The new British high street: bookies, brokers and pound shops
Filed under: Shopping & Deals
New research claims there has been a 25% rise in these shops since 2008, at the start of the financial crisis. Bookies now number close to 8,000 - nearly as many as chemists.
Need to know: Savings
The areas most blighted by betting shops, pawnbrokers and the like include Greater London, the South East and the North West, claims the Local Data Company.
However when AOL Money called the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) for comment, the ABB claimed that the number of shops were not increasing. "The number of the shops has been steady for some years," said press spokesperson Peter Craske, suggesting more operators were simply moving into inner city areas.
"It's down to customer demand. If a shop opens it will spend an average of £250,000 to refurbish a shop. It will employ local people to do that work. It's one of the few areas that is seeing expansion. The alternative is to have closed empty shops."
Pound store surgeEarlier this year a survey of local council officers claimed more inner city betting outlets - not to mention strip clubs in some areas - was stifling the local economy. The Local Government Association (the LGA represents councils in England and Wales) is looking for new powers to limit clustering of such shops in local areas.
And it is the clustering that is key here. The increased emphasis in betting shop numbers in inner city areas in particular gives the impression that such shops are on the up.
There's no disputing the rise in pound shops. By the end of 2009 there were around 750 pound stores across the UK. This number exploded to more than 3,000 stores towards the end of 2011, according to the Local Data Company. Some are introducing their own label products and even moving into frozen goods.
They're also giving many supermarkets pause. There is a growing suspicion by the public that some supermarkets don't offer the value for money often claimed. And with Tesco's numbers this morning announcing another quarter of falling sales, supermarkets may need to start regarding pound shops as real competitors for consumer spending power.