The research into 500 town centres, from PwC, compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC), found that the net number of stores to close fell from 953 in the first six months of 2012 to 206 in 2013.
From a decline of more than 20 a day in the first six months of 2012, the total rate of store closures stores has fallen slightly to 18 per day in the first half of 2013.
Coffee shops continued to make headway, with 37 net new openings in the first half of 2013, a rise of 2.04% compared to the previous year. Other sectors that performed well included charity shops, cheque cashing, betting shops and convenience stores, while the number of video libraries, women’s clothes shops and shoe shops fell.
PwC said the profile of town centres was changing, with traditional goods shops pulling down the shutters, while leisure outlets (food, beverage and entertainment) showed a 10-fold increase.
Mark Hudson, retail leader at PwC, said: “This set of figures represents the continuing transformation of our traditional retailers and store estates as they respond to the changing behaviour of their digitally-enabled customers.
“The high street needs to transform itself to be relevant to the ‘new normal’ shopping behaviour in the same way that retailers are being forced to – hopefully this data shows a step in the right direction.”