Footfall in the High Streets of Eastern England fell by 6.2% during the second quarter (May to July) of 20l2. The number of vacant shop units rose to 11.5% and the overall picture remains bleak. The High Street is no longer the place we go shopping. So where do we go?
Footfall into out-of-town shopping centres and retail parks also fell, but by an almost insignificant 1% nationally, but spending on the web almost doubled. A noticeable factor in the downturn in retail spending is in areas where a significant proportion of the workforce is employed in the public sector (as in Ipswich).
However, if you think Ipswich has too many empty shops, take pity on the good folk of Bradford West Yorkshire, Britain's fifth largest city by population. The city council gave planning permission for a new shopping centre in 2004, the developer dug an enormous 23 acre hole in the centre of the city and then pulled out as the recession hit. No matter how hard you try, you cannot fill a hole with charity shops, community workshops or even fly-by-night retailers selling Christmas tat.