News Article

Chester named one the UK's leading shopping locations

12 February 2021

Chester has been named as one of the UK's leading shopping locations in a study by strategic retail property consultancy, Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH).

The research ranks Chester as Britain's 20th best performing retail centre out of a list of 1,000 compiled, climbing 26 places compared to last year's rankings and making it the number one retail centre in the North West region.

Many city centre locations dominated the 2019 rankings, but have been replaced by more local shopping centres in prosperous areas that provide convenience and essential product categories, obviously influenced by the impact of COVID-19.

The research states: "The North West is the only region where a city centre location has been ranked the most vital retail centre in the region – Chester."

According to several factors, the HDH Vitality Ranking determines the health of high streets and shopping centres, including the change in residents’ movement, vacancy rates, and suitability to local consumers' demands.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, said: "Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain.

"This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

"The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores.

"Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations."

Dan Hildyard, head of UK retail at HDH, added: “More restricted consumer shopping habits have had an enormous impact on the relative success of high streets this year, with a shift to home working encouraging residents to reconnect with their local community.

"Affluence is a factor here, and some consumers are protected from job losses seen in other industries.

"While city centre destinations have suffered from travel restrictions and the absence of office workers, the fundamental strengths of these locations remain, and we expect them to bounce back over the course of this year in line with restrictions being eased.

"These centres are also leisure and culture hot spots, and many will be looking forward to returning when it is safe to do so.”

(via Chester Standard)