The future of Britain's high streets
Do you like shopping? For shopaholics in the UK, the place to head to used to be the ‘high street’. This location refers to the streets in the centre of a town where businesses and popular branches of retail chains could be found. It was the place where you could find familiar fashion brands and essential everyday items. But change in our shopping habits has taken its toll on the British high street.
News about shops losing money and shutting is now common. Some city-centre department stores have closed and even long-established retailers such as Marks and Spencer have reported profit slumps. According to the accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers and the Local Data Company, a record 2,481 shops disappeared from UK high streets last year - up by 40%. Even some large warehouse-style stores in out-of-town retail parks, have gone bust and shut up shop.
商店赔钱关门的消息现在比比皆是。一些市中心的百货商店已经关闭，就连玛莎百货(Marks and Spencer)等老牌零售商也报告利润下滑。根据普华永道会计师事务所和当地数据公司的数据，去年英国商业街上创下了2,481家商店倒闭的记录——这一比例上升了40%。甚至一些城外零售园区的大型仓储式商店也已经破产，关门大吉。
As the BBC’s Emma Simpson writes, things have become a lot harder for traditional retailers in recent years. They have faced rising costs from wages, business rates and the requirement to introduce Europe’s new data law. But the biggest threat has come from online shopping. She says “Consumers now spend one in every five pounds online - and if businesses are seeing 20% fewer sales on the shop floor, as well as their fixed costs rising, then profit margins will be squeezed.”
While some of us like to window shop – browsing for things to buy, only to purchase them online at a discount - the fact is that, overall, shoppers are making fewer visits to high streets. Eventually, town centres could become like ghost towns. If people aren’t out and about shopping, they won’t use other services, like cafes, restaurants and cinemas. It also results in job losses. The British Retail Consortium has already warned that 900,000 UK retail jobs could be lost by 2025. The high street has also suffered from the advent of big shopping malls, which offer a retail experience under one roof, with free parking, away from the bad weather!
虽然我们中的一些人喜欢逛商店——看好要买的东西，但只在网上打折时购买——但事实是，总的来说，越来越少的购物者会去商业街。最终，城镇中心可能变成鬼城。如果人们不出去购物，他们就不会使用咖啡馆、餐馆和电影院等其他服务。这会导致失业。英国零售协会(British Retail Consortium) 已经警告称，到2025年，英国可能会失去90万个零售工作岗位。由于大型购物中心的出现，商业街也受到了影响，这些购物中心带给顾客室内一站式的零售体验，还有免费停车场，可以让消费者远离恶劣的天气！
Meanwhile, back on the high street, some shops still exist. Analysts have said it’s those that have moved away from traditional retailing that are surviving. These include beauty salons, nail bars and independent coffee shops – but are these kinds of shops enough to keep the British high street open for business?
take its toll