There are up to 200 UK shopping centres that are under threat of falling into administration due to the demise of traditional large anchor stores such as BHS and Toys R Us. The failure of BHS in 2016 left empty units in 200 shopping centres of which only 95 have been re-let.
Many smaller towns have out of town shopping centres that offer a similar range of stores and merchandise. Many are becoming less attractive as compared to online purchasing. The UK online retail growth has been faster than any other retail market in the world.
The University of Nottingham Business School suggests that £2.5bn of shopping centre real estate is up for sale in towns and cities all across the UK. Many leading national retailers are finding business hard, closing stores and hit with rent and rate rises. Shopping centres are therefore under pressure to cut rents to keep tenants or run the risk of a void.
UK shopping centres will need to look at their business model and move to more of an experience theme. The successful centres will combine retail with entertainment, café, bars restaurants, leisure such as ice rinks, ski slopes, or sea life centres and services like libraries, health centres, GP surgeries and chemists. All this adds to the range of services and experiences people cannot get online.