H&M: online shopping hurts high street

Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Online shopping has been blamed for pressure on the High Street in the week that big name H&M said it was pulling out of Blackpool.

The Houndshill store is to close on Sunday with the loss of around 15 jobs.

It is being seen as a big blow to the resort’s retail offer and comes as a new report from accountants EY highlights increasing difficulties for retailers.

H&M staff members said they believed the move came after rents were recently put up at the Houndshill, but no-one from the centre or H&M would comment.

Michael Williams (pictured), from Blackpool’s Business Improvement District group, said said: “There are a number of reasons affecting retailers and these are not exclusive to Blackpool.

“There has been a noticeable change in shopper’s habits and the growth and ease of ordering on line has been one the main contributory factors that has resulted in a decline on the high street.

“It is always sad to see any retailer closing their doors and the subsequent impact this has on their staff.”

EY’s latest report said retail profit warnings across the UK hit a seven-year high with more big names than ever warning over trade and the North West the third hardest hit of the regions.

Sam Woodward, from EY, said: “Cyclical and structural pressures are once again colliding to reshape the UK’s high street. There is still growth especially abroad, however, 2018 is unquestionably a less benign year for many companies exposed to the UK consumer economy.”