SKIPTON has once again featured in a list of the top 20 'healthiest' high streets and shopping centres in the UK.

The town has been placed eighth in the list of retail centre health rankings, according to strategic retail property consultancy Harper Dennis Hobbs, which has released its findings for the first time, midyear, and in time for the festive season.

Top of the list is Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, while Skipton comes after Sevenoaks, Kent, and is ahead of Reigate, in leafy Surrey, Ilkley, in 13th place, and 15th place Harrogate.

The rankings have been compiled from a list of 1,000 retail centres with the top 20 being dominated by smaller commuter towns which are still benefitting from a shift in shopping habits and the introduction of remote working.

Rankings are a result of the analysis of vacancy rates, resident movement, and suitability to local consumer demands.

Many of the UK’s larger retail centres, including large towns, city centres and regional shopping malls, have seen the health of traditional retail centres bounce back over the past eighteen months, following the impact of the pandemic in 2020.

The ranking’s top 20 is still dominated by smaller commuter towns that continue to benefit from a shift in shopping habits to local high streets, and many families relocating from larger cities due to the impact of remote working.

Andy Metherell, head of consultancy and analytics at HDH, and lead on compiling the vitality rankings, says the rankings are starting to reflect the mix of hybrid working and the return to normality following COVID-19 restrictions, he said;

“We are starting to see larger centres rise in the rankings as shoppers return to city centres and regional malls. But with hybrid working now such a common working model, small and affluent commuter towns are still benefitting from that change in behaviour. Therefore these areas continue to populate the top of the rankings.

“We have also seen seaside towns and other domestic tourist hotspots maintain their places in the top 50, with Brits visiting these locations over the summer. So, it’s no surprise that they’re doing well.

“We are beginning to see the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on spending levels and consumer confidence. We may not see the full impact of inflation, rising interest rates, rising energy bills and a squeeze on household income until Vitality Rankings 2023. This is expected to have an impact on all areas, but especially some of those that are less affluent.”