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Pace of retailers shutting plummets to lowest level

Danielle Wightman-Stone| Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The first six months of 2015 resulted in the lowest levels of retail closures in five years, according to new research by PwC and The Local Data Company.

2,634 shops closed on the UK’s high street in the first six months of 2015, a rate of 14 stores a day, but that represents the lowest level of entries and exits since 2011, which PwC states reflects a “less hostile environment” for retailers.

In 2010 the store rate closure was at 16 per day, peaking at 20 per day in the first six months of 2012, before steadily dropping to today’s levels.

The analysis covered more than 65,000 outlets in 500 British town centres and found that overall volumes of openings and closures have plummeted from a record 7,749 in H1 2010 to 4,831 in H1 2015.

However, the PwC/LDC study shows that 2,634 outlets closed in a six-month period compared to 2,197 openings, a net reduction of 437 shops. This represents a slight widening of the gap when compared to the previous year.

Amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2015 on the high street were fashion shops in general, but especially women’s clothing stores.

Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, said: “The numbers don’t lie: H1 2015 represents the lowest levels of churn we have seen on the high street for at least five years. On the positive side that means there have been fewer retail insolvencies, on the negative side that means less confidence in bricks and mortar from the multiple chains.

“The closures are caused by sector-specific factors: regulation is hurting money shops, the internet is hurting traditional bricks and mortar fashion chains. The tug of war between ‘clicks’ and ‘bricks’ has forced major changes on the high street not only for the retailers, but also for landlords too.






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