2019 might be the Year of the Pig (as per the Chinese Zodiac) but it certainly isn’t shaping up to be the year of the British high-street – according to real estate adviser the Atlus Group.
The company’s latest forecast of the plight of UK retailers envisions 23,000 shops permanently closing in the coming year, as bricks-and-mortar locations struggle to contend with online retailers like Amazon.
By Atlus’ reckoning, the wave of closures is likely to result in 175,000 job losses – compounding the 150,000 terminations already sustained in 2018 by way of 20,000 retail operations closing doors.
So dramatic has been the market turn-around in favour of remote retail that the report’s authors believe that the average price of commercial property throughout the county is likely to nosedive in the coming months – and could end the year down nearly 16 per cent on present values.
Meanwhile, 78 per cent of retail businesses pro-filed by the study said that the marked customer trend in favour of “experiential” retailing was now changing how they invested in their business – a statistic which may play into the hands of arcade and leisure operators.
Indeed, such is the present public demand for “destination” entertainment, that Atlus envisions it as playing a critical role in the survival and evolution of high-street retail.
“Retail of the future will use bricks-and-mortar spaces in a very different way mixed in with leisure and lifestyle residential spaces,” said its managing director Guillaume Fiastre. “The most successful retailers – are learning to draw in their customers with the promise of a personalised experience. Technology makes that all possible but it sill needs a strong human element.”