More than 100 independent fashion stores closed their doors for the final time during the first half of this year, while tobacconists (for e-cigarettes), barbers and beauty salons flourished, according to data from The Local Data Company and British Independent Retailers Association (Bira).
Womenswear independents were the biggest casualty, with 60 stores quitting the high street during the period. Their menswear counterparts were not far behind, as 41 stores pulled down the shutters for good.
Shoe shops, stores stocking sporting goods and bridal shops also made the top 10 list of business closures by classification from January to June this year.
Overall, the data found more independent shops opened during this period than at any other time since 2011, but new trends such as a spike in the number of e-cigarette sellers were responsible for the majority of this growth.
Caledonian Road in London, Glastonbury, Westcliff-on-Sea, Nantwich Road in Crewe and Finsbury Park were found to have the greatest percentage of independent retailers, while Salford, Bracknell, Milton Keynes, Solihull and Cwmbran had the least diverse mix.
“The rate of change on the high street continues to increase,” said Michael Weedon, deputy chief executive of Bira.
He pointed to a “big warning” in this data. “The total gain in independents is slowing and if it turns negative, overall vacancy rates will start to rise again. Entrepreneurs are taking risks and opening new shops – everyone concerned with the future of the high street needs to do everything they can to help those new businesses survive.
“There’s a general election next year: this is the time for politicians to show the policies that will help nurture this new growth.”