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Retail parks suffer more than high streets due to e-commerce

15 December 2014 - 10:36 by Mike Price

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A new report from the Local Data Company has revealed that retail parks based outside of towns and cities are feeling the pinch as a result of the rise of safe shopping online, to a greater degree than the UK’s high street stores, according to the Financial Times.

1500 different shopping hotspots from across the country were examined by analysts, with the study concluding that the average British consumer spends close to £2,000 online each year, which is higher than in any other country.

The result of this is that larger retail parks away from the centre of towns and cities have seen a significant decline in business, as more people choose to buy consumer electronics, DIY materials and other big items via safe shopping online.

Report spokesperson, Matthew Hopkinson, said that a kind of domino effect was taking down these retail parks, with the closure of one big store often leading to the gradual decline of the entire precinct.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, with successful retail parks tending to stay that way, which shows that there may be means by which retailers can stick it out in their hulking out of town outlets.

Until only recently, there was concern about the extent to which retail parks like this were sucking business away from the town and city centres of the UK. But now e-commerce has turned the tables and could actually be benefitting the high street, at the expense of the bigger stores on the outskirts.

Click & collect services are seen as the saving grace of retail parks, while outlets offering food and drink and fashion in these places are also less susceptible to the slippage of business, even with the encroachment of online shopping.