Nearly FIFTY shops in Britain are shutting every day, figures reveal

Britain’s High Streets are losing almost 50 shops per day as the pandemic and changing shopping habits continue to wreak havoc on retailers.

Newly released figures show more than 8,700 chain stores closed in the first half of this year – with fashion retailers suffering the biggest decline.  

It comes after the collapse of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire saw brands like TopShop and Dorothy Perkins disappear from the High Street.   

Meanwhile more than 120 department stores shut for good and there was a decline in car showrooms, pinterest cricket betting online 44.60012473768862 18100 0.209178 16 34300000 instagram shops and banks as the consumer shift to online continues unabated. 

The figures were collected by the Local Data Company on behalf of accountancy firm PwC.

They showed that while 3,488 shops opened between January and June this year, a whopping 8,739 closed, representing a net decline of 5,251 stores. 

Newly released figures show more than 8,700 chain stores closed in the first half of this year – with fashion retailers suffering the biggest decline (file photo)

The number of shop openings in the first half of this year (3,488), pales in comparison to the number of closures (8,739)

That is only 750 fewer closures than the first six months of 2020, which saw the first coronavirus lockdown.    

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets lead at PwC, said Government support had proved to be a lifeline for scores of businesses, but added that the next six months will be ‘make or break’ for many. 

She said: ‘After an acceleration in store closures last year coupled with last-minute Christmas tier restrictions and lockdowns extending into 2021, we might have expected a higher number of store closures this year. 

‘Government support has proved to be a lifeline.

‘However, the next six months will be make or break for many, particularly with the reinstatement of business rates, the winding-down of furlough and the need for agreement on rent arrears, as well as uncertainty for hospitality businesses around further lockdowns, vaccine passports and other operating restrictions.’  

The Local Data Company tracked more than 200,000 stores operated by businesses with more five outlets across Great Britain, including retail and restaurants, cafes, banks and gyms.    

Department stores and travel agents have been hit hardest this past year, while takeaway shops have thrived

Fashion retailers have been the hardest hit this year (Pictured: A man walks past a boarded up former Jack Wills shop in Eton High Street, Berkshire)

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The collapse of Sir Philip Green’s retail empire saw brands like TopShop and Dorothy Perkins disappear from the High Street 

The figures show leisure and takeaway restaurants saw the biggest growth in the first half of 2021, reflecting the successes for food delivery services such as Deliveroo, which saw total revenues in the six months to June 30 rise 82% to £923 million.

However store openings in general were at their lowest level for six years, with city centres being hit hardest as people continue to work from home.  

With workers supporting their local suburban economies instead, London, for example, has gone from being the best performing region in 2016 to the worst for two years running.  

But essential stores, such as supermarkets, have coped well this year, helping retail parks fare better than city centres. 

Footfall at retail parks is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, which suggest shoppers prefer to drive to bigger shops rather than pop to the High Street – which may not be good news for the government or the environment, warns the report.

It reads: ‘It’s a trend that could present problems for central and local governments. 

‘Car dependent and congestion causing, standalone out-of-town retailers and retail parks are not eco-friendly. 

More than 120 department stores shut for good and there was also a decline in car showrooms, betting shops and banks as the consumer shift to online continues unabated

‘They also go against most regional and national government initiatives to re-invigorate high streets and are even likely to leave those local governments exposed that have bought into shopping centres.’   

Last year saw more than 17,500 chain outlets close, with the number of empty stores across the country reported to be at a record high.

But experts say there is cause for optimism as the speed of the decline has slowed.    

‘There are promising signs that the speed of the decline we were tracking across the worst of the pandemic is slowing,’ said Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company.

‘That being said, the compound impact of multiple lockdowns can’t be ignored and whilst a slowdown in store closures is certainly welcome, the volume of empty units across Great Britain is at a record high with no sign that the demand will ever be there to meet the supply. ‘

Ms Hooker added: ‘Operators are far from out of the woods…

particularly with the reinstatement of full business rates for all but the smallest operators, the winding-down of furlough support and agreement yet to be reached between many operators and landlords on rent arrears.

‘But the good news is that there are some green shoots of optimism.

Consumers still want a shopping experience and a number of chain stores and restaurants are opening.’

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