High Streets dying – not in Nairn
Following on from a recent post about 15% of shops expected to be empty by the end of the year, the BBC continues to report on the issue by stating that 12,000 independent shops and nearly 7,000 branches of major chains have closed so far this year in England and Wales.
That’s a pretty high figure, and doesn’t even include Scotland.
And yet – I took a walk along the High Street in Nairn today and there’s no sign of doom as yet.
There were only two empty premises that I could see – and that includes the Sue Ryder shop, which is re-opening on August 7th after sorting out volunteer rotas.
The one remaining premise I can’t even find advertised as for sale or lease.
There are a couple of ticking timebombs, though – the old Woolworth’s building still does not have a long-term lease, and the new Lloyds Banking Group should be expected to close at least one of its branches in Nairn.
Even still, Nairn High Street is proving extremely resilient to closure so far, and as was recently reported, even a Sainsburys development is unlikely to cause significant damage to retail trade.
In fact, there is dire lack of commercial properties available in Nairn that I know some of the residential flats on the High Street are now being viewed as potential office space – not least because Somerfield currently owns 3 derelict buildings that multiple businesses are vying to set up in once returned to the Highland Council, and Balmakeith can only offer large manufacturing units.
It seems ironic that while the rest of the UK’s retail sector is suffering badly, Nairn seems to be thriving – at the very least, surviving.
Despite shoppers travelling out to existing retail developments around Inverness, Forres, and Elgin, it could well be that Nairn’s extremely limited retail space is actually working very much in its favour.
As the old business lesson points out, business runs on supply and demand – and at present, Nairn offers such a limited supply that even when demand is low, it seems enough to maintain a general well populated high street.