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Properties Articles

London's Retail To Be Replaced

Experts have suggested that the pandemic will have a long lasting affect on the way we shop. Predictions have suggested that it would not be unlikely for the retail spaces to be transformed into leisure facilities, alike to coffee shops or movie theatres.

The U.K. saw 20,000 store closures in 2020, according to the U.K. office of National Statistics. This is due to an increase in online shopping, rising from 19% to 33% between February & March 2020. Following this, we saw a record figure of 36% in November.

The pandemic has challenged retailers as social measures have restricted customers ability to shop. Not only have we seen large brands go into administration, but many of these have been bought out by online retailers. Boohoo recently bought Debenhams, keeping the brand name but moving the whole shopping experience online. The same was done to the once thriving Topshop.

Neil Shearing, group economist at Capital Economics, stated that the pandemic did not cause this, it only “accelerate(d) changes that were previously underway, one of those is, of course, the shift to online shopping”.

Prior to the pandemic, retailers had started making the change towards providing experiences. Topshop, for example, provided DJ sets to entice customers to shop in person. Alike to this, we have seen an increase in coffee shops within retail stores, widening customer-base.

So, the prediction stands that we may see a shift in our high street, moving away from retail towards experience focused spaces.