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Norwich’s thriving retail scene beats decline of British high street

The high street has been in decline in the UK ever since the advent of the supermarket in the 1970s. Rather than make individual visits to butchers, grocers, bakers and more, consumers can get everything they need under one roof at the superstore.

Retail stepped in to fill the gap, with clothes shops, bookstores and others filling the high street. But these businesses have been lured away to out of town precincts and retail parks where large, purpose-built units offer lower rents and more space.

On top of all this was the additional pressure of online shopping, which offered lower prices and convenient delivery.

So, the death knell was sounded for the high street and the shopping experience. Except, it hasn’t quite worked out like that. At least, not in Norwich. In fact, research has shown that in Norwich the high street has held its own against the out of town shopping centres.

Numerous independent shops rub shoulders with large brand names and the city’s Business Improvement District (BID) has even laid out plans to bring in more shoppers over the next five years.

The city centre was ranked 13th in the UK by the Javelin Group’s Venuescore in 2017, which evaluates destinations by their provision of multiple retailers. Norwich’s vacancy rate remains low at just 4.9%.

The city’s high street has broad appeal for retailers. BID managing director Stefan Gurney said: ‘When businesses look to gain a national presence, Norwich is generally in the first tranche of openings they look to do. We work alongside partners to make sure we maintain that position.’

Adding: ‘We are keen to attract some of the higher-end national boutique stores that we have the demographic to support but are not presently in the city.’

The strong mix of retailers has allowed the city to maintain its steady footfall numbers over the last two decades, despite the challenges faced by physical shops in the current climate.

Norwich’s resilience against nationwide trends and apparent success in retail is echoed in the property market. The region’s markets have remained strong, with a unique mix of factors including good employment, prospering universities and natural appeal keeping investment rates high.

If you would like to know more about both commercial and residential property investment in the area, then get in touch with a member of the Agile team. We’re more than happy to talk to you about the opportunities on offer in the city.

To find out more about the local and national property market, or if you would like to chat about anything to do with property investment, give us a ring on Norwich 01603 567804 or send us a message.

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