Fife town named as one of UK’s worst retail destinations

A Fife town has been named as one of the UK’s worst retail locations according to a list scoring Britain’s best and worst retail centres.

Cowdenbeath has been ranked among the UK's worst for the retail experience. Picture: Google

Cowdenbeath joined a list of 1,000 retail centres, compiled by strategic retail property consultancy, Harper Dennis Hobbs (HDH).

The town was named among the worst 50 places in the UK, and in Scotland Only Renfrew and Annan were lower.

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Cowdenbeath was ranked 990th out of 1000 for shopping areas in the Uk.

The HDH 2019 Vitality Index determines the retail health of a shopping area based on the proportion of upmarket and discount stores, vacancy rates, as well as the number of less aspirational tenants, such as pawnbrokers, money lenders and bookmakers. The suitability to the local shopper is a key factor, meaning that the presence of low-end retailers is not necessarily a bad thing as long as the local area consists largely of residents that prioritise value for money.

Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs, said: “The Vitality Ranking is a unique approach to assessing retail centres. By scoring centres based upon a number of aspects that both retailers and shoppers think of when they consider a quality retail environment, HDH provide a different perspective to rankings based solely on size or total sales.

“The changing face of the high street means retailers need to be confident their investment is likely to pay off. Quality retailers don’t want to be surrounded by empty units, discount stores and betting shops, which are a clear indicator of deprivation in the area.

“While the big cities and most prominent shopping malls should absolutely be a key priority for any retailer trading in the UK, this research highlights the fact that small but flourishing towns and suburbs can be viable retail locations, particularly as rents are typically more affordable.”

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