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The Observer: "Where have all Britain’s shoppers gone?"

"Incomes may have risen, but we’re not splashing cash on the high street – and it's not just because of Brexit"

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"Shopping is the national pastime. High streets, malls and retail parks have long been places people went for a day out, rather than on a mission to buy a particular item, and their spending helped lift the country out of recession. But a big drop in footfall – the number of people visiting high street and retail centres – over the past year has exposed fresh cracks in the high street, leaving retail chiefs wondering where all their customers have gone.

"Analysts are reporting declines in the number of shopper visits to high streets and shopping centres around the country of as much as 10% in some cities over the past year. Worries about the economic outlook, coupled with the rise of internet shopping, jitters about the EU referendum and more spending on eating out and leisure leave little cash left over for splurging in the shops.

" 'There is a lot of nervousness around [among retailers],' says Tim Denison, retail analyst at Ipsos Retail Performance. 'People have had more disposable income but retailers have not been as successful as they could have been in taking their share. Instead any spare money has gone on leisure and holidays rather than pure retail spend'."

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