The shopping streets will gradually become a place of leisure rather than shopping.
The retail market in London is changing its usual outline under pressure from the pandemic and restrictions. By 2020, the UK will close a record number of stores of about 20,000, writes CNBC, and citing research.
Simultaneously, as around the world, shoppers are increasingly leaving physical stores for online purchases. According to the British Office of National Statistics, the percentage of online sales in the total retail market rose from 19 to 33 percent just in the first months after the start of the pandemic. By November, that figure had increased to 36 percent.
Analysts say that many retailers, including market leaders, have found themselves where it has become unprofitable and almost impossible to keep stores on the main shopping streets.
Earlier, the primary British fashion retailers Debenhams and Topshop had been in a pre-bankruptcy state from external management's introduction to new owners' sales.
Many international brands have been forced to reduce their presence in physical retail. Gap will close one of its flagship stores on Oxford Street as part of a program to optimize its network in Europe.
Analysts note that the main shopping streets will gradually turn into a place of leisure, not shopping, as it was in recent decades. Instead of stores in central locations, it will open more coffee shops, theaters, cinemas, and a lot of public events.
Market participants agree that while shopping for goods is flowing online rapidly, real estate on pedestrian streets will increasingly be refocused on shopping experiences, experiences, and leisure.
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