// 70 shopping centres across the UK could be forced to close due to Covid-19 challenges
// At least 30 shopping centres in the UK are now at least half empty
// More than 80% of shops are vacant following months of lockdowns
Up to 70 shopping centres across the UK could be forced to close as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to manifest in the retail sector.
Online shopping as well as the over-expansion of retail space has threatened 70 out of Britain’s 700 shopping centres.
Many shopping centres built in the 1970s and 1980s will be at least partly redeveloped into homes, offices or for other uses.
At least 30 shopping centres in the UK are now at least half empty including five with more than 80 per cent of their shops vacant following months of lockdowns, according to a Local Data Company (LDC) analysis of centres in England, Scotland and Wales.
A further 34 have between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of their shops vacant, with at least 10 shops in them.
“There’s no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges we were seeing across the physical retail environment, with shopping centres having been particularly exposed to categories in decline, such as fashion and casual dining,” LDC commercial director Lucy Stainton said.
Knight Frank head of retail research Stephen Springham said 10 per cent of shopping centres are no longer viable.
He believes a further 20 per cent to 30 per cent – about 200 – will need a significant overhaul, with shops retained but parts of the centre converted to homes, offices or other uses.
With potential tenants hard to come by, shopping centres already set for redevelopment are Nottingham’s Broadmarsh, where demolition starts this month, Stockton’s Castlegate, the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury, the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe, and Nicholsons in Maidenhead.
Work has already begun to knock down south London’s Elephant & Castle centre.