Record number of high street closures as shops feel pinch

Shoppers in the run-up to Christmas in Buchanan Street Glasgow

Fashion and electrical stores were affected seriously, and restaurants and pubs also lost many consumers for people's preference in eating and drinking at home.

The turmoil facing the sector "is unlikely to abate", according to Hooker, with administrations and company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) set to intensify pressure. "While there are still many examples of sectors and brands which remain resilient to market challenges, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the increase in store closures, seen especially in the first half of 2018 when the gap between openings and closures has widened significantly", said Lucy Stainton, senior relationship manager (retail) at Local Data Company.

According to the report, 2,692 shops closed in the first six month of this year, while 1,569 shops opened, which means a record high net number of closures of 1,123. The data looks at retail chains with more than five outlets. Jamie's Italian, Prezzo and Strada have all closed restaurants as well.

"Specifically, the openings across "experiential" chains, such as ice cream parlours, beauty salons and vape shops, haven't been enough to offset closures in the more traditional categories".

According to PwC, Greater London had the largest number of store closures of any United Kingdom region, with a fall of 716, while only 448 were opened.

Huddersfield was the only town that experienced a positive net change across Yorkshire and Humber in the first half of the year.

Leicester faired well with a net loss of just one store, with 13 openings and 14 closures.

Retailers are facing a flawless storm of pressures as consumers rein in their spending and do more of their shopping online.

In last month's Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised to spend £900m on reducing the business rates bill of 500,000 small retailers by a third.

"The intensity of the current retail climate, which is being felt across Scotland's towns and cities, highlights that restructuring and new investment are required, but so are new ways of thinking".

Jake Berry, the minister responsible for High Streets, said the government was determined to make them thrive.

The decline has been put down to the growth in online shopping and a shift to "in-home leisure", PwC said.

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