It's a complex issue but I know from experience that when a town/city has good shops they are enjoyable places to shop and busy. My local town centre is dying partially killed by recent new developments which took the big stores like Boots, M&S etc off the High Street, however the county town Worcester (actually a small city) thrives with few empty shops. I can think of other places like that as well but also unexpected exceptions.
Originally Posted by benjiboy
I think when shops sell what people actually want they do well, LCE in Worcester sells new (digital) and secondhand (a good selection of analog & digital) at reasonable prices, there's always customers when I go in.
Away from photography (although they do sell frames) one gift shop always amazes me, it's small but has a good turnover because the stock is constantly changing, there plenty of items items in various prices bands.