15% fewer shops than a decade ago

The number of shops in Flanders and Brussels has fallen by 15% over the past 10 years. That’s according to figures from the research bureau Locatus that form the basis for an article in Saturday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’ there are currently 54,241 shops in Flanders and Brussels, 9,703 fewer than in 2009. 

The number of shops in the centre of cities, towns and villages have decreased the most, down 17% compared with a decade ago. This can in a part at least be explain by the act that some new retail companies have opened along busy main roads out of town.

The number of clothing stores and shops that sell electrical goods fell especially sharply. Over the past 10 years no fewer than 2,200 clothing stores have closed down for good.

However, in percentage terms the number of electrical retailers saw the sharpest fall. There are currently 35% fewer electrical retailers than there were in 2009.

A major reason for the all-in the number of shops is the rise of e-commerce. Web shops such as Bol.com, Zalando and Coolblue are popular among Flemings.  

With more and more of us making online purchases of clothing and electrical good we make fewer trips to the High Street. This has an adverse effect on other types of shop as they miss out on so-called passing trade.  

In addition to this, customers have become ever more price conscious. This is reflected in the growing popularity of discount stores such as Action, Lidl and Aldi.