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Indie openings slow in the first half of 2012

The number of indies opening in the UK appears to have slowed in the first half of 2012 compared to the full year of 2011, according to the Local Data Company.

In the first half of this year, 8,181 independents opened and 7,329 closed, a net increase of 852 stores.  

However, 2011 saw total net openings of 2,564 - a rate of +2.4%. This compares with 0.8% in the first half of 2012.

The LDC said it could not strip out figures for the first half of the year. However based on the data available, indications are that openings have slowed.

Fashion independents have been one of the worst hit by closures during the first half of this year with 110 units closing, a net decrease of 3.8%.

“This latest report on the independent retail and leisure sectors shows a major slowdown in the positive growth we saw at the end of 2011, which if continued will see a return to the negative position of 2009,” said Matthew Hopkinson, chief executive of the Local Data Company.

However he stressed that the overall figure was “still positive”, noting a slight increase in the proportion of indie retailers on the high street, to 67%, since the start of they ear.

Deputy chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), Michael Weedon, added: “The good news for all of us remains that independents are still saving the high street by opening shops. [But] the bad news is that the rate of gain is falling - towns cannot rely on independents to boost their occupancy rates forever.”

Fact box - key figures from LDC

Scotland and the West Midlands showed the greatest increase of independents up by 2.3% and 1.2% respectively.

The North East has shown the greatest decline in independents having fallen -1.35% versus +2.23% in 2011.

Barnes in London has the highest percentage of independents at 97% while conversely Telford in Shropshire has the lowest percentage at 23%.


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