Fashion sector hit hardest by shop closures

A study carried out by the Local Data Company (LDC) and consultancy firm, PriceWaterhouseCooper (PwC), has found that some 16 shops are closing every day, with retailers being forced to restructure and consumers increasingly shopping online.

The study found that a net total of 1,234 shops closed on the top 500 high streets in Britain in the first six months of 2019. The biggest decline was in the fashion retail sector, followed by restaurants, estate agents and pubs, but more positive news is that more takeaway outlets, sports and health clubs have opened.

A net 1,234 stores shut on Britain’s top 500 high streets in the first half of the year, according to research by PwC and the Local Data Company. This is the highest number of closures since the study began in 2010 and up from 1,123 closures reported in the first half of last year.

PwC says 1,634 stores which PwC says opened in the six months to the end of June – a 4% increase on the same period last year – while 2,868 stores shut. The data only considers retail chains with more than five outlets.

The consumers markets leader at PwC, Lisa Hooker, said: “The decline in store numbers in the first half of 2019 shows that there’s been no let-up in the changing ways that people shop and the cost pressures affecting High Street operators.” She urged stores to invest in making themselves more “relevant to today’s consumers”, whilst “new and different types of operators” need to emerge in order to plug the increasing number of high street vacancies.

Greater London saw the largest number of net closures of any region, although as it has a far higher number of shops than other cities, the closure rate is in line with the national average. The only regions to see less closures than last year were the East Midlands, North East, South East and Yorkshire and the Humber.