A new study by PwC suggests that 1,123 stores have disappeared from Britain’s top 500 high streets, with openings down a third, in the first half of 2018.
The rate of 14 shops closing a day, is similar to the same period in 2017, though there has been a dramatic fall in the amount of openings year-on-year. Last year, 2,342 shops opened, compared to 1,569 this year. Openings failed to replace closures at a fast-enough rate.
It was found that the worst affected areas were Greater London, the South East and the Midlands. None of the UK regions analysed recorded a net gain in store counts for this period. Wales was found the best-performing area.
Italian restaurants and Electrical goods stores were among those hit. This has been seen by the likes of Maplin, Prezzo and Jamie’s Italian, to name but a few , who have been forced to close stores in turnaround plans.
There were however some spots of brightness. Supermarkets, booksellers, ice cream parlours and coffee shops all saw a small net gain in their store counts.
The growth of internet shopping and rising business rates is said to be the cause of the poor trading conditions.
‘’In-home leisure’’ appears to be on the rise too, with people preferring to spend free time at home – affecting retailers, pubs and the leisure industry.
Consumer markets leader at PwC, Lisa Hooker, explains that the turmoil within the sector is unlikely to abate.
‘’Store closures in the second half of the year due to administrations and company voluntary arrangements already announced will further intensify the situation’’.
Ministers demand action to help Britain’s troubled, desolate town centres.
Chancellor, Philip Hammond, promises to spend £900m on reducing the business rates bill of 500,000 small retailers by a third. Additionally, in last months budget he promised a new tax for online firms that employ fewer staff and pay lower business rate.
However, the British Retail Consortium believe this is not enough and a ‘’wholesale reform’’ of business rates is needed.
Jake Berry, High Street Minister, said the government were determined to make high streets thrive. They have created a £675m fund to help the high streets adapt. Also, business rates have been slashed and experienced UK retailer, Sir John Timpson, is guiding a task force to ensure high streets adapt to the rapid change and align with the future.
Can British High Streets be saved? For an up to date list of all retail outlets that have closed down please refer to whose gone bust in retailing web page