Chain stores are moving out of the high street. Recent high-profile deals, such as online fashion retailer Asos’s purchase of high street brands including Topshop and Miss Selfridge from the Arcadia group, and the acquisition of Debenhams by another online business, Boohoo, have cemented the trend.
Neither deal includes any physical shops, meaning that 118 Debenhams stores and a further 70 Arcadia shops are closing.
As shopping increasingly moves online – a trend accelerated by lockdown – the question remains of what to do with all the empty space on the high street. Research by estate agent Savills suggests the UK may already have 40% excess retail space.
As a rule, smaller units, like those occupied by Topshop or Miss Selfridge, have been easier to let or repurpose than large department stores, like Debenhams. Before the pandemic, chain store closures and a declining demand for retail space caused