BOLTON town centre bosses have welcomed research proving high street shops are outperforming retail parks.

Accountancy firm Deloitte has said shops in town and city centres across the UK are showing “great resilience”.

Evidence it presented suggested rather than taking shoppers away, the internet was pushing people back to shops with the growth of click-and-collect services.

The report has been compiled by Hugo Clarke, who said the high street had recovered better than expected from one of the biggest retail collapses in history in 2008.

And the report was welcomed by Keith Davies Bolton’s director of development and regeneration.

He said: “It bears out what we’ve been saying for years. There is a restructuring of the high street in retail terms which was always going to happen.

“The increase in independent traders and the localisation of the high street offer are what people are responding to, but it’s a long-term process.

“The stabilisation of the high street position is something we are seeing in Bolton, and it is very positive from the council’s point of view.

“We’ve put a lot of effort and resources into maintaining and improving the opportunities for the town centre and the future.

“With developments like the new cinema at the Market Place and new investors coming into the town centre, there has to be a positive outlook for Bolton.”

Mr Davies’ comments were echoed by Malcolm Angus, boss of Crompton Place shopping complex, in Bolton town centre.

He said: “Anything that is bringing customers into the town centre can only be beneficial.

“It shows that people are starting to realise that there is more benefit to shopping in one place than driving 15 or 20 miles out of town.”

Deloitte found that the average vacancy rate for the high street is 20 per cent, but it rose to 29 per cent for shopping centres and 37 per cent for retail parks.