Insights Hub

A year on the high street: 2022
Date published: Date modified: 2022-12-13

As another eventful year draws to a close, we review some of the biggest retail, leisure and property news stories of 2022, including our own insights on key trends and events across the market.


  • Plan B restrictions come to an end in England, meaning that face masks and COVID-19 passes are no longer required.

  • The latest Barclaycard data suggests that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has significantly impacted the hospitality sector, with declines in hotel occupancy and restaurant spend over December 2021.


  • The latest BRC-LDC Vacancy Monitor shows a decline in high street vacancy for the first time since 2018.  

  • As Westminster Council dedicates £190m for a support fund to help the West End recover from the pandemic, the Mayor of London announces further investment into the ‘Let’s Do London’ initiative. It is hoped that these initiatives will help to attract tourists back into the city.


  • John Lewis announces the removal of its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge, as online shopping continues to prove popular.

  • The lease forfeiture moratorium for commercial businesses expires, to be replaced by the Commercial Rent (Coronavirus) Act 2022. A legally-binding arbitration process will be available for commercial tenants and landlords who have not yet come to an agreement.


  • The LDC Group acquires Edge Analytics.  

  • Hit by supply chain issues and transport costs, furniture retailer Sofa Workshop enters administration.

  • Under the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, landlords will have to let out shops that have been empty for over six months. Local authorities will be able to force landlords to rent out commercial property through a Compulsory Rental Auction.


  • Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the Elizabeth Line.

  • Morrisons agrees to buy convenience store chain McColl’s out of administration, saving over 1,000 sites.

  • Shaftesbury and Capco confirm that they are in talks over a merger which would create a combined portfolio of 2.9million sq. ft. of lettable space across Soho, Covent Garden, Carnaby Street and Chinatown.


  • Platinum Jubilee celebrations take place across the UK. Over the long weekend, Barclaycard reports that consumer spending in restaurants rose 41.5%.


Read now: Commercial property trends in review, H1 2022


  • Widespread travel disruptions as staff shortages at airports and rail strikes affect domestic and international journeys.



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Read now: In and out of a pandemic: the GB leisure industry, 2019-2022

  • The latest Altus Group research reveals that the number of pubs in England and Wales has reached a record low, facing soaring energy costs, inflationary pressures and tax rises.


  • Inflation rises again, to its highest level since February 1982, jumping from 9.4% to 10.1% as food and energy costs climb. 


  • The emergency mini-Budget is delivered. Among the announcements are: a six-month freeze in wholesale gas and electricity prices for businesses; a reversal of the NI increase and the biggest tax cuts in the UK since 1972. In response to the latter, the Pound falls sharply, losing 3% against the US dollar. Tax cuts are later reversed.

  • The Local Data Company publishes its highly-anticipated H1 2022 report, showing signs of recovery in the market ahead of a tough winter. The latest analysis is launched at LDC's first in-person Retail & Leisure Trends Summit since the pandemic, hosted in London in conjunction with NatWest.

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Read now: Profitability, people and the planet: a roundup of LDC's 26th Retail & Leisure Trends Summit


  • The reopening of the Battersea Power Station shopping scheme attracts over a quarter of a million people on its first weekend.

  • The government announces that it will consult on the return of VAT-free shopping for international tourists after the former scheme was scrapped in January 2021.

  • Springboard data reveals that retail footfall across the UK has fallen for the third month in a row, driven by the cost-of-living crisis and continued home working.


  • The Autumn Statement announcement includes an extension to business rates relief for another year, increasing from 50% up to 75% at up to £110,000 per business.

  • Clothing retailer Joules prepares to enter administration.


Read now: The impact of home working on city centres


  • Joules is bought out of administration by Next.

  • Scottish clothing retailer M&Co enters administration.

The outlook for the market in the near future is less than rosy, although, after the COVID-driven shake-up, the market is arguably in a stronger position to weather the effects of the cost-of-living crisis. In this post-pandemic climate, we have all learned to expect the unexpected. How will these latest headwinds intersect with the drives for sustainability and innovation in retail as we enter a new year? 

A Week on the High Street will return in 2023. 

Sarah Abu-Amero, LDC Marketing Executive

Sarah Abu-Amero, LDC Marketing Executive The Local Data Company 901 901

Sarah joined LDC in 2021, having previously worked as a copywriter and social media manager. She supports the team with digital and written communication, planning and creating content for the company’s website and social accounts.

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