More British shops standing empty than ever before

15 February 2011

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“This town... is coming like a ghost town” sang The Specials back in 1981. At the time, we all thought it was a jolly ditty about a fictional town populated by the kinds of spooks and ghouls that we saw in shows like Scooby Doo. But no.

In fact, the song was a chilling prediction of Britain 30 years hence, with more high street shops boarded up than ever before as the economic gloom infected the centres of our towns like some kind of evil plague.

According to the Local Data Company, town centre vacancies across Britain rose from 12 per cent at the end of 2009 to 14.5 per cent at the end of 2010. Back in the golden era of 2008, the figure was a poxy 5%. No mention of THAT in The Specials’ back catalogue.

The stats show that there is a dramatic divide across the country with 16.5 per cent of retail units standing empty in The North and The Midlands compared to 12.3 per cent in The South.

Retail specialist Mark Hudson from PricewaterhouseCooper blah-de-blah-blahed: “The further significant shift in shopping behaviour to online, which is now heading towards around 10% of retail sales, is the underlying driver behind the long-term structural change in how we shop and the key reason why shop vacancy rates continue to increase. This, combined with the fact that existing space is not converted to alternative uses as fast as new space is added, is contributing to an over-supply of space," he said.”

Specials’ vocalist Terry Hall was not available for comment as this story went to press.

TOPICS:   High Street News

6 comments

  • Terry H.
    On the upside, think of what Coventry would look like if all the charity shops were shut too.
  • shinkyshonky
    most high streets looks like piano keyboards or are filled with corporate tat
  • Steve
    Bands won't play no more. Too much fighting on the dance floor
  • Richard M.
    "The stats show that there is a dramatic divide across the country with 16.5 per cent of retail units standing empty in The North and The Midlands compared to 12.3 per cent in The South." No really that "dramatic" a divide is it? 4.2% is about as dramatic as an episode of Holby City, I would say, i.e. not very.
  • Pedant
    I live in Coventry, it actually is a fucking ghost town. Except the night life, thats like a ghost train. Horrors jumping out at you from all sides *shudder*
  • Mark C.
    Yeah, how does this relate to the statistics for live muisical entertainment, and crime figures regarding fights breaking out on the dance floor?

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