‘Squeeze is on’ for town centre retailers

UK town centre retailing is set to come under increasing pressure as growth in consumer demand slows and competition from online and out-of-town retailers intensifies.
That’s the conclusion of a new report, Town Centre Retailing 2007, from Verdict Research. It expects most new shopping centres to perform well but says the outlook for older malls and tired town centres looks less positive.

“For weaker high streets and ageing shopping centres the coming years will be testing times,” says Verdict’s senior retail analyst Alastair Lockhart. “On one hand, overall consumer demand is expected to slow as higher interest rates really start to weigh on consumers’ finances. On the other, weaker high streets face growing competition from new shopping centres, online operators and clothing retailers planning to open stores on out-of-town retail parks.”

Last year, retail sales through town centres were worth £124.2b. Verdict predicts that by 2011 town centre retail sales will grow by 6.5%, while total retail will rise at over twice the pace – 15.4%.

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