Over the next 5 years I am forecasting that online growth will add the equivalent of 10% to existing UK selling space. From its earliest days, online retail has been a cannibalistic channel, diverting spend that would otherwise have taken place in physical shops. As online has grown, we have seen space shutting for the first time, as some businesses could no longer make a living from reduced footfall. Not only has this further to go but I am predicting the next five years will see larger scale closures than the last. The last 5/6 years have see a number of mitigating factors that have masked the hit on space and they will not be repeated.
One of these mitigating factors has been the massive growth of value retailers. Their appetite for still more space will not go on for ever, at least not if they learn anything at all from the established businesses from whom they are so successfully capturing sales. They drove physical growth with little consideration of demand and it has made many of them very vulnerable. A rising tide of shop closurers is on the horizon.