Headlines throwing a spotlight on struggling giant Debenhams – long a stalwart of the high street – and the collapse of BHS in 2016 provide a stark reminder of the pressures facing UK retailers as bricks and mortar businesses battle to compete with the public’s love of online shopping.
The Scottish Retail Consortium estimates one-quarter of businesses across Scotland could shut between now and 2025. As the big names pull out or fail, smaller independent retailers already juggling other running costs must contend with a further decline in footfall caused by the disappearance of those household names, creating the “ghost town” effect.
While reduced business rates and government support through city-region deals aim to support those in distress, waves of closures continue.
Lurking in the shadows for many landlords is the prospect of re-letting vacant units – an administrative headache at best and a financial sinkhole…