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UK Town Centres 2017-2022

UK Town Centres 2017-2022


The digitisation of services including banks, estate agents and travel agents has led to closures in town centres and consumers reducing the frequency of visits - impacting retailers. This trend is set to continue as consumers take advantage of convenient online services. Despite ongoing negative press and decline in spend forecast, the town centres market is set to rise by £5.3bn (4.9%) over the next five years, accounting for 30.5% of all retail spend. As the largest contributing channel, the town centres market is twice the size of the online channel, demonstrating that although the physical share of retail spend is declining, stores remain an essential function of the retail landscape.

The sector mix within town centres is shifting away from clothing & footwear as sales move online, and towards convenience goods, primarily driven by food & grocery as shoppers purchase little and often. Food & grocery will be the driving force behind market growth, as consumers choose to do their top up shops in convenient town centre locations and inflationary prices drive spends on the sector. Food & grocery will be the fastest-growing sector, with spend anticipated to rise 19.9%, accounting for 42.7% of town centres sales, up from 37.3% in 2017.

With food & grocery accounting for the highest proportion of town centre spend, it is not surprising that Tesco and Sainsbury's have the largest share of the market, set to further rise this year. Furthermore, Aldi and Lidl are two of the fastest-growing retailers in the town centres market, with rapid expansion fuelling their sales in the channel as well as benefiting from shoppers trading down following a squeeze on household budgets.

Marks & Spencer, Next, New Look and Debenhams have all reported disappointing sales this year, and although some of these retailers are attempting to capitalise on the shift from retail to leisure by repurposing retail space, this is likely to be implemented in larger stores in retail parks and supermalls, leaving town centre stores more outdated.

Although 97.3% of consumers have visited a town centre in the past 12 months, the overall preferred shopping channel is now online. Shoppers value convenience and variety in products and retailers, which can be easily found online but is often lacking in tertiary town centres. 77.2% of town centre visitors agree that they would visit more often if they had a wider choice of retailers and 73.0% say they would shop more at a town centre if it was a more appealing environment to shop in.

The report UK Town Centres 2017-2022, offers comprehensive insight and analysis of the market and sectors (including forecasts up to 2022), the major players, key trends and consumer attitudes. It provides in-depth analysis of the following: the hot issues impacting the market (over-spaced key retailers closing stores, rising operating costs threatening profitability, shifting retail mixes in town centres, closure and digitisation of services in town centres), strategies for success, sector sizes and forecasts, town centre case studies, retailer market shares and future outlook as well as consumer data.

Companies mentioned in this report: ABC Cinema, Aldi, Amazon, Arcadia, Argos, ARKET, ASDA, B&M, B&Q, Beales, BHS, Blacks, Boots, Card Factory, CathKidston, CeX , Clarks, Clintons, Currys PC World, Debenhams, Disney store, Ernest Jones, Everyman, Fenwick, GAME, Gino D’Acampo, H&M, H.Samuel, HMV, Hobbs, Holland & Barrett, Home Bargains, House of Fraser, Iceland, IKEA, intu, Jack Wills, Jacques Vert, JD Sports, John Lewis,Joules, Lidl, Lloyds, Pharmacy, Lush MAC, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, New Look, Next, O2, Oliver Bonas, Pandora, Paperchase, Patisserie Valerie, Poundland, Poundworld, Primark, River Island, Russell & Bromley, Ryman, Sainsbury’s, Savers, Screwfix, Shoe Zone, Smashbox, Smyths Toys, Sports Direct, Superdrug, Superdry, Swarovski, T2, Ted Baker, Tesco, The Body Shop, The Co-op, The Entertainer, The White Company, The Works, Timpson’s, TK Maxx, Topshop, Toys R Us, Waitrose, Warren James, Waterstones, WH Smith, White Stuff, Wilko.


  • Though the town centres channel is forecast to grow by 4.9% over the next five years, the rate of growth will be lower than growth in total physical retail, as spend in retail parks and supermalls continues to rise at a faster pace.
  • As shoppers choose to shop at more appealing physical locations such as supermalls and the online channel continues to satisfy shoppers’ rising expectations for product choice, experience and convenience, non-food spend will continue to decline in town centres with clothing & footwear share of the channel forecast to fall by 2.8 percentage points by 2022.
  • Food & grocery and health & beauty will experience the fastest growth in town centres, growing by 19.9% and 16.6% respectively, with the former being driven by growth in convenience and rising inflation, and the latter being driven by the overall growth in the health & beauty sector - it is set to be the fastest-growing retail sector out to 2022.
Reasons to buy
  • Utilise our market sizing and forecasts for the key sectors in the town centres market to understand the impact of the growth of food & grocery in town centres and decline of non-food sales out to 2022.
  • Understand the opportunities in the town centres channel through our analysis of key issues in the market as well as the drivers which are aiding growth, such as landlords’ provision of lower or zero rents to avoid unoccupied units and growth in the number of independent stores and services creating diversity in town centres and helping to drive footfall.
  • Identify which retailers are growing their presence in town centres and what they are doing to drive share in order to identify what this means for your brand and how you will be impacted.
  • Use our consumer data to understand who is shopping in town centres, and those who shop frequently in the channel as well as the town centres shopper journey including sector profiles, use of leisure facilities and multichannel shopping habits.

The hot issues
What people buy
Where people shop
Who people shop with
How and why people shop

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