The devastating price of Covid lockdowns: Spectre of ghost shopping malls haunts Britain

Shopping centres across the country are turning into ‘ghost malls’ as a record number of stores shuts down.

The loss of household names like Debenhams, plus closures by big names like Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, has left a hole in many centres.

The situation is so bad that up to 70 shopping centres face demolition or being repurposed as offices, entertainment venues and housing.

Shopping centres across the country are turning into 'ghost malls' as a record number of stores shuts down. Pictured: Riverside Mall in Shrewsbury

Shopping centres across the country are turning into 'ghost malls' as a record number of stores shuts down. Pictured: Riverside Mall in Shrewsbury

Shopping centres across the country are turning into ‘ghost malls’ as a record number of stores shuts down. Pictured: Riverside Mall in Shrewsbury

On average one in five shops in shopping centres is closed, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Local Data Company (LDC) has found. 

The LDC says at least 30 shopping centres in the UK are at least half empty, including five with more than 80 per cent of shops vacant.

Centres already set for redevelopment include Stockton’s Castlegate, the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury and the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe. 

Centres already set for redevelopment include Stockton's Castlegate (pictured), the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury and the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe

Centres already set for redevelopment include Stockton's Castlegate (pictured), the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury and the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe

Centres already set for redevelopment include Stockton’s Castlegate (pictured), the Riverside centre in Shrewsbury and the Chilterns centre in High Wycombe

The situation is so bad that up to 70 shopping centres face demolition or being repurposed as offices, entertainment venues and housing. Pictured: Chilterns centre in High Wycombe is set for redevelopment

The situation is so bad that up to 70 shopping centres face demolition or being repurposed as offices, entertainment venues and housing. Pictured: Chilterns centre in High Wycombe is set for redevelopment

The situation is so bad that up to 70 shopping centres face demolition or being repurposed as offices, entertainment venues and housing. Pictured: Chilterns centre in High Wycombe is set for redevelopment

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: ‘It comes as no surprise that the number of shuttered stores continues to rise after retailers have been in and out of lockdown for more than a year.

‘The regional contrast is stark – the south of England has seen lower vacancy rates, while the North, where disposable income is lower, continues to have a higher proportion of closed shops.’

The Daily Mail’s long-running Save Our High Streets campaign calls for a level playing field between traditional shops and their newer online rivals.

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