High street is set for retail comeback

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The Independent Online

After years of losing sales to out-of-town shopping centres, the high street is staging a comeback. Research from Verdict, the retail consultancy, concludes that the decline of Britain's high streets has stabilised.

After years of losing sales to out-of-town shopping centres, the high street is staging a comeback. Research from Verdict, the retail consultancy, concludes that the decline of Britain's high streets has stabilised.

According Verdict's "High Street 2000" report, the next five years will bring growth in high-street sales and space.

Only 16 per cent of shoppers say they want out-of-town development to continue, and almost half of those surveyed said they would prefer to shop in their local high streets.

"The high street has enjoyed a mini revival," said a Verdict spokesman.

However, one-third of the British population would be happy to travel for more than 30 minutes to reach their preferred shopping locations. Verdict says that this represents an opportunity for town centres, which should employ specialist managers to exploit it.

High-street retailers have come under pressure in recent years from greater price competition, rising rents and the threat of e-commerce, forcing them to move to cheaper locations.

Out-of-town space has grown by 62 per cent in the past 10 years, while high-street space is unchanged.

The retail consultancy again named London's Oxford Street as the most popular shopping destination in Britain.

Glasgow moved up from ninth place last year to fourth.

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