High Street Struggle Continues As Store Openings Fall To Their Lowest Level In Seven Years 13Apr

High Street Struggle Continues As Store Openings Fall To Their Lowest Level In Seven Years

According to a research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC) for PwC, an average of 16 high street stores closed every day last year making a total of 5,885 over the year while an average of 11 opened each day.

The daily openings on an average were down by 12 in 2016 and 15 in 2013.

The number of new high street stores opening in 2017 fell to 4,083 compared to 4,534 in 2016, with the second half of the year seeing substantially more closures and fewer openings than the first six months.

Beauty product stores, coffee shops, cafes and tearooms and ice cream parlours bucked the trend with the highest increase in net store numbers, while physical bookshops and vaping remained popular.

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said “2017 was tough for the British retail industry, particularly the second half of the year.”

Seeing volatility month to month and across different sectors as wage growth failed to keep up with inflation. It has forced many shoppers to think more carefully about their spending habits.

In addition to this many retailers are increasingly feeling the impact of the acceleration of online shopping as consumers feel more comfortable with price transparency and reliability of delivery options offered by online players.

Digital offerings are increasingly becoming not only make or break in areas like fashion but also for banks, travel agents and estate agents all of which closed a significant number of high street outlets last year.

“The winners at the moment, such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments such as experience-seeking millennials, and offer a differentiated physical proposition that online offerings can’t compete with.”

Lucy Stainton from the Local Data Company said: “There is of course no doubting that we are experiencing a period of great change in retail, and the question around the relevance and role of stores is still very much on the industry agenda.

“It is also interesting to note that despite the onslaught of digital and audiobooks, readily available via the likes of Amazon and Apple, booksellers are on the list of 2017 ‘risers’. Perhaps unexpected but then again does this suggest there is hope for more traditional retailing of physical products, if done well?”