Pace of shop closures hits seven-year low


13 Nov, 2017

Pace of shop closures hits seven-year low

Consumer confidence is showing further signs of resilience after the pace of UK retail units shutting down in the first of 2017 slowed to its lowest rate since 2010, according to new research.

The research was conducted by the Local Data Company for PwC. It found that during the first six months of this year, the UK’s high street saw the closure of approximately 2,564 units - an average of 14 a day. Although this figure may seem high, it’s the lowest rate since 2010.

Insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, Mike Jervis said: "The relatively low level of net closures in the first half of the year reflects a more stable environment, with consumer confidence proving more resilient as the year unfolded".

Furthermore, the data shows that the prevalence and popularity of online shopping means that high street are having to evolve into "leaner, fitter" operations.

Despite this, a separate report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed a less healthy picture for shops, as they reported a 2% decline in footfall in October compared to the same month last year - the biggest drop since the EU referendum in June 2016.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said it mirrored the month's "paltry sales performance". She added that nearly one in 10 retail premises still lies empty, blamed on the burden of business rates which the BRC argues stifles investment in new stores or refurbishments.

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