The analysis also observed a slowdown in leisure, in particular restaurants and pubs, which posted a net loss of 506 outlets, reversing three years of consecutive growth since 2015. Market saturation, cost challenges, and a shift in consumer preferences towards in-home leisure have exacerbated the impact on the sector, not only leading to closures but also discouraging new openings.
Looking at the first quarter of 2019, Local Data Company data finds that closure rates remain high as 1,358 outlets alongside 849 openings. This is a direct consequence of CVAs, store downsizing and administrations announced in 2018 feeding through across GB.
Zelf Hussain, retail restructuring partner at PwC, said:
“Several national chains weathered company voluntary arrangements or administrations as retailers toiled in the tough climate of 2018. Retail companies looking to survive let alone flourish in 2019 face an uphill battle.
"We have already seen several casualties in 2019 and there will undoubtedly be more, most likely in all categories except for groceries. Those retailers who will give themselves the best chance of survival must focus on having the relevant proposition, and the investments needed to deliver this proposition; the optimal mix of channels and business portfolio; flexible leases.
"Additionally, we believe CVAs are not the answer in isolation. Companies need solutions that fully address customer needs, represent sustainable cost savings and, if needed new money investment to bridge the lag between the cost of a restructuring and long-term performance improvements.”
Across regions and nations...
Table 3. Openings and closures of multiple retailers by region across the top 500 GB town centres in 2018 (Source: Local Data Company).