No-one likes a high street with empty stores. The ‘vacancy rate’, the percentage of shops that are empty, or not open for business, is a standard indicator of retail health.
In November 2018, Cowley Road had 12 retail vacancies.
CoHSAT used Google StreetView and street surveys to find that in July 2023 there were 11 vacancies – one improved over 2018. It hasn’t been an easy time for retailers anywhere, so this result is perhaps surprising.
National trends from retail analysts the Local Data Company (LDC) , show an increase in vacancies in all sectors. If Cowley Road had followed the national trend for High Streets, it would have had 4 more vacancies rather than one fewer.
It has clearly bucked the national trend and performed better than this.
Possible explanations for this above average performance are: (1) Regional variations, some retail analysts note that the south has generally done better than the north; (2) the dynamic nature of Cowley Road; (3) the local population density with 40,000 people within a mile; and (4) the recent improvement in walking and cycling access, as most shoppers arrive by foot or bicycle (a 2017 survey shows about 75%).