What The Closure Of UK Malls & Main Street Retailers Means For Online

The UK has seen the closure of three high-profile, traditional retail brands in the last fortnight, following on from a dismal 2012 and an increased downturn for the sector since 2009.

The recent closures had legacy presence in bricks and mortar on the UK high street (AKA: the UK’s Main Street or Mall retail profile) in common: HMV, Blockbuster UK, and Jessops. All had been considered institutions in UK retailing.

Since 2008, the list of once-stalwart bastions of the high street entering administration has been relentless:

  • Base, the fashion retailer
  • Toyzone
  • Sleep Depot
  • MK One (twice!)
  • Miss Sixty
  • MFI (furniture and fitted kitchens)
  • Woolworths, the department store institution
  • The Pier
  • Officers Club (both high street fashion)
  • Zavvi (formerly Virgin Megastores, of course)
  • USC
  • Land of Leather
  • Threshers & Wine Rack
  • Comet, the electrical goods retailer which also incorporates Dixons
  • JJB Sports
  • Clinton Cards
  • Game
  • Blacks Leisure (outdoor equipment and clothing)
  • Habitat
  • Focus DIY

There are many, many more, including brands which are smaller businesses but no less important to the health of the high street in the UK.

As a result, currently one-fifth of all retail property in the UK is empty. This has had a predictably chilling effect on the sector, and highlights the opportunities currently being grasped by online retailers and traditional brands which have embraced the Internet and changing consumer habits, notably John Lewis and Asos & Next, as noted in the linked Financial Times article.

Mobile Shopping & Online Channels Propelling Growth

Given the UK population is the world’s most committed online shopper, and is also much more saturated in browsing and buying online via mobile and tablets, the UK’s high street woes are portents of similar brand shifts in other countries worldwide.

That is not to say, or course, that such seismic shifts are not already occurring (with their own winners and losers), but that much greater shifts should be expected in all territories where broadband and mobile saturation is increasing dramatically (as in South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, for example).

High Speed Broadband Connections Globally via Akamai

High speed broadband connections precipitate increased mobile smartphone & tablet retail online.

Where we see traditional retail dissonance brought on from online purchasing behaviours, the savvy search marketer should see opportunity in new markets for their brands’ (or clients’) ability to distribute multinationally and project a strong brand presence online to reach new territories.

So, here’s to a strong 2013 for new, ambitious and forward-thinking multinational brands with tablet and smartphone conversion strategies.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Multinational Search


About The Author: has over twelve years web development experience & is the founder of QueryClick Search Marketing, a UK agency specialising in SEO, PPC and Conversion Rate Optimisation strategies that deliver industry-leading ROI.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide