. Almost two years after the Department store fell into administration, more than a third of the 160 + stores are empty, and about 30 no tenants or development plans on the horizon.
There is a Class of stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester where people will go to great shops and a great choice
Andy Lyon, retail analyst
Urban centres and small shopping centers are particularly vulnerable, and an empty Department store is the most difficult to fill. Several retailers now want such a large space.
Some former BH outlets was handed at discount prices formats, including Title, sports direct, Wilco and days – new multi-brand concept created retail entrepreneur Philip day to supply retailers he now owns under one roof. But most of the former CD shops were broken into small shops or rolled over for new applications. One is now an art gallery; the rest will be converted bowling alley, gym and cinema.
Peter Mace real estate agent Cushman & Wakefield says any Department store websites that come on the market in the capital will probably have to crack. “I am not aware of any requirement in excess of 200,000 sq ft in Central London,” he says.
He says that Fashion retailers are moving out of small towns and shopping malls, but still looking for the larger stores in Prime locations. This suggests that during major shopping centres continue to have traction, more small shops are forced out of Internet sales.
Andy Lyon of the global network of PricewaterhouseCoopers agrees: “there is a Class of shopping in places such as London, Birmingham and Manchester, where people will continue to head for a special occasion when they want great shopping and a great choice. Everything else is fighting”.
Given what happened in the US, where last year hundreds of stores closed, British property owners and retailers are prepared to adapt. The Mall owner Hammerson took last year house of Fraser website in its Highcross centre in Leicester city centre. On the top floor was an Additional Parking, Prime retail space from Zara and the former Department store service yard is now a street of restaurants.
Swingers crazy Golf centre will take part of the Oxford Street site at the BH
“We need to understand the market, be creative and use lateral thinking,” says Peter Cooper, Director of shopping centres Hammerson UK. “There is a simple method that may include spending a lot of money, and the hard way, which involves thinking on your feet.”
Former BHS store on Oxford street in London offers another view of the future. It’s been split three ways: between the mini-Golf operator Swingers; market-style dining hall is scheduled to open this fall; and discounted Polish chain protected first UK store sales.
More and more shopping is done online, says Cooper, shopping malls and city centres must provide an experience that cannot be enjoyed at home, from play centers, climbing walls, mini Golf, bars, pop-up markets and street food stalls. In the UK currently, less than 20% of the trading space, typically for vacation or dinner.
New stores appear. On the streets are among the fastest growing vape shops, hearing aid stores, and ice cream. In shopping malls, beauty salon, watches, and other brands that once relied on the Department or specialty stores, also sought to have their own showcase. Microsoft and vacuum cleaner firm Dyson is planning stores on Oxford Street, following the example of Apple.
Some brands of vehicles, from Tesla to Mercedes, also strive to take the high street space. Fashion chain next recently signed a contract with Rockar dealership, which will take over part of their store in Manchester Arndale centre next spring.
The demise of Department stores and large chain can also make room for a less corporate operators. Shopping centers and on main streets can offer short-term leases, pop-up space and market-style events to bring in small businesses that cater to young people who require a more authentic local experience – whether it be food, fashion or beauty.
Cooper believes that the former Department stores can be replaced under hotels, to live and work in the office and other residential purposes.
However, a significant change may require significant capital investments. And a lot of high streets and small shopping centres will struggle to find the investment required to survive. Lyon says some of the trade area clearly has no future. “Retailers, local authorities and owners need to work together: they will have to bite the bullet, to flatten the space and use it for much needed housing.”