Friday 31 July 2009

Empty Property Rates as an accelerator of High Street demise?

In April 2008 the government introduced a new rate on empty properties (to generate additional revenue streams in the downturn!!), thus providing the final nail in the coffin for stressed landlords of shops in the high street. (See regional picture in latest Property Week report)
Add to this the fact that the ongoing demise of the high street is part of a continuing out-of-town trend, with no going back to normal.
Meanwhile, the consumer-shopper re-entering the market is being confronted by increasing numbers of empty shops, a constant reminder of recession and the need for cutting-back.
This means that more landlords will go bust, effectively walking away from the vacant properties, leaving the government with little or no empty property tax receipts, and the additional burden of maintaining vacant property. They then have to find alternative uses for the property, possibly via reconversions to domestic use, for those unwilling or unable to shop out-of-town…

Either way, for suppliers in impulse and related top-up categories, this represents significant loss of High Street presence. A need therefore to cultivate and build upon what remains of your High Street customer-base, realistically. This means budgeting for say at least a 15% reduction on High Street sales of 2007, permanently ( unless you can anticipate a direct transfer of this business to tour out-of-town customers, or alternative channels…??)

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