Kingston upon Thames ranked best large town for retail nationally

By Oliver Monk

22nd May 2024 | Local News

Kingston has the best retail performance of any large town in the UK according to the 2024 Newmark Vitality Rankings. (Photo: Oliver Monk)
Kingston has the best retail performance of any large town in the UK according to the 2024 Newmark Vitality Rankings. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

Kingston has been ranked as the best retail centre among large towns nationally in the 2024 Newmark Vitality Rankings.

The town also reached fifth place among retail centres of all types, including small towns, shopping centres, neighbourhoods, and more; Kingston came third in the Greater London rankings.

Newmark Vitality Rankings is an annual assessment of retail centres across the UK, using variables like average shopper spend, vacancy rates, bank branch closures and consumer affluence to determine the location's retail performance.

The accompanying report describes Kingston as a "stand out" for its improvement from 15th place last year. Kingston was ranked 20th in 2019, displaying excellent recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

"[Chester, Cobham, and Kingston] are thriving, largely due to local customers who are less impacted by cost-of-living increases, in contrast to other regions," comments the report.

A number of nearby retail centres also feature in the report, including:

  • Cobham – 2nd
  • Wimbledon Village – 3rd
  • Kingston upon Thames – 5th
  • Knightsbridge – 6th
  • Chelsea – 10th
  • Chiswick – 21st
  • Kensington – 29th
  • Westfield London (Shepherd's Bush) – 42nd
  • Richmond – 48th
  • East Sheen – 55th
  • Clapham Junction – 57th
  • Ealing Broadway – 64th
  • Fulham Road – 70th
  • Wimbledon – 74th
  • Fulham - High Street – 81st
  • Barnes – 89th
  • Weybridge – 93rd

Simon Carson, Head of Leisure, Food & Beverage at Newmark, said: "Catering and leisure activities have played a crucial role in revitalising city and town centres, offering unique experiences that draw people to local destinations. 

"These services, which cannot be replicated online, will counterbalance any reduced foot traffic caused by the rise in hybrid working."

Kingston Riverside is occupied exclusively by restaurants, bars, and similar venues that 'cannot be replicated online'. (Photo: Oliver Monk)

However, he also described a rise in global brands capitalising on vacant retail units in the wake of the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, which proved especially devastating to independent businesses like those found in Kingston as they lack the cash reserves to weather such market shocks.

The Office of National Statistics say 4,695 shops closed in 2023, representing a net loss nationally.

Kingston is no exception, with the closure of Wilko marking a major loss for the town centre. 

Newmark's Head of Consultancy & Analytics Andy Metherell says: "These [larger] closures can leave major gaps in retail centres, and have the biggest impact on the smaller locations where a popular brand will have occupied a relatively large and prominent unit."

However the greater number and variety of stores in larger retail centres like Kingston offer a degree of resilience to these losses.

     

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