In the 1970s and 1980s if you wanted new shoes you might have gone to Clarks in your local town, founded in 1825 and purveyor of a wide selection of sensible, good quality, reasonably priced shoes for all sorts of feet. In the 1970s and 1980s if you were a retailer who wanted a lease of a shop on the high street you didn’t get such a wide choice – it was more of a ‘one size fits all’ approach – a term of at least 20 years, no options to break, upwards only rent reviews and terms mostly favouring the landlord.
In the 21st century times have moved on for retailers in high streets and commercial property leases. Clarks have re-invented themselves as purveyors of good quality, well priced but desirable shoes, high streets face competition from internet retailers unimaginable in 1980 and leases have gradually become shorter and fairer.
But times on the high street continue to change.
A host of retailers both large or small have gone out of business leaving empty shops, some of which have been filled with other retailers and many with alternative uses such as cafes and nail bars. Pop-up shops appear and disappear periodically bringing seasonal variety but are only short term solutions. Even in prosperous towns there are still empty shops and large units in particular, for example those formerly occupied by BHS, are still deserted – too big and expensive to fill.