Norfolk’s best and worst shopping areas ranked in new UK league table

PUBLISHED: 11:17 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 29 March 2019

Where did Norwich rank  in terms of its shopping 'vitality index'? Pic: Archant

Where did Norwich rank in terms of its shopping 'vitality index'? Pic: Archant

How does Norwich or Thetford rank for ‘retail therapy’ compared with the rest of the UK? A new league table has some surprising results.

How did Thetford fare in the UK's league table of shopping destinations? Pic: Archant.How did Thetford fare in the UK's league table of shopping destinations? Pic: Archant.

Norwich is ranked 104th out of 1000 centres, dropping just two places in a ‘health check’ league table which looks at how many posh shops there are compared with ‘value’ stores as well as the high street ‘undesirable’ – pawnbrokers, money lenders and bookmakers.

Thetford was ranked by far the worst in the county, coming close to the bottom of the UK’s table, at 804th with Yarmouth 799th and Holt 138th.

In Suffolk, Ipswich fared badly, dropping 84 places to be 485th with Lowestoft even worse, at 793rd.

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The report by retail specialist Harper Dennis Hobbs showed East Anglia has almost 7% of vacant shops and almost 30% of ‘value’ shops as opposed to just over 3% of ‘upmarket’ shops.

Chris Sargisson, CEO of the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are at the forming, not the norming stage; the high street is changing as the consumer educates themselves on what they want and how they are going to acquire it. What this shows is retailers need to interact with their customers, it’s good to have a measure but it’s how we analyse it and implement the change.”

The retail ‘health check’ comes as Norwich’s high street recently suffered closures both in shops and restaurants such as gift and interiors store Quest, Jamie’s Italian, East 26 restaurant, and Berrys & Grey.

The league table of 1,000 of the largest retail centres across Britain declared Cambridge as the winner, moving up six places, with London unsurprisingly scooping second and third places with Westfield and Knightsbridge.

Jonathan De Mello, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs, said, “This ranking highlights the ‘healthiest’ retail centres in Britain, which successful brands should target when considering network expansion. Smaller centres are of increasing interest to retailers, given rents are often highest in the largest centres. So a small centre with a high vitality score – and the right shopper profile – could potentially yield strong profits.”

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