Lisa Hooker: ‘Long live the store – but it needs to evolve’

Lisa Hooker02

It’s a familiar and frightful story: the once-beloved UK high street is in terminal decline. The perfect storm of a global pandemic, online shopping and crippling rents and business rates is set to usher in the end of the physical store.

The statistics look bleak – only this week it was revealed that Debenhams’ 118 stores look likely to shut as pureplay Boohoo bought the department store group’s brand and website to run online only.

Our own store openings and closures report – prepared in conjunction with Local Data Company – hasn’t been overly positive in recent editions.

Even the record 11,120 closures (and record net decline of 6,001 stores) in the first half of  2020 don’t show the full picture. The data excludes temporarily closed stores, so there’s still worse to come. 

Elsewhere, we’ve seen footfall drop by more than 80% during the first lockdown and it’s currently at just over 70%.

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