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Store closures slow to lowest level in seven years

high street

The number of store closures in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since 2010, to 14 stores per day.

Women’s clothing, footwear and charity shops were the three hardest-hit sectors, according to findings by PwC and the Local Data Company.

Both womenswear and footwear respectively saw a net loss of 37 and 38 stores during the first half of 2017. Womenswear retailers saw 75 closures and 38 openings, while footwear experienced the same number of closures and 37 launches.

However, the survey found that general fashion stores saw their lowest net closure rate for three years, at 25 closures per day.

The research, which analysed the top 500 British town centres, said 2,564 shops closed in the first half of 2017, equalling 14 closures per day.

These occurred alongside 2,342 store openings, signalling that a net total of 222 shops closed.

The closures show an uplift from a net loss of 503 in the first half of 2016, and mark the smallest net decline since H1 2013, when there were 209 more store closures than launches.

In the first half of 2016, 2,656 stores closed while 2,153 opened.

Other categories even recorded growth, including tobacconists, coffee shops and beauty salons.

Mike Jervis, insolvency partner at PwC, said the “relatively low” number of closures during the period pointed to a “more stable environment”.

However, he added: “The environment is, of course, uncertain, with recent data showing a more challenging retail environment. I expect net store closures to be an ongoing feature of the market.

“Retailers will choose specific closure stores very carefully and will aim to capitalise on leases expiring in the ordinary course of their businesses.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Wait until next year, they'll be plenty more as the high street cannot compete financially with online retailers, where brands are focusing most of their resources.

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