Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | If you want to see the future of storefront retailing, walk nine blocks along Broadway in New York city, USA, from 57th to 48th Street and count the stores.
The total number comes to precisely one — a tiny shop to buy drones. That’s right: On a nine-block stretch of what’s arguably the world’s most famous avenue, lies a shopping wasteland.
Yes, there are bank branches, restaurants, fast-food outlets, theaters, but mainly it is empty spaces covered with signs touting `Superb corner retail opportunity’.
The same crisis blights the rest of Manhattan. Surveys claim that Manhattan’s overall vacancy is only just 10 percent. Why? Apparently shopping from home or on a smartphone is a lot easier than shopping in a store.
At this rate, we face a future where streets will be mostly dark at sidewalk level for miles on end.