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Online shopping boom hits high street fashion outlets hardest

27 October 2016 - 09:22 by Graham Miller

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While the death of the high street has been greatly exaggerated by some, there are signs that certain parts of the retail sector are less resilient than others in the wake of the rise of safe shopping online.

The latest figures from PwC have shown that clothing stores are finding it especially tough to keep trading, as more and more of their customers head to e-commerce sites to snap up the latest fashions. And in the first half of the year, a net total of almost 200 clothing and accessory shops closed in towns and cities nationwide, according to the Financial Times.

Analysts have pointed out that as well as 2016 proving to be a tough year for the high street as a result of closures, there are fewer new shops opening at the moment, meaning that the gaps left as businesses vacate their premises are not being filled in many cases.

Report spokesperson, Mike Jervis, said that there are a number of factors at play here and that it was not simply the case that safe shopping online was stealing too much business from the high street. He also said that the fashion sector was suffering from falling sales at the moment, with people choosing to spend their cash on other items rather than on new clothes.

At the other end of the success scale, there are still outlets which are performing well on the high street, with more coffee shops, restaurants and other leisure-related facilities opening than shutting down in the UK so far this year.

Clearly there are some things which the high street can offer that e-commerce sites cannot. But ongoing problems for clothing stores in particular are still predicted over the coming years, as retailers adapt to the more challenging marketplace.