Just 53% of UK retailers would not consider leaving the high street for cheaper out-of-town premises, according to a survey by cloud-based retail software provider Cybertill.

Following on from a recent Centre for Retail Research report, which warned that 20% of shops could close within five years, Cybertill surveyed over 640 retailers to gauge their views on operating from high street locations.

Companies from a range of sectors, including fashion, cycling, sports, charity, furniture, footwear, department stores and off-licenses, participated in the questionnaire. The survey highlighted that around one in five retailers would consider moving premises to out-of-town locations, but 28% were undecided.

There were a variety of reasons given for wanting to move to out-of-town locations, such as lower rents, free parking, better access for deliveries, more space and an environment that is better suited to multichannel retail. The main reason for not wanting to move to out-of-town locations was less passing trade.

Retailers were also asked about their investment plans for the future, with just under half of all retailers stating that they plan to invest in eCommerce over any other sales channel whereas just one in six retailers plan to invest in stores. The apparent growing importance of eCommerce and online was also reflected in the fact that 40% of respondents now sell on eBay, with more than one in five retailers selling on Amazon.

Ian Tomlinson, CEO of Cybertill, said: “The high street is struggling with many retailers complaining about excessive rent and rates. This survey clearly shows how retailers are focusing more online than ever before.

“Retailers will leave the high street in droves and relocate if it helps them deploy a more successful multichannel approach to retail where they can trade online, in-store and over the phone.”

www.cybertill.co.uk