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Uk High Streets Running Out Of Time As More Shops Close Than New Ones Open

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http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/16/uk-high-streets-more-shops-close-than-open-net-closures

Britain’s high streets are fading away because new shops are not opening fast enough to replace those that close, despite the economic recovery.

The number of retail premises left empty last year almost tripled, as 5,839 shops were shuttered and 4,852 were opened, according to a survey by the accountancy firm PwC, which warned that the high street was “running out of time”.

While the rate of closures was similar to the previous year, 16 shops a day, the study of 500 UK town centres showed that net closures soared to 987, up from 371 in 2013.

The biggest casualties were mobile phone retailers, which lost a net 419 stores, or 18% of their total number of shops. Most of those losses were caused by the bankruptcy of Phones 4U in September.

Or there is no recovery???

Or the shop is dead in the modern economy and there's simply too many shops? Large scale supermarkets won't have helped shopping areas. Where I live we are surrounded by big supermarkets and the local shopping area over the past 15 years has slowly died off.

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Why not convert them to housing then?

Or would the faux concerned middle class guardian readers object, instead preferring artisanal nut butter outlets supported by a small business grant and tax breaks?

Edited by Si1

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More shopping is now done with the finger tips.......large supermarkets with good free carparks next to a bustling shopping centre, mix of coffee shops, shoe menders,restaurants,hairdressers,specialist shops and places of social activity such as gyms, cinema,churches, museums, pubs, offices and clubs etc.....the high street is more than just chain stores, it is a place to meet and chill.....excellent facilities such as easy parking, access and transport links a must.....has to be more than one reason to go there.

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Starting most small businesses now is next to impossible as there are too many costs. Business rates are through the roof, and things like setting up pensions for staff even if you employ 1 person make the barrier to entry too high.

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Starting most small businesses now is next to impossible as there are too many costs. Business rates are through the roof, and things like setting up pensions for staff even if you employ 1 person make the barrier to entry too high.

Starting a small business has become a soul destroying exercise...hampered from all angles, tons of bureaucratic red tape, paperwork, costs and many hours of hard work with no security or satisfaction...little wonder people with talent and ideas avoid the aggravation and the risk of possible drop in standard of existing living with failure.....one of the few in this society where risk of faluire falls hard on those that risk it......Nation of small shop keepers, you must be joking....small businesses are not supported.....

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Starting most small businesses now is next to impossible as there are too many costs. Business rates are through the roof, and things like setting up pensions for staff even if you employ 1 person make the barrier to entry too high.

Business rates are through the roof because property and rental values are through the roof. Anyhow, that looks likely to change because it's too fair.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31897113 May as well just place all tax burden on working and earned incomes right now.

Edited by northshore

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I have not been in a UK high street shop in almost 4 years except my local butcher once every month or so and I live in London.

I enjoy doing all my shopping online, everything I want from all over the globe at competitive prices that the UK retailer can't match, without the hassle of council revenue collection officers leeching from my pocket for parking charges or fines, no surly and uninterested staff who don't know anything about the products they are selling, extremely over priced goods including ridiculous prices for food and drinks at these venues to meet the rentier demands which I refuse to support, why would anyone bother visiting a high street or shopping center these days when we can shop in comfort?. The UK high street is dead to me at least.

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Business rates are through the roof because property and rental values are public sector self reward is through the roof .

If you can explain how a reduction in business rates wouldn't just lead to an equivalent increase in rents accruing to landlords and primarily the private sector - and therefore us subsidising the difference another way via a likely even less efficient business activity because the incentive to use the space efficiently may diminish further - then I'll agree with you.

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I like a good High Street - it's nice to have somewhere with a bit of real life buzz to it, where the community can gather.

If all the commercial units are shut or converted, then a town just turns into a car-dependent suburb where there is nothing to do.

Personally I reckon the answer lies in businesses with social functions - restaurants, cafés, bars, galleries, cinema ... You can imagine these mixed in fairly successfully with some kinds of traditional shop (butcher, baker) and certain shops which are tactile, such as bookshops, gift shops, some clothing stores, etc. The shift will definitely be away from day-to-day groceries and appliances, and more towards treats, luxuries, and entertainment. With a spot of luck there will be a huge revival in 17th century ale houses :)

I guess there will be some aspirational nonsense like lamp shops and artisan nut butters, but less so away from Metropolitania.

Most people like meeting other people, so in theory there should always be some value to common commercial areas.

My main worry is the "clone high street" effect - where independent local stores are lost and replaced uniformly by Costa, Starbucks, Waterstones, Pret, etc.... nothing wrong with these businesses as such, but the overall effect is quite devastating to the character of a town. I am not sure how this should be addressed but I assume it is down to economies of scale, bargaining power and the ability to afford rents/rates which smaller firms cannot.

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Theyre about 30 years late on this one arent they?

Forget high streets, the supermarket and out of town shopping centre will be increasingly endangered, replaced by internet shopping, delivery services and, at some point, 3D printing.

Sure, some historical towns will maintain a high street as a touristy type attraction, but the idea of every town having a high street retail area is as obsolete in 2015 as every town having a farmers market was in 1980 just because it did in 1950. Times change, and the high street has had its time.

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If you can explain how a reduction in business rates wouldn't just lead to an equivalent increase in rents accruing to landlords and primarily the private sector - and therefore us subsidising the difference another way via a likely even less efficient business activity because the incentive to use the space efficiently may diminish further - then I'll agree with you.

Rents are contractual.

It's not like there isnt 1000's of desperate business land lords out there trying to fill there shops.

Supply and demand.

We have too much taxation in the UK.

