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Local Data Company and Bira data show womenswear stores suffer most closures

Women’s independent stores look set to be the biggest losers for the second year in a row, as more boutiques fall foul of town centre woes.

Figures from the Local Data Company and British Independent Retail Association show that a net total of 73 women’s clothing stores shut in the first half of this year.

Closures of womenswear stores were nearly double those of newsagents, which was the second hardest-hit category, seeing net closures of 38. Shoe shops came third, with an overall decline of 34. 

The research published today suggests womenswear stores could see an even greater level of closures this year than last, with 2012’s total net closures standing at 89 - just above this year’s halfway point

The wider independent sector is still seeing growth in new stores opening, but this has halved to 0.4%, with much of this growth coming from food and beverage stores.

Mobile phone shops, barbers and charity shops were the biggest category growers, respectively up 96, 77 and 61 in total.

Greater London and the South East were the worst hit, with both region the only ones to see a decline in the number of independents. Greater London fell by 0.17 while the South East fell 0.19.  

LDC and Bira said the figures showed “the challenges our town centres face up and down the country”, adding they were “challenges that no doubt today’s Select Committee will be asking Mary Portas about as part of her High Street Review deliverables.”

Portas is due to speak to the Communities and Local Government Committee (CLG) at 4pm today. Drapersonline.com will be running live updates throughout her appearance.

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