Shopping numbers in Britain saw their largest November drop for a decade, since the financial crash between 2007-08 according to retailer research Springboard.
Footfall on high streets, shopping centres, and retail parks fell by 3.2 per cent after twelve months of consecutive decline.
A collection of British high street retailers have gone out of business or announced shop closures this year as they battle with the rise of growing online shopping competition, rising wages, higher property taxes and uncertainty over Brexit.
In the North East our very own House of Fraser in the Intu Metrocentre is set to close in the new year over higher property taxes and rent.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations for Sunderland BID said: “These are unprecedented times in the world of retail and Sunderland is certainly not the only high street in the country to be facing challenges at the moment. Consumers are changing when and how they shop, so the content of this report does not come as a massive surprise.”
It is thought particularly that the online deals available during Black Friday had a major impact on high street foot traffic.
Only a month ago however Sunderland was named the fifth most unhealthy high street in the country with other North East towns performing better: Middlesbrough and Newcastle placing 18th and 43rd respectively.
High Street West showcases everything hopeful in Sunderland’s retail future and everything that isn’t.
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Keel Square has gone through a period of renovation with the opening of new restaurants and bars, however, as you stroll down the high street the picture becomes bleaker with a collection of derelict shops so it’s no wonder footfall has fallen if this is the retail landscape of our high streets.
Councillor Stuart Porthouse at Sunderland City Council, added: “The council continues to invest in our city’s infrastructure and improve the investment climate to help create jobs and attract new business and jobs. We all want to see a cleaner, greener, and healthier city, and the council and its partners do their utmost to achieve this.”
Springboard is forecasting that footfall will continue to decline in December.
So forget online, take yourself down to your high street and support locally.