The best performing retail centres in Britain have been revealed, with the Buckinghamshire market town of Beaconsfield heading up the list, which takes into account numerous factors such as vacancy rates, changes in residents’ movements and suitability to local consumers’ demands.
The Vitality Ranking, compiled by Harper Dennis Hobbs, saw Beaconsfield take the top spot, followed by Henley-on-Thames, Tenterden, Wimbledon Village, Marlborough, Sevenoaks, Kingston upon Thames, Berkhamsted, Harpenden and Ilkley.
Head of retail consultancy Andy Metherell explained that this analysis is unique because it uses variables that both retailers and consumers alike consider when ranking shopping locations.
This year, the list looks rather different from its predecessors because of the contrasting fortunes of the various high streets around the country, as a result of the pandemic.
“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores.
“Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations,” Mr Metherell went on to say.
The pandemic has also seen a dramatic increase in online retail, with high street shops closing all over the country in response to the situation and lack of footfall coming through the doors.
This has led to the UK Treasury to start considering options for an online sales tax to help give the high street a boost, according to the Guardian, although groups such as the British Retail Consortium have opposed the move, saying it would hit high street retailers with online operations hard, as well as pushing up costs for shoppers.
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