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Bootle in top of the (empty) shops

More than a quarter of premises lie vacant here and in Runcorn

Written by . Published on February 11th 2014.

Bootle in top of the (empty) shops

BOOTLE made the top 10 charts today – for its high number of empty shops, with Runcorn old town joining it for a top spot. 

Figures release by the Local Data Company paint a bleak picture of shopping streets in the North West compared to London and the better-off South East.

Bootle was in 5th place with a shop vacancy level of 27 percent, followed in sixth spot by Church Street – the main shopping street in Runcorn old town, with a 26.8 percent vacancy rate in the survey. 

Morecambe topped the chart with a vacancy level of 32.9 percent, with Highgate in London earning top place for the lowest number of empty shops – not a single vacancy in their high street. 

Church Street RuncornChurch Street RuncornThe North West captured five of the top spots, giving the region the highest level of empty shops – 17.3 percent -  five percent higher than the national average of 12 percent. Across Greater London, the number of shops standing empty was 8 percent - less than half the level in the North West.

Local Data Company Director Matthew Hopkinson warned of some shopping streets disappearing, adding with 50,000 empty shops across the country there are simply far too many retail shops.

He said: “What is clear from our latest report on vacancy rates, ‘Divide and Rule’, is that there is a significant and growing divide between the north of the country and the south. In addition, we are seeing greater concentration of the best retail and leisure destinations in fewer centres, be they large out of town ‘shopping parks’ or the increasing number of ‘mega malls’ of which Trinity Leeds was the latest example to open in 2013.


“Of these ‘all inclusive’ destinations there are now approximately 25 where the consumer gets all of the experiences, offer and variety that they demand. So what of the hundreds of towns that sit in the shadow of these places?

“The data shows the best and the worst in vacancy rates but 2013 clearly showed that physical stores have a key role to play in engaging with your customers. The meteoric rise in ‘click & collect’ is but one example of the importance of the relationship between ‘bricks and clicks’ along with the increasing significance of convenience shopping.

“The historical analysis of vacancy rates shows not all places can or will be able to adjust to the 21stCentury ‘High Street’. It requires consumer spend, retailer commitment, landlord investment and a long term structural commitment by Government. As with any successful strategy there needs to be a plan which is evidence based, realistic, measurable and most importantly matches the needs, aspirations and economic reality of consumers, occupiers and landlords. Without this there will be no meaningful change and the communities that we all like to speak of will disappear but not without wider social consequences.

It is clear that Great Britain has too many shops, over 50,000 lie empty, and that technology will drive further consolidation. The speed of change is quickening and it is therefore more important than ever before to know which locations are thriving, surviving or dying.”

The data shows the increasing impact of large shopping centres and retail parks and their dominance of the retail landscape. Analysis of the 12 biggest shopping centres found most of the surrounding weaker towns and High Streets continue to decline, raising questions over their future direction and viability.

The Local Data Company monitors more than 2,000 town and shopping centres and retail parks, with its surveys acting as a barometer of activity on Britain’s high streets.  It's report costs £250 plus VAT.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

What Bootle needs is a giant spider, and then you'll some changes. You've only got to look at the amazing changes the puppets have brought to Liverpool.

Charlotte StreetFebruary 12th 2014.

"It is clear that Great Britain has too many shops" - oh yeah? Then why are there so many things that we can't buy in shops any more? I reluctantly buy some things from the Web because otherwise they simply aren't available. Shops are being killed off by high rents to landlords many of which are private equity companies based abroad only interested in instant high profits. Public services that took over some of the empty shops have had their funding cut and had to leave the high street to be taken over by betting shops and payday loan sharks.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

Much is made of the success of Liverpool One, but if you want to buy something that isn't overpriced chain coffee, chain junk food or chain American-style clownish fashionwear there's very little there for you.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

The Trafford Centre is even worse. Their big attraction Selfridge's had really gone downhill when I last visited.

R. E. TaylorFebruary 12th 2014.

The cost of overheads for running a shop are now so high that for independent traders the only affordable way to get to market is to operate from a spare bedroom or lock-up garage and sell by Internet mail order, perhaps through tax-dodgers Amazon. This is a shame because proper high street shops add vibrancy to a community, provide much-needed employment and allow purchasers to chat with the retailer about what they are buying.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

There are three problems I can see, landlords because the over price their rents, banks because they wont lend to small businesses so they cant invest in their own property and consumers who seem to value an easy shopping experience like tesco or the trafford centre over their local highstreets.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

Can't you feel the affects of the puppets yet? They are our salvation. Let's give the French another £6 million, it will all come good in time.

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

Any more misery and depression to share? Life's shit ain't it?

AnonymousFebruary 12th 2014.

It need not be but it suits the people with all the influence and money.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 13th 2014.

Yes, it does, they can pay us fuck all in zero hours contract jobs like TNT

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