Hard data can be very useful when discussing the prospects for failing centres to cut through some of the rose-tinted nostalgia. For example:
Britain has the most shopping space per capita in Europe, according to real-estate services adviser CBRE. The U.K. has 0.36 square meters of retail floor space for each resident, versus 0.21 sq. meters in Italy and 0.14 sq. meters in Germany. In the U.S., the figure is 2.3 sq. meters (see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-08/more-gloom-for-britain-s-shrinking-high-streets.html). Do we need all these shops especially given the rise of the internet and smart phones etc? If not, which shops do we protect and which do we allow to disappear?