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Number of indies grows as multiples fall

The number of independent stores recorded an eighth straight month of net growth in April, while multiples fell by 200 across the UK’s top 650 town centres, according to new figures.

The Local Data Company found that more shops opened than closed in April across the UK with 90 net stores, although it said that growth and activity levels are slowing. The retail vacancy rate held steady at 12%.

Service and leisure were the main areas of growth, the tracker showed.

“It takes some time for day-to-day consumer spending to affect shop numbers and the figures for cash spent within retail have been quite strong,” said  LDC director Matthew Hopkinson.

”But official statistics for sales volumes suggest that the balance between inflation and earnings growth may cause clouds to appear on the horizon and thus, further stress for retailers and leisure operators where marginal businesses could be forced to close and thus drive up the vacancy rates.”

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