Fears for the future of Britain’s retail industry have been underlined this morning as new data shows a historic low number of store openings on the high street last year.
A record net 2,481 stores vanished from Britain’s busiest high streets in 2018, as rising costs and weaker spending took its toll on bricks-and-mortar groups across the country.
Banks, budget retailers and fashion chains were among the retailers which suffered the most store losses over the 12 month period, in which the shortfall between openings and closures hit its highest levels since the millennium.
According to the stark figures, published today by the Local Data Company and PwC, the number of store openings by multiple retailers on Britain’s top 500 high streets has plummeted by 44 per cent since 2013.
“The results are clear - 2018 was a turbulent year for retailers with a number of high profile store closures. We saw an acceleration in footfall decline on the high street with businesses continuing to see the impact of online shopping, increasing costs and subdued consumer spending,” said Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC.
Hooker added: “It’s interesting that the marked reduction in openings has accelerated the net closure trend. In categories as diverse as fashion and financial services, new entrants are able to gain share by launching online - enabled by technology and consumer adoption of mobile and e-commerce - rather than be saddled with the costs and risks of opening on the high street.”