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Fashion spending in town centres to slump by 13.8 percent by 2023

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

1 Apr 2019

With major retailers including Marks and Spencer and Debenhams closing a significant number of stores over the next three to five years, GlobalData has released new research that reveals that secondary and tertiary town centres will be the hardest hit locations with clothing and footwear spend forecast to decline by 13.8 percent, 2.4 billion pounds between 2018 and 2023.

Sofie Willmott, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement: “As a greater proportion of shopper spend shifts to digital channels with online penetration in clothing and footwear set to reach 34.5 percent by 2023 – more than doubling since 2013 when 15.2 percent of clothing & footwear sales were online, offline locations are losing out.”

GlobalData’s survey of 2,000 UK respondents conducted in February 2019 showed that 40.6 percent of consumers would choose to shop online if the retailer they usually shop with closed the store they normally purchase from, which the data and analytics company states demonstrates how store closures boost online penetration.

Essential purchases will prop up high streets due to location convenience, which 80.5 percent of UK consumers visited in the last 12 months, according to GlobalData’s 2018 survey of 10,000 shoppers. The research notes that the high street will remain relevant for purchasing food and grocery and health and beauty, as it adds that a wider retailer and product choice is less important in comparison to clothing and footwear.

Despite this, GlobalData forecasts total town centre spending will decline by 1.9 percent between 2018 and 2023 with the location accounting for 28 percent of UK retail spend by 2023, down 7.5 percentage points in 2013.