The phenomenal growth of online retailing, the rise of shopping through mobile phones, and the sophistication of the major retailers combined with a crippling recession, have all conspired to change today’s retail landscape, Portas said.
● Town centre vacancy rates have doubled over the last two years. With shoppers flocking out of town, less than half of our retail spending is now on the high street.
● In the last decade, out-of-town retail floorspace has risen by 30 per cent while in-town space has fallen by 14 per cent. Portas said planning rules “have allowed these new out-of-town developments to flourish”.
● In 2015, we’ll be spending more than £40bn a year over the internet and mobile devices, the review said.
● Portas said the bust had exposed “problems of disconnection between property owners, retailers and local councils” – one factor that has led to record vacancy rates and rock bottom footfall.
● Mediocre businesses flourished during the boom years that “simply didn’t realise how to talk to the new value-conscious consumer,” such as Woolworths. As a result, high streets are now in a dire state.
● Portas said we can revive the high street and “once we invest in and create social capital in the heart of our communities, the economic capital will follow.”