High street store decline continues to accelerate

High street stores have taken a major hit, with PwC research produced by the Local Data Company finding that 15 stores closed every day in the first six months of this year.

A total of 2,656 shops closed on UK high streets – a small increase compared to 2015’s figure of 14 closures a day in the comparable period.

And the number of new openings fell, meaning a net 503 stores disappeared from high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in the first half of 2016.

However, according to the report, takeaway food shops were among those growing at the fastest rate, in fourth place, with 48 openings compared to 20 closures, giving a net change in units of 19. Meanwhile, coffee shops came in seventh place for growth stores with 73 new openings compared to 59 closures, giving a net unit total of 14.

The research revealed that the rising popularity of online shopping is causing the closures as shoppers can purchase valued items from their own home.

Madeleine Thomson, retail and consumer leader at PwC, said: “Despite uncertainty and a fall in the number of store openings, consumer sentiment has rebounded following the post-EU referendum dip. With employment levels still high and price inflation yet to hit the shops, the majority of the UK public believe they will be better off in 12 months.

“To increase footfall to their stores, it is key for retailers to ensure their in-store offering and price point is relevant for the younger demographic, who are particularly high users of online channels and very price savvy.”

The research covered 66,401 outlets operated by multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Great Britain.

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