The Keynote: High streets – the radical rethink needed to build back better

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The closure of Debenhams and Arcadia stores has once more thrust the health of high streets and town centres into the spotlight.

The liquidation of the department store group and administration of Sir Philip Green’s fashion empire in the space of just a few hours at the end of last year cost 20,000 jobs and 500-odd stores will never reopen when lockdown ends.

The acquisition of these high street stalwarts by ecommerce powerhouses Asos and Boohoo, both of which will ditch the store estates of their new acquisitions, prompted more headlines about the death of the high street at a time when online retail market share has reached record heights.

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