Have Your Say – What’s to blame for the decline of the high street?

House of Fraser has become the latest retailer to announce it’s closing down stores. Is the cause online shopping, steep business rates… or are we to blame?

So far, 2018 has been a terrible year for the high street.

Yesterday it emerged that department store House of Fraser is planning to close half its outlets, including its Oxford Street flagship, by 2019.

M&S will close 100 stores by 2022, with chairman Archie Norman saying that the “tide is running more strongly against us now than at any previous time”.

Mothercare is also culling 50 stores, Poundworld is in crisis and both Maplin and Toys R Us are closing permanently.

What or who is to blame for the high street’s troubles?

We’d like you to give us your views in the comments and we’ve run through some potential culprits…..

Online shopping

Everyones heard of Amazon – but what about clothing retailer Asos or online grocery delivery Ocado?

It’s not just electronics and books that can be cheaper and more convenient to buy online.

Asos’ profits increased 145% last year and it expects sales to grow by a quarter in 2018.

Business rates

Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis has argued that these charges played a “large part” in the collapse of retailers.

These taxes were revamped last year but Lewis says business rates still give online retailers the upper hand, as they operate just a few large out-of-town warehouses.


Are the rents that landlords charge simply too high. With the changes we are seeing on the High Street could it be time for landlords to revalue the rents in accordance with what people are actually experiencing.

People have less money to spend

Perhaps we’re simply to skint to spend?

The current freeze on real wages is the worst in 200 years according to the TUC, which argues that wages have lagged behind inflation since 2008. The fall in the value of the pound hasn’t helped.

Real wages did grow in the year to May…by a measly 0.4%.

We’re spending money on other things

It’s possible that shoppers are simply ditching the high street for a holiday.

Three-quarters of adults are putting money aside to pay for memorable experiences rather than material products, a Charter Savings Bank suggests.

While the ‘experiences’ trend is associated millennials, half of the over-55s say they’ve got ‘enough material goods to last a lifetime’, claims Charter Bank.

It’s retailers’ own fault

Let’s be honest: who enjoys going to the high street these days?

Once you’ve fought your way through the Chuggers (charity muggers), you’re presented with a row of chain retailers selling much of the same tat they did 20 years ago, in shops that look the same.

For many retailers the height of innovation these days seems to be the automated checkout machine – it’s no wonder they’re struggling.

What do you think?

Have your say in the comments below…..



  1. I could not believe the rents that House of Frazer were paying in London , 78 million pounds a year , that is 1 greedy landlord !!! They could of bought the building over an over
    Surely its better to have smaller rent an have the building occupied than lying empty …
    Same with business rates …no shops no rates getting paid !
    Tackle the likes of Amazon and get them to cough up much more !
    Otherwise we will have no shops to mooch round .


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