Independents opened more units than they shut in the first half of the year, while the number of chain stores on the high street continued to decline.
According to The Local Data Company, the number of businesses opening and closing increased to 1,900 a week. Across the top 500 town centres there was a net growth of 424 independent shops, growing 0.4%, while multiple stores showed a net decline of 209 units.
Across more than 2,700 locations throughout the UK, independents grew by 879 units, while the number of multiples declined by 326.
However, women’s clothing shops, both multiples and independents, saw 146 net closures over the period.
In total, 23,637 retailers either opened or closed in the top 500 towns, a significant increase in business instability compared with the first half of 2012, which saw 21,803, and 2011, when it was 17,308.
Across the whole of the country there were 48,693 shops opening or closing.
Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, said: “With nearly 50,000 businesses having opened or closed in the first half of the year it is clear there are significant changes taking place.
“At the top level it is positive news with positive growth but more detailed investigation shows it is the independents (SMEs) that are positive while the multiples have declined.”