Shopping: End of the High Street? - Tonight

Shopping: End of the High Street? is on ITV Thursday 23rd August at 7:30pm Credit: ITV/Tonight

The online shopping boom said to be laying waste to our High Streets and retail centres.

But are the online giants worthy of blame?

Retail expert Kate Hardcastle visited Burslem - dubbed the empty shop capital of Britain after a recent survey - to speak to a community group that’s trying to breathe new life into the town.

74-year-old June Cartwright, founder of Our Burslem, tells her:

This High Street has been brought to its knees by the decline of the pottery industry for which it was once renowned and by out-of-town shopping centres and supermarkets mainly boasting free parking.

June dreams of a local Wednesday market and limited free parking to revive the fortunes of the town centre. She awaits a decision from the council on her market idea.

But why fight for our High Streets? And what do we lose if some of our High Streets disappear forever?

Professor of Retail Enterprise Cathy Parker fears we’ll lose a lot.

And some experts believe the likes of Amazon are helping Britain’s shoppers by weeding out under-performers.

Retail analyst Natalie Berg, who has written a book about Amazon, says:

Online provides an obvious alternative to department stores for shoppers, says Natalie.

People often call the decline of our High Street's the "amazon effect" Credit: ITV/Tonight

Perhaps this is where the biggest battle lies.

Reporter Kate Hardcastle visits Debenhams , which has been hit by three profit warnings this year alone. It’s spokesman complains of unfair competition.

Richard Cristofoli explains:

Debenhams is pinning its future on providing “destination” shopping - to you and me that’s a day out shopping, eating, then perhaps shopping again. Debenhams flagship store, in Stevenage, now boasts four eateries including a Nandos.

And entrepreneur Matt Grech-Smith, of agrees that shoppers want more than retail therapy nowadays.

His latest venture is a crazy golf course which takes advantage of the empty space that used to be the BHS Department Store on Oxford Street, London.

BHS Store turned crazy golf is one way to tackle the empty space retailers once housed Credit: ITV/Tonight

What is plain is that many famous High Street names are facing a squeeze, including of course House of Fraser, which has just gone bust before being rescued by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley.

And they may not be the last.

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