Entertainment could be part of the solution for fast-draining UK department stores.
The UK has lost 83% of its department stores in the past five years, recently accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, but mainly by the rise of online retail.
A report published on the BBC news site is illustrated by new research on the sharp drop in department stores since 2016. A survey showed that the country still has 237 department stores to be taken over by a new business. In some parts of the world, notably the United States, large FECs have been developed in former department stores such as Sears.
The report cites Edinburgh’s former British Home Stores, which closed in 2016 and have been transformed with a number of separate businesses, a hotel, offices and a bowling center. Suggestions in the search include theaters, food courts, or other forms of entertainment.
Entertainment is one of the new roles for redundant stores that Bill Grimsey says could be a solution. He is a former boss of three large street chains who directed three reports on the future of city centers.
You can no longer rely on retail for your downtowns and high streets as your main attraction, because of technology, because of the Internet. You have to reinvent these places for something else because we are social animals and we need a place to gather and it won’t be just shops. He envisions a mix of health, education, entertainment, recreation, crafts and housing as the solution.