Shopping centres thrive while high streets dive

“Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small, that we can never get away from the sprawl. Living in the sprawl, the dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains and there’s no end in sight.”

In the same week that Mary Portas was tasked by the government to save the ailing high street, it was announced that Sheffield Meadowhall shopping centre in Yorkshire was to be massively expanded.

More big boxes on the edge-of-town.

While many landlords cannot even fill a few hundred square feet of space on the high street, Meadowhall is set to grow by 700,000 sq ft to a grand total of 2 million sq ft that will make it the largest out-of-town shopping destination in the UK.

Clearly the shopping malls are far from dead (in a trading sense rather than cultural). Further evidence of the life in this retail format came with the confirmation that other firms such as British Land are to kick-start new shopping centre developments for the first time since the recession.

And Cushman & Wakefield has just been engaged to find new tenants for the recently upgraded Mander Centre in Wolverhampton. Agreed, it is far quieter on the development front than it was pre-recession but in comparison with the high street it’s positively boom-time.

The number of boarded-up stores littering town centres continues on its upward trajectory in many parts of the country. Many order cheap tadalafil people in the retail industry place the blame firmly with landords for being greedy on rental rates, and at councils for their incoherent local planning activity and onerous parking regimes.

Even the kebab shops and taxi firms have closed in Burnley.

While agrees that both parties are at fault, we do not agree with another widely held view that the high street now represents something from a bygone age that has no value in this modern era of shopping.

When on holiday – both in the UK and abroad – part of the experience is to go shopping. And my guess is that this does not involve a car ride out to the shopping malls and big boxes on the edge of towns but to the local high streets.

This is where you get a real flavour of the people and the local community. It’s where people engage with each other and shoppers are more likely to encounter a mix of goods from independents and recognised chains.

That many other countries have more vibrant high streets than the UK is frequently put down to the fact that in Britain we have a much more ‘sophisticated’ retail environment and others have yet to fully catch on to the trend for shopping in out-of-town mega-sized malls.

Whether you like it or not, the parlous state of the high street is supposedly progress.