City centres will have more empty shops as coronavirus hits retail


The shop vacancy rate in city centres is likely to rise to 19% by early 2022 as coronavirus shakes up inner city areas, the government’s environmental assessment agency PBL says in a new report.

The PBL says the total number of vacant shops will rise by 40%, with Amsterdam facing an increase of 150%, taking the number of empty shops in the city centre to 15%. Groningen, Delft and Haarlem will also be hard hit, the report says. Currently, the city centre retail vacancy rate is slightly over 13%.

‘Weaker’ city centres such as Heerlen, Roosendaal and Roermond will suffer less damage because they have already been redeveloping vacant retail premises, and are less popular for destinations for what the Dutch call ‘fun shopping’.

The PBL also questioned the current strategy of converting redundant shops into homes, given that coronavirus has also reduced the popularity of inner city living.

Coronavirus has had a major impact on traditional high streets as people switch to online outlets for an increasingly wide range of goods and services.

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