Store closures hit record levels as restructurings drive largest net decline in testing retail climate

11 September 2019 by PwC and the Local Data Company
  • The first half of 2019 saw a net decline of 1,234 chain stores on Britain’s top 500 high streets - the highest number since analysis by PwC and the Local Data Company began in 2010
  • In total, an average of 16 stores a day closed, as restructurings and the online migration of shopping and services continue to hit the high street
  • However, store openings rose by c.4% highlighting the potential opportunities for new entrants as well as established retail and leisure brands

Heightened restructuring activity has seen the half-year net reduction in stores on Britain’s high streets hit record levels according to research by the Local Data Company  and PwC.

The first half of 2019 saw almost twice as many store closures (16 per day) as openings (9 per day). In total, 1,634 stores opened and 2,868 stores closed over the period, leading to a net decline of 1,234 stores (compared with a net decline of 1,123 in the first half of 2018).

On a sector by sector basis, only 15 out of 96 sectors showed a net growth in store numbers, and all but two grew by only a single digit number of outlets: takeaways with a net increase of 26 outlets, and sport and health clubs with a net increase of 17. Meanwhile, the biggest net declines were seen amongst fashion retailers (-118), restaurants (-103), estate agents (-100) and pubs (-96).

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