The number of planning applications for new shops in the UK has fallen by around nine per cent over the past years, according to law company EMW.
This marks the seventh year in a row that this type of planning application has fallen across the UK. In 2015, there were 6,700 applications for planning permission in the retail sector, down from 7,360 in 2014 and almost half of the number recorded during recession-hit 2008 when there were 11,900.
As the economy has recovered since the latest financial crisis, the figures can only point to the fact that the high street is still suffering from the competition posed by online retailers. And while many high street stores are now offering their own online shopping platforms, many are struggling to compete with the prices offered by online-only stores such as Asos and Boohoo.
Further evidence of the declining high street was offered by the collapse of many well-known brands, including BHS and Austin Reed, as well as convenience store chain My Local.
Aimee Bearable of EMW said of the company’s findings:
'With online retailers continuing to win market share, high street firms have less of an appetite to open new shops, instead opting to develop online services or squeeze extra profits from existing space by changing the shopping experience or repurposing stores to act more as showrooms or collection points.
Recent high-profile closures will lead to more retail space becoming available on the market. Those retailers still looking to expand their high street presence might look to acquire some of these recently vacated stores instead of applying for any new retail developments.'
For more news, views and reviews on funding and support for the UK retail and construction sectors follow us on Twitter @RBSIF.
Security may be required. Product fees may apply.