High Street

60% of British people believe the high street will ‘eventually disappear’

New research has found that 60% of British people believe that the high street will “eventually disappear”.

The research by Close Brothers Asset Finance also found that 85% of people feel the high street is in decline, with 70% adding that councils and the government are not giving “enough support”.

Workers at over 900 British businesses were surveyed as part of the research, of which 35% agreed that business rates were most to blame for high street struggles. Charging for car parks was most to blame for struggles according to 25% of those surveyed while others blamed online shopping, changing shopping habits and out of town shopping centres.

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Over a quarter of business owners surveyed admitted to selling more online while a further 25% said they were seeking alternative sales methods. Businesses employing between one and 10 employees and those in the south east and Wales felt the most strongly about poor levels of support for councils and the government.


Neil Davies, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, told Retail Sector: “We’ve rarely seen this level of consensus in our research and it reflects the respondents’ personal experiences of the high street, whether as a consumer or a retailer.

“The issues facing the high street are many and multiple, with unreasonable business rates seen as the single biggest cause of the problems, followed by parking charges and rather surprisingly in third and fourth place, online shopping and changing shopping habits.”

Davies added: “The UK’s SMEs are known for their innovation and ability to problem solve but these results are understandably concerning. Many of those surveyed are directly affected, whether as retailers or suppliers, and they’re clearly stating that unless something is done to address their concerns, like business rates and parking, the decline will continue.”

“Our research shows that the picture of decline is pretty uniform in all regions. Despite a few success stories, the overall message is that confidence in the High Street is low.”

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