Number of empty shops on high street soars

A report from the British Retail Consortium has found that the number of empty shops on the UK’s high streets has hit 11.3 percent, the highest level since its survey began in July 2012.

Although many are reportedly pointing towards the internet as a key driver behind the demise of the high street, mPowa chairman and chief executive Dan Wagner has claimed that both must coexist in a smart multichannel retailing strategy.

He said: “Consumers have become more demanding in the way they purchase goods than ever before. Sophisticated mobile handsets and tablets mean shoppers have a myriad of choices on how, what and when they buy. The challenge for the retailer is to ensure that they have a variety of platforms which allow them to purchase at the point when the customer is ready, wherever they might be. Many retailers who have not got a comprehensive multichannel strategy are suffering severe consequences as result.”

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According to researchers at Booz & Company, SMEs in the UK generate 48.8 percent of private-sector turnover and employ 59 percent of private-sector personnel. However, 25 percent say that basic digital awareness and skills hinder them in digital engagement.

Wagner added: “Whilst SMEs could stand to gain the most from online sales, their awareness remains poor. Bricks and mortar stores can’t afford to ignore the benefits that digital channels can deliver and if they can incorporate this into their current approach to retailing, they can become much better prepared for the modern shopper.”

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