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Revealed: UK’s best and worst high streets

Buchanan shopping street in Glasgow, UK. Photo: Getty
Buchanan shopping street in Glasgow, UK. Photo: Getty

The worst high street in the UK is in Girvan in Southwest Scotland, new data revealed. Six of the worst 10 are located in Wales, while three are in England.

This is according to retail real estate consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs’s vitality index which compares 1,000 of the country's high streets and publishes a ranking every two years.

It looks at factors such as shop vacancy rates and the proportion of “low-quality” shops such as pawnbrokers and bookmakers.

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Harper Hobbs published the 50 best locations earlier this year and now its shared a full list with iNews.

“Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s 'very weak retail offer' and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table,” said the publication.

Chart: inews
Chart: iNews

Baldwin Street in Bristol was the second-worst location, followed by Chepstow in Monmouthshire, Cardigan in Ceredigion, and Southsea in Portsmouth.

Meanwhile the best high streets in the UK are all in South East England: Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire came in first place, with Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire and Tenterden in Kent taking second and third positions. Wimbledon Village in southwest London came in fourth place.

Chart: inews
Chart: inews

“The retail health of high streets across Great Britain has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Harper CEO James Ebel.

“The pandemic’s impact means that the shopping destinations that would normally occupy the upper reaches of the list have fallen and have largely been replaced by more local retail centres in prosperous areas that provide convenience and essential product categories.”

Harper said retail locations found to be most vital included smaller, more accessible town centres situated close to large cities. These have maintained relatively strong footfalls due to consumers remaining close to their homes for large parts of 2020, with few trips into workplaces or on holiday.

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