When taxation is used to enrich one part of society it should be deemed criminal. I personally think we are at that point.

Edited by TheCountOfNowhere

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http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/mar/16/uk-high-streets-more-shops-close-than-open-net-closures

Or there is no recovery???

Or the shop is dead in the modern economy and there's simply too many shops? Large scale supermarkets won't have helped shopping areas. Where I live we are surrounded by big supermarkets and the local shopping area over the past 15 years has slowly died off.

You'd never get a job with the BBc now would you.

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Guest eight

Rents are contractual.

It's not like there isnt 1000's of desperate business land lords out there trying to fill there shops.

Supply and demand.

I can assure you that none of that is reflected in asking rents.

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You would really need to be mad to open something on my 'local high street.'

There is a guy who opened a comic/memoriabilia shop in a dying arcade. Selling Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Marvel stuff. You get the idea.

He sunk some settlement, redundancy or whatever into this, and I've yet to see anyone in there. Everyday he sits in there burning through money, every passing customer/window shopper must be costing ££

Opening a shop has got to be the new 'one born every minute' similar to becoming a pub landlord with a pubco.

They guy that set up a speciality toffee/choccie shop with his daughters folded a few months back. That just had 'doomed to fail' written all over it, when it was being expensively shopfitted out last year.

And the internet isn't really much easier. Having to spend serious dough to get noticed on Google, social media etc..

Coming to realise my past internet 'successes' (for what they were) were probably unrepeatable flukes.

Edited by RentierParadisio

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I think my generation and younger will be hard pressed to find the time and discretionary cash to trek up and down a hight street to buy some over priced tat.

Better deals online and we're all either being gouged for rent or putting away for a humongous deposit.

If they want a high street as busy as it was in the 90s then we're going to need 90s house prices and cost of living.

Commercial rents are too high also.

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BHS is an interesting one. The ownership has recently changed but it is reported the pension deficit is huge. The new buyers think they can make it work but the reporting is if previous owners could not turn it around then what hope for new guys ?

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Rents are contractual.

It's not like there isnt 1000's of desperate business land lords out there trying to fill there shops.

Supply and demand.

We have too much taxation in the UK.

When taxation is used to enrich one part of society it should be deemed criminal. I personally think we are at that point.

Beyond a few fat cat Councillors and MP's what does that have to do with 'public sector self reward'? Rates are more or less doing their job sending signals that land prices and rents are too high. The solution is not to assume and address rates as the problem, which will achieve sod all except probably make it worse while enriching landlords. It's to address why they're are so high and/or other reasons physical shops aren't doing so well.

Rates are a function of rents. Both are a function of land and little to do with normal supply and demand. Billy business owner has a max p/a premises budget and part is spent on rates, part on rent, bills etc. If rates fall Larry landlord still knows what Billy can afford (or the total p/a value of the property to the wider market) so raises the rent such that rates + rent = same budget, because Billy and others can only setup shop at Larry's or a few of his mates' places - not anywhere. Similar story to everything else in the country and zero to do with helping small businesses, shoppers or the public sector in general.

Edited by northshore

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People have less disposable income these days thanks to higher fixed costs and flat/falling wages (falling based on less hours / productivity). Pound/discounter shops have been around since the 80s, but have become popular only in the last 5 years or so - people are living out their own austerity measures.

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The commercial properties glut is mainly down to the life companies.

They've all invested stacks into shops and the like, and entered them on the books at x% yield.

If they had to put an actual real yield then they would all go under.

Look retails going back to regional - one big place every 60 miles or so.

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The business rates argument frequently emerges but, it's specious.

Things like online banking and road tax have had a much greater impact on town centre visitor numbers than many of the commonly cited reasons.

Even parking charges weren't an issue before there were the free supermarket alternatives or the online option.

Although, for personal financial reasons, it ought not to, the subject bores me these days really.

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Well yes, my only experience of `real life` is visiting a local flea market every sunday. People are just so tight...and this is in Cambridge! The amount of swearing that goes on is incredible, stall holders are so spiting mad, they bring their stuff but it`s `a waste of time`. And this is with almost zero overheads. I did help out by buying a packet of sweetcorn seeds (50p) about 3 weeks ago. After the market I go to waitrose and read their Sunday papers and drink free coffee.

If I was 40 to 50 I`d probably be doing some kind of business ...and failing miserably. However as I`m 55 I can play the austerity game for 10 years and then get a state pension.

So, 40 to 50 year olds? All I can say is don`t go there!

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Even parking charges weren't an issue before there were the free supermarket alternatives or the online option.

Before there were free supermarket alternatives or the online option, I could park for free in the streets at the end of the High Street, or park for about 10p an hour in town. A few years later, all the free street parking was made 'residents only', even though those residents would be out at work when I was shopping, and the car park was charging a pound or more an hour. So, you're right, parking charges weren't a problem back when they were miniscule or non-existent. They only became a problem when councils started treating them as a source of income, rather than a way to fund car parks.

Edited by MarkG

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This reminds me of my hometown. The shopping still continues to have constant changes of shops and companies. Some last years, other last just months. I've heard the rents are way too high. This goes back decades and small businesses are almost non existent.
A lot of this could go back to when we sold ourselves over the EU, believing that destroying our productivity as a nation for some fantasy of us being a Financial and Services nation.

Don't forget who signed us up in the first place. :ph34r:

Additionally I think closures could also be due to lack of demand as this 'recovery' is merely a housing boom. GDP has grown but I know no one who has had a pay rise. I can assure you the public sector isn't as cushy as the right wing rabid press would have you believe. Hating on your neighbour only benefits the 1% ;)

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