The bookies' invasion of the high street

Stat of the day: 8,000. The number of betting shops currently operating on UK high streets.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

As independent businesses fold in their thousands, bookmakers, pay day loans companies and pound shops are dominating the UK high street.

The number of vacant shops on UK high streets has tripled to over 48,000 with 14 stores closing every day last year. But, proving that there’s always opportunity in adversity, pay day loans companies, cash for gold firms, bookies and pound shops are gradually filling these empty premises, negotiating cut-price rents and securing a foothold on some of the UK prime retail locations.

The last count by the Local Data Company reckons that there are around 25% more of these stores than there were in 2008. There are now 13.4% more betting shops, with almost 8,000 bookies operating on British high streets. And for every two building societies, there is now one payday loan outlet, with 23% more credit unions, including The Money Shop, National Cash Advance and Everyday Loans, launching in four years. Pawnbrokers are also doing a roaring trade. Nearly 250 more stores have opened their doors since 2008.

And where are these recession-busting businesses, capitalising in on the cash-strapped consumer, focussing their high street assault? At last count, 29% of payday loan companies are now located in Greater London, while 18% of all discount stores and 17% of pawnbrokers are based in the North West.

Perhaps it makes sense that citizens of the Capital are more likely to live outside their means. But is there really more gold in Lancashire? 

Picture: BigStockPhoto

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