The rate of shop closures on the UK’s highstreets is at its lowest in five years, according to new research by PwC.
Retail shops are still pulling down the shutters, but the number of shop closures per day in the first six months of 2015 was 14 a day compared to 20 for the same period in 2012, according to information provided to PwC by the Local Data Company.
Results also showed the lowest levels of ‘churn’ – openings and closures – since 2011 as the turmoil created by shop owners reacting to changing customer habits begins to calm.
Mark Hudson, retail partner at PwC commented: ‘Online sales growth is slowing and consumer spending is increasing so the dramatic impact on store numbers of the double whammy of channel shift and fewer store visits is abating for now and we are returning to a more natural level of churn.’
However, some sectors within retail are still feeling the pressure.
‘This year’s numbers expose the harsh impact of ‘macro’ changes on the high street, especially in certain sub-sectors. Regulation has blindsided the money shops, the advance of technology has hammered some phone operators and the internet continues to dent the clothing sector.’ said Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC.
What is clear is that the landscape of the high street is changing for good.
‘Despite the continuing problem of closures, new sub-sectors, such as discount shops and charity shops keep growing. The strength of the restaurant and fast-food sectors is also a fillip for the high street.’ said Jervis
Coffee shops, jewellers, health-food shops and computer games outlets have also all done well in terms of new shops opening.