Kensington and Chelsea loses 151,000 sq ft of retail space as customers opt for online shopping

By Daniel Stephenson
October 18 2019, 15.25

Kensington and Chelsea lost 151,000 sq ft of retail floor space in the past year, ranking it 4th highest in England and Wales.

The results of law firm Boodle Hatfield’s research into the areas of the UK which have lost the highest amount of physical shop unit retail space were released earlier this month.

First on that list, losing a colossal 215,000 sq ft of its retail floor space was Reading, followed by Nuneaton and Bedworth in the Midlands, which lost 183,000 sq ft, followed by Kensington and Chelsea.

A spokesperson for Boodle Hatfield said: “The figures used only cover space that has been taken out of retail use entirely, for example converted to another use or demolished.

“The demand for housing versus demand for retail space has shifted in recent years, with online sales having impact. There is a possibility that some landlords may be choosing to redevelop retail sites as residential/mixed use.”

With the boom in online shopping sales in the last 5-10 years, the high street has greatly suffered.

Not only are consumers shopping less in physical shops, but the overall spend by the average consumer has fallen too.

It would seem that with physical retail sales decreasing due to online sales, the owners of the units are opting to completely redevelop buildings that have been shop units for many decades.

Many units are now being converted into residential properties, or properties that are part retail – part residential, to take advantage of the housing demand, which continues to grow exponentially.

RBKC council is undertaking a Revitalising Kensington High Street initiative, working with businesses and residents to help the High Street to survive and thrive in a changing world.

An event was held, in partnership with the Kensington Business Forum, earlier this year. 

The opportunity was given for attendees to view, contribute and comment on a number of ideas for revitalising the High Street, resulting in an economic development strategy being put in place along with the establishment of a business improvement district.

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