Pace of UK shop closures slows

24 - 09 - 2013

The number of shops closing in UK town centres has fallen from 20 a day in the first half of 2012 to 18 a day in the first six months of this year, figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Local Data Company reveal.

The net drop in the number of shops fell by 78% year-on-year, from 953 in the first half of 2012 to 209 in the first half of this year.

The figures were gleaned from a study of 500 town centres across the UK.
‘Sea-change in how consumers are spending’

Women’s clothing stores, video and photography outlets and recruitment agencies were found to be among those hardest hit in early 2013.

Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist, PwC said:

‘The shifts in multiple retailers’ store portfolios are a barometer for changes in our society and its habits. Closures in areas such as the photography and video sectors reflect the sea-change in how consumers are spending - the well-publicised insolvencies at Jessops and Blockbuster are stark proof of that. Women’s clothing store reductions reflect the intense competition in this sector, with so many fascias on our high streets.

‘Borrowing for basic needs’

Charity shops, cheque cashing, betting shops, convenience stores, hearing aid shops and coffee shops were, on the other hand, were among those opening the most branches, during the first half of 2013.

‘Upticks in areas such as cheque cashing and pawnbrokers reflects a society where a sizeable part of the population is forced to turn to these types of borrowing for basic needs. More convenience shops have opened as multiple grocers seek ways to increase further their market share,’ said Mr Jervis.

‘Continuing transformation of our traditional retailers’

Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC said the findings of the research represent ‘the continuing transformation of our traditional retailers and store estates as they respond to the changing behaviour of their digitally-enabled customers.’

Mr Hudson said that the high streets needs to ‘transforms itself to be relevant to the “new normal” shopping behaviour in the same way that retailers are being forced to’.

Cautiously optimistic, he added that ‘hopefully this data shows a step in the right direction.’






Foremans LLP Umberlla
Foremans LLP