Business

Britain's best and worst shopping districts ranked

Shields Road, Byker Image copyright Harper Dennis Hobbs
Image caption Shields Road, Byker, is Britain's least vibrant shopping district, according to new rankings

Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the least attractive location to open a shop, according to a list ranking Britain's retail centres.

Property advisors, Harper Dennis Hobbs judged 1,000 shopping districts on how well the store mix suited local needs.

They also looked at vacancy rates and the numbers of "undesirable" shops such as pawnbrokers or betting shops.

Cambridge moved up this year's rankings and was rated the UK's most vibrant retail centre.

"Cambridge has seen more and more retailers move in and it's very much on the radar. It's on the Chinese tourist bus scene. There's a demand for luxury retail there," said Jonathan De Mello head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

"It's on the hit list now for many retailers."

Two London locations, Westfield and Knightsbridge were ranked in second and third place; with 17 of the top 50 most vital centres located in the capital.


Britain's top 10 retail locations:

  • Cambridge
  • Westfield, London
  • Knightsbridge
  • Chelsea
  • Bluewater
  • Wimbledon Village
  • Richmond
  • Canary Wharf
  • Marlborough
  • Bath

Harper Dennis Hobbs last published their "vitality" rankings in 2014 when Westfield, London topped the list and Dudley, West Midlands was ranked bottom.

The firm said in recent years quality brands had gravitated towards a few very strong shopping districts, because the internet meant they could trade from fewer locations. Many of the bottom 50 ranked centres represented Britain's poorest areas, the firm said.

"There's definitely a geographical divide. The most vital centres are all in a ring around the London area apart from a few exceptions like Harrogate," said Mr De Mello.

"The least vital are principally in the north-west, north-east and Scotland. We've seen some strong declines in those centres for wider macro-economic reasons."

Image copyright Harper Dennis Hobbs
Image caption In 2014 Dudley came bottom of the rankings, which only looked at 500 locations, this year they are at 416 out of 1,000

Across the whole country there had been a 2.7% increase in the proportion of "value" stores , including charity shops, in the past five years, Harper Dennis Hobbs said.

There was a 1.6% increase in the proportion of "undesirable" shops, which they defined as encouraging debt or addiction, including betting shops, pawnbrokers, pay-day loan shops, e-cigarette shops and bingo halls.


Britain's bottom 10 retail locations:

  • Shields Road, Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Harrow Road, Paddington, London
  • Stretford, Greater Manchester
  • Tonypandy, Wales
  • Walton Road, Liverpool
  • Burnt Oak, north London
  • Gateshead
  • Kirkby, Merseyside
  • Selly Oak, Birmingham
  • Shettleston Road, Glasgow

In the least vibrant retail location, Shields Road in Byker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, almost a fifth of retail floor space is vacant and the High Street is dominated by betting shops and money lenders, according to Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Harper Dennis Hobbs has expanded the rankings this year to include smaller town centres with a minimum of 40 shops.

The firm suggests that the locations with highest scores, whether they are large city centres or small town high streets, are places brands might choose to target when considering opening new branches.

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