More shops will be left vacant, ING economists warn

Typical architecture in Amsterdam, Netherlands

There will be more empty shops on the Netherlands’ high streets in the coming years because retailers and government are failing to tackle the underlying problems, ING economists say on Friday in a new report.

‘Tough decisions need to be made and the will to take them is sometimes lacking,’ economist Dirk Mulder told news agency ANP. While a brake has been put on new developments, not enough has been done to deal with existing stock, the ING report states.

The Netherlands has 1.8 square metres of shopping space per inhabitant, and that makes it one of the most retail dense countries in Europe, second only to Austria.

Some 9% of the country’s retail space is now empty and that is likely to hit double figures soon, ING says.

The impact of the bankruptcies of Macintosh, V&D and DA show how vulnerable the retail trade is, the analysts say.

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