The latest surveys are depressing. There are too many empty shops. It is part of the price of economic incompetence, part of the result of the huge boom and bust monetary policy created.
There are a couple of other trends going on as well. The advance of the internet means more items are bought online and less in shops. It is becoming more and more of battle to get into town centres and then to park, making more people opt to shop in out of town centres or on line.
Councils who feign concern should look to their own anti shopper policies. It is not easy shopping from a bus or train. The car is better, as you can put all the items in the boot and go more or less door to door. Too many Councils now run rip off parking regimes, charging too much and putting shoppers on edge for fear that their car will be impounded if they run over by a few minutes through delays at the tills. Some compound this by a stunning and expensive array of humps, bumps, chicanes, no through roads and other blocks on getting to the town in the first place. If Councils want more shoppers, they need to ease congestion and make it easier for shoppers in cars to get in. Councils usually make sure their senior employees can drive to work with reserved free car parking places.