UK high street shop closures accelerate dramatically

Press Release   •   Feb 28, 2013 13:59 GMT

The number of stores closed by retail chains in Britain has soared over the past 12 months, according to recent research.

The battle on Britain's high streets has accelerated dramatically with the rate of major chain store closures increasing ten-fold, hitting 20 per day in 2012.

Analysis by PwC and the Local Data Company found that year-on-year, the net reduction in the number of stores climbed from 174 closures in 2011 to 1,779 closures in 2012 with the pace intensifying even further since.

The figure increased in the last three months of 2012 as a spate of household names went into administration.

A combination of factors - from the consumer spending squeeze to poor business models - is being blamed. The failed chains generally shared two problems - too many stores and too little multi-channel activity.

High-profile administrations, such as Comet and Jessops, were not the only problem as other retailers also shed many stores when leases came up for renewal.

With the rise of online shopping the chains did not need as many stores as they did in the past, a trend that looks set to accelerate this year.

The data revealed that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres card, computer games, clothes, banks, health foods, jewellers, travel agents, recruitment agencies and sports goods shops were among the hardest hit in 2012.

Pound shops, pawnbrokers, charity shops, cheque cashing (payday loans), betting shops, supermarkets and coffee shops bucked the trend of a dying high street and actually showed growth during the year.

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