Highstreets in decline

High street retailers and businesses all across the UK have been closing down in the past few months. With retailers such as Toys R Us and Maplin announcing on the same day that they had fallen into administration, and a host of other high street favourites such as Prezzo, New Look and Marks and Spencer announcing store closures, just what has gone wrong on the UK high street?

In the past decade, a host of big names have called it a day on the UK high streets and these are just the latest in a long line to go bust. The trends causing this, of course, are all too familiar.

With the online shopping market becoming so huge, the high street stores have really struggled in the past few years, and many are finding their models which traditionally were a success, are now becoming unsustainable with the growing online market, where one in five pounds are now being spent.

Simon Thomas of Moorfields Advisory, the administrators of Toys R Us, commented on their bleak future and what it was down to.

He said: “We’ve got very large stores which are fairly impersonal. People are looking now to have a better shopping experience, and we were unable to deliver that.”

He said they were unlikely to be saved as its business model “isn’t what consumers really want now.”

He added: “On top of all that we have the online problem … people can go into our shop, look at something, then look at an alternative and buy it at a cheaper price.”

It is clear that retailers lacking an online presence are really struggling to maintain their brands in the same way, especially when cheaper products are so easily accessible on online giants such as Amazon.

However, it isn’t just retailers that have faced a struggle, with popular Italian eatery Prezzo announcing closures to 94 of their restaurants, and both Jamie’s Italian and Byron also shutting the doors of some of their locations.

The Financial Times labelled this the result of the “casual dining crunch” blamed on the rapid expansion that occurred of restaurant chains between 2010-16 “no matter what the cost,” resulting in too many restaurants on the high streets.

This, coupled with rising rent costs, have made this model unsustainable for many restaurant chains, as multiple chains plan to sell a number off in order to save them from collapsing.

The issue of declining high streets has also been blamed on squeezed incomes, and a near 15 percent fall of the pound after Brexit. This has had a huge impact on inflation, pushing it over three percent, hinting Britons have had to cut down on their spending as a result of less disposable income.

While 2018 will continue to be a tough year for retailers, many high street retailers, such as clothing store Primark and sandwich shop Subway, are thriving and continuing to expand across the country. These examples are assuring to consumers that as one shop door closes, another one will assumingly open.


About Author