Shopping centres in the UK are ‘in crisis’ and more than 200 are at risk of entering into administration unless they secure new funding.
That’s according to experts who have responded to new data showing shopping centres are in decline as retailers struggle to battle market challenges and turn a profit.
Shopping centres are a preferred location for many mobility retailers across the UK, with attractive units and generally strong footfall compared to the high street.
But executive director of the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, Simon Cooke, said that shopping centres have been hit “with the perfect storm”, according to a BBC report.
Mr Cooke told the BBC that defaulting retail markets, weaker consumer spending, the impact of the internet and rising rents and rates are making it “very difficult” for retailers to trade and make a profit.
Analyst Nelson Blackley, also from the National Retail Research Knowledge Exchange Centre, said that the loss of stores like BHS and Toys R Us has created a “downward spiral” and added that smaller towns would be hardest hit if shopping centres close.
Mr Blackley said: “We have too many [shopping centres[, doing exactly the same – the same range of stores and products – and basically that’s not attractive.
“The collapse of BHS, two years ago, left empty units in around 200 shopping centres and more than half of those large, empty units have not yet been filled.
“If the major anchor store moves out, that has a halo effect on other stores in that centre. It’s a downward spiral and you can’t fill shopping centres with nail bars and vape shops.”
According to research by the Financial Times, around £2.5bn of shopping centres and retail parks are for sale in urban areas in the UK.
Mr Cooke said politicians must launch a plan to regenerate shopping centres. A spokesperson for the government told the BBC that high streets are changing and it is “committed to helping communities adapt.”
Image: Nicholsons Shopping Centre in Maidenhead recently entered into administration and is seeking a new buyer. Credit: Google