Up to 70 shopping centres in the UK at risk of closure due to COVID

Debenhams: Dispatches looks at collapse of store

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Shopping centres and shops were already struggling due to a rise in online shopping and changes in customer habits. But now, the coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even direr.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, non-essential shops were forced to close for months at a time over the past year.

This led to a rise in online shopping, which has steadily increased in recent years.

Up to 70 shopping centres are now at risk of closure and some have already started to close.

Work has already begun on the demolition of a shopping centre in Elephant and Castle, south London.

There are around 700 shopping centres in the UK, therefore around 10 percent are at risk of closure.

Many of these sites could become homes or offices.

At least 30 shopping centres across the UK are currently at least half empty following the pandemic.

Five of these 30 have more than 80 percent of their shops empty.

This research comes from Local Data Company, which analysed shopping centres in England, Scotland, and Wales.

The data analytics company also found that a further 34 shopping centres currently only have between 40 percent and 50 percent of their shops open.

As well as the Elephant and Castle shopping centre, there are other centres in the UK which have already been lined up for redevelopment.

These include Broadmarsh in Nottingham, Castlegate in Stockton, the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury, the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe, and Nicholsons in Maidenhead.

Lucy Stainton, the commercial director at Local Data Company, said: “There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges we were seeing across the physical retail environment.

“Shopping centres having been particularly exposed to categories in decline, such as fashion and casual dining.”

Additionally, Stephen Springham, Head of Retail Research at Knight Frank, said around 200 shopping centres will need “a radical rethink”.

This is because they have been left too long and need to be renovated.

This could mean some of the premises will have to close, but some shops may remain.

Mr Springham said: “Many shopping centres have been left too long and need a radical rethink.”

High street shops have also been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, Debenhams closed its doors forever due to changes in consumer habits.

After 243 years, Debenhams no longer exists on the British high street.

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