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Cities Outlook 2022

Cities Outlook 2022 looks in-depth at the state of UK high streets to get a sense of the short-term impact of the pandemic on Britain's town and city centres and the long-term consequences and implications this has for the Government’s levelling up agenda.

Over the course of two turbulent years, the pandemic has cost some places nearly a years’ worth of high street sales.


The high street’s struggles existed long before the arrival of the pandemic. Over the past two decades household names such as Woolworths, Debenhams and Topshop have disappeared from our streets and more and more spending has shifted online, quietening the hustle and bustle of our town and city centres.

Covid-19 and successive lockdowns have forced shops, cafes, and pubs to close their doors and shoppers and office workers alike to trade time on the high street for time at home. Some predicted this would knock the final nail into the coffin of the Great British High Street.

But the fate of the high street is not so clear cut.

Some town and city centres appear to have weathered the storm of Covid-19 and now face the challenge of attracting people back to their high streets once it is safe to do so.

For other places, the challenge lies in addressing the underlying economics behind a lack of high street demand.

The Government’s upcoming Levelling Up White Paper should shed light on what the road to high street recovery will look like and how policy can help town and city centres to adapt to the changes brought on by Covid-19.

Read the report here Cities Outlook 2022 | Centre for Cities