Daily Management Review

83% Of Department Stores Lost In UK Since Collapse Of BHS


83% Of Department Stores Lost In UK Since Collapse Of BHS
Over the last five years since the collapse of the BHS chain, about 83 per cent of the main department stores in e United Kingdom have been lost. The extent of disruption in the High Street is reflected in the figure even as shopping habit change was hastened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
More than two-thirds of these shops remain unoccupied currently, showed the data that has been compiled by commercial property information firm CoStar Group.
The data also showed the presence of 237 big stores that have not yet been taken over by a new business.
"The data undoubtedly highlights the acceleration of change in the retail sector in recent years, which the pandemic has only exacerbated," said CoStar Group's head of analytics, Mark Stansfield.
The report was based on the analysis of the largest chains of the country, including BHS, Beales, Debenhams and House of Fraser, between the time period of October 2016 till the present time.
The companies had 467 stores about five years ago and now they only have 79 stores remaining, the report noted.
The fate of the 388 stores that had closed was also tracked by CoStar Group. The report from the group noted that while 237 of the stores currently are empty, 52 of the stores either have firm business plans in place or are in the early stages of getting approval for their plans for a change of use or repurposing.
The research was done in July.
The pace of change would soon step up, Stansfield said.
"We are increasingly seeing forward-thinking real estate owners getting ahead of the problem and reshaping what are key assets in our town centres to provide a focal point for regeneration," he said.
"I think we'll see many more plans come to light in the coming months. With these store closures come new opportunities."
Shopping areas in the UK have for long primarily been composed of department stores. While some of them are located in historic buildings, many are situated in purpose-built shopping centres.
One of the biggest challenges for landlords as well as for the town centres that host those properties is finding out a way of how to deal with all this redundant space.
One of the good examples of the issue not having a quick fix is that of BHS. More than 25 per cent of the former outlets of the company still do not have new tenants five years after BHS stopped trading.
For this research, discussions have been held by CoStar Group's team with property agents on the ground as well as big landlords and sourcing planning applications. The report claims to provide the most comprehensive picture to date about the huge structural changes to have hit this part of British retail.
However, the report also noted that there has not been complete erosion in appetite for quality shop space. Debenhams stores have been taken over by Next for its new beauty concept and Mike Ashley is redeveloping or re-letting space for his Flannels brand.
(Adapted from BBC.com)