Store closures are at the lowest rate in seven years in the UK, despite the increasing pressure on the high street.
According to data from accountancy giant PwC and Local Data Company (LDC), closures dropped by a third compared to the first half 2021, as the pandemic shock continues to ease off for town centres.
The fresh data found a trend away away from clothing stores shutting down towards more bookies and charity shops.
Meanwhile, amusement arcades, new restaurants and takeaway stores have taken advantage of vacant units, leading the way for store openings in the first half of 2022.
However, the number of shop openings continued to lag behind pre-Covid levels, with a net closure of 12 stores per day during the first half of the year.
PwC UK’s Leader of Industry for Consumer Markets Lisa Hooker said that while the findings give “some reason for optimism,” she added that “any positivity must also be viewed alongside the significant concerns over the rising cost of living and how it will impact people’s ability to spend”.
Hooker warned utility, input and labour costs will significantly impact the viability of the high street.
“Although it has been over two years since the start of the pandemic, we are still yet to define our ‘new normal’ which is having a sustained impact on city centre locations with many new openings being focussed on smaller market towns and local high streets as people continue to work from home,” she said.