The Internet has changed the nature of the way we shop. More and more of us are shopping online instead of in "bricks and mortar" stores. In the United Kingdom, this is having dire consequences for the traditional high-street store. A respected business leader has released a report containing grim statistics on the future of U.K. retailing. CEO Bill Grimsey warns that 47 per cent of Britain's chain stores are "horribly stressed financially". This amounts to some 20,000 stores. He predicts a quarter of these will be out of business within the next three years. Mr Grimsey has also said that the continual demise of traditional shopping streets has led to what he termed as "ugly" town centres.
Mr Grimsey provided a range of reasons for the degeneration of Britain's downtown areas. Over 40,000 of Britain's shops are empty; roughly eleven per cent of all retail space. Grimsey said many stores have not sufficiently risen to meet the challenge posed by the Internet. He said that rather than looking to the future, and at innovative ideas to lure customers back, many stores are still stuck in the past. In particular, he said companies were too "nostalgic". Another reason is that multinational companies are draining local areas of money. He said: "It is not difficult to keep local money within the local economy, but it doesn't work if…we are listening too much to big firms."