For some time now, the UK has been concerned about the situation on high street – and those concerns have only grown. Thousands of UK shops have now been left empty, as the high street crisis deepens. In fact, data suggests that shop closures are at the biggest rise in five years.
According to this new data, 7,500 shops lay empty last year. Even though there has been a rapid rise of barbers, beauty salons, vaping stores, cafes and restaurants, it has not been enough to offset the closure of other stores. Specifically, banks, pubs, estate agents and fashion shops. In an analysis of the U.K.’s top 650 shopping locations, it was found that high street banks have become the fastest declining type of retail outlet in 2019, with 716 closures.
Several different chains have been hit the hardest, including: Poundworld, Maplin, Toys R Us and Multiyork. New Look Carpetright and Mothercare were also forced to seek legal agreements with their landlords in order to shut stores in an effort to reduce rent bills.
High-profile restaurants – like Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Byron, Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s and the Prezzo Group – have also found themselves forced into a situation where they have to close a large number of outlets. Rising costs, slowing spending and rapid changes in consumer habits have simply been too much for them to keep up with.
Lucy Stainton, the head of retail and strategic partnerships at LDC, commented: “2018 was another unprecedented year of change as the sustained challenges faced by many legacy brands collided with an advent of new concepts – these constantly shifting sands making conditions tougher than ever for most operators.”
According to the Local Data Company (LDC), closures increased slightly to 50,828. Compared to the number of new shops which slipped 4.4 percent to 43,278, this is a 37 percent rise in net closures – and there has been no let-up in 2019. Stores like Debenhams, Topshop boss Philip Green’s Arcadia empire and Marks & Spencer are also seeking approval from landlords for store closures.
“Over the coming months, we expect this trend to increase, and with it will come a redefinition of not just our high streets, but shopping centres and retail parks too,” says Stainton.
How Merchants Can Keep Up with Consumer Trends
More than ever, physical stores must find ways to keep up with consumers’ ever-changing preferences and expectations in order to compete with thriving online shops. But how can these merchants achieve this? One of their biggest challenges is payment processing.
Consumers’ not only expect speed, options and convenience, but a positive overall customer experience; an experience that is both seamless and safe. To provide this, many merchants are taking a second look at their payment processing services to ensure their customers are receiving the very best the industry has to offer.
If your business needs payment processing services, consider the many reviews and updates Best Payment Providers has to offer. Browse a long list of the cheapest merchant account UK to compare your options. Find all the information you need to choose a provider that fits your business’ unique needs, while also protecting your customers’ information.
Author Bio: Payment industry expert Taylor Cole is a passionate merchant account expert who understands the complicated world of accepting credit and debit cards at your business. His understanding of the industry and cheapest merchant account UK has helped thousands of business owners save money and time.