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ONS RETAIL FIGURES: “ONE GOOD EASTER WON’T MAKE THE HIGH STREET’S SUMMER’

Though today’s ONS retail statistics reveal April’s High Street retail revenues finally rose, by 1.9% against March, that’s largely because of the Easter blip – cautions e-commerce delivery experts ParcelHero. An online sales rise of 19% shows the internet is still eating the High Street’s lunch, it warns.

The latest Office of National Statistics retail figures give some welcome respite for the struggling High Street, with volumes up 4% YOY and 2.3% against March. However, these figures are artificially boosted because Easter fell in April rather than March this year, warns e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero.  It says a slight rise in High Street footfall during the Easter break doesn’t negate e-commerce growth of a staggering 19% YOY in April.

 ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says the latest ONS figures reveal online shopping accounts for 15.6% of all retail sales, and the rapid growth  mirrors the chief prediction in its new report 2030: The Death of the High Street – that home shopping will wipe out 50% of town centre stores by 2030.

David warns:

  • The rapid disappearance of High Street staples such as Staples and Jaeger are just the tip of the iceberg. Home deliveries are set to destroy our town centres by 2030 unless there is an urgent rethink in the way we use our High Streets.
  • One good Easter won’t make the High Street’s summer. Between 2020 and 2030 halfof the UK’s existing shop premises will have disappeared. 100,000 stores will close, leaving just 120,000 shops on our high street. And that’s because by 2030 e-commerce will account for around 40% of all UK retail sales
  • Clothing stores are the latest fashion victims, with Jaeger and Banana Republic even now slipping from our streets. In 2013 alone there was a net loss of 264 fashion stores from our High Street. The online fashion industry could reach £36.2bn by 2030: 63% of the market compared to today’s 21%.
  • Unless we want a High Street of nail bars, charity shops and tumbleweed, our town centres must return to a Victorian model. Shopping should become a more social experience again – and High Streets a venue people want to visit as part of their leisure time.
  • Planners and retailers need to wake up to the e-commerce Revolution, and plan for a different kind of High Street; with fewer shops and more amenities, restaurants and places of entertainment.
  • Homes must also return to UK High Streets to prevent no go areas after 6pm. Local and national government need to be far more flexible about change of use for town centre buildings to enable people to return to living in our city centres.
  • Exorbitant business rates inflict a huge disadvantage on High Street stores compared to e-commerce retailers.
  • Home deliveries are far greener than shoppers climbing into their cars to visit various stores. Retailers and consumers must embrace the rise of e-commerce and introduce new reasons for us all to return to our town centres.

The full report is available at https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/news-updates/2030-dead-end-for-the-high-street