Britain’s high streets are once again on the decline with the number of stores beginning to decline again after they reached a peak last year.
That’s according to new research commissioned by Sky News, which claims to show that a ninth of shops on UK high streets are unoccupied and more are being converted into homes and offices.
The research, carried out by the Local Data Company, showed that the first three months of 2018 was the point at which there were most shops in Britain’s 650 largest town centres, comprising 192,765 stores.
The figure since then has slowly declined with more than 1,000 shops disappearing from the high streets analysed in the research.
Analysts believe that the decline in stores is down to evolving consumer habits and harsher economic conditions.
Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company, told Sky News that the number of occupied units in the UK had been steadily increasing, reaching an all-time peak in the first quarter of 2018.
She said: “However, we have now reached a turning point and the number of shops in the UK is falling with store rationalisation programmes and administrations taking effect.
“The 2018 vacancy data reveals how towns and cities are seeing the impact of an oversupply of retail stores, after years of expansion across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks.
“We would expect this trend to continue especially as we are seeing an increase in development activities as landlords look to convert retail property for other uses such as residential and warehousing.”