Retail stats suggest the rate at which shops are deserting the UK high street has slowed, as the new wave of charity shops, coffee chains and pawnbrokers open up to replace the holes where Woolworths and the rest once stood. But do you ever walk down your local high street any more?
The numbers compiled by PwC and the Local Data Company claim that the net number of shop closures across the UK fell to 209 in the first half of 2013, down from 953 in the same period of 2012. The reduction's fuelled by smaller, cheaper and quite possibly tattier shops moving in to the desolate high streets.
Unsurprisingly, it's the likes of charity shops, cheque cashing stalls, betting shops and coffee shops that are opening the most branches nowadays, as the big name brands move to the out-of-town parks and the likes of Tesco try to turn themselves into self-contained retail hamlets all of their own to further obliterate the need for a high street in our towns and villages.
Or do you secretly love this newly austere and broken UK high street? Pound shops are a great way of loading up on biscuits and AA batteries on the cheap, charity shops can save you a fortune on clothes and books if you're happy choosing from what's available rather than what you want, and if you can't afford to buy anything there are loads of pay-day loan branches to lend you £50 at a weekly APR of approximately 32,000 per cent.
We've never had it so good, right? [Retail Week]