Retail sector picks up, fewer high street shops are vacant

Clothes shops have been hard hit. Photo:

The number of empty shops on Dutch high streets and in shopping centres fell slightly to 6% last year and is back at the 2011 level, according to figures from real estate research group Locatus.

The decline is partly down to the number of shops being repurposed for other uses, such as housing, Locatus said.

In addition, in some retail sectors so many shops have disappeared because of the shift to online shopping that there is now space for new outlets. There has, for example, been an increase in shops focusing on jewelry, kitchen equipment and toys, NOS reported.

In 2004, the Netherlands had 1,100 toy shops but their number fell to 600 during the online retail boom, Locatus director Gertjan Slob told NOS.

‘But now there has been a slight increase in the number of toy shops,’ he said. ‘In time there will be a balance between online and old-fashioned physical shops, and bricks and mortar outlets will do better.’

In total, some 12,722 shops were empty at the start of 2023, with most located in medium sized cities.

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