Brits are shopping less on their local high street compared to just a year ago with expensive high street parking among the factors being blamed, according to new research by online parking portal YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Indeed, four-in-ten people said they now shop less on their local high street compared to a year ago, while almost one-in-ten go to their high street just once a year.
Four-in-ten people also said it was because it is easier and cheaper to shop online, but the second biggest factor was expensive parking, which was blamed by 17 per cent of respondents.
The last few months has seen Thomas Cook, Links of London, Mothercare, Clinton cards, Bonmarche, Pizza Express, Jessops and others all suffer varying degrees of financial stress, including unit closures. Debenhams owes around £560m according to business press reports, Carpetright owes about £40m and ladies fashion shops Monsoon/Accessorize need about £18m to keep going, unless a retail miracle occurs over Christmas.
What does all this decline and debt mean for insurers? There are a range of risks associated with businesses in hardship, such as bad actors within the premises looking for a quick fix to their own financial problems, empty shops becoming a magnet for thieves and vandals, stock and fittings mysteriously vanishing, plus weather damage affecting properties during winter.
Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk, said: “Many British high streets have suffered a hard time recently, with small independent traders and large department stores all feeling the pinch, but our survey has cause for optimism.”
Meanwhile, further analysis shows that Brits are still in love with their cars when it comes to getting to the high street, with half of those surveyed saying they drive to the local shops, compared to just 12 per cent who travel by bus.
Harrison added: “With most people driving to the high street, it’s no surprise that parking is a contentious issue. What they might not realise is that there are cheaper alternatives, such as pre-booking a nearby driveway.”
For more information about YourParkingSpace.co.uk, or to pre-book driveways and empty spaces for parking near high streets and town centres, visit www.yourparkingspace.co.uk
Insurance Edge Comment:
Parking costs are one factor in the High Street decline for sure, and when most councils bring in local ULEZ zones at £5-£10 per trip, the traffic, and footfall levels will drop quite dramatically again. But the blunt truth is the internet has won. The sooner we all face that reality and find a new purpose for clapped-out town centres and their largely ugly retail shopping centres, the better.