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50 shops a day disappeared from High Streets

Genius, destroy livelihoods to save lives... I'm not sure that's how it works.

This was completely underplayed last year. I was told by everyone "it's just following the science." Now, we have a country entirely dependent on government. Bravo.

From the BBC:

More than 8,700 chain stores closed in British High Streets, shopping centres and retail parks in the first six months of this year, research suggests.

That is an average of nearly 50 outlets a day as the impact of the pandemic and changing shopping habits continue to hit many towns and city centres.

But despite some high-profile retail failures, the number of closures has fallen compared with a year earlier.

City centres have suffered the worst, while retail parks are faring better.

The store closure figures were collected by the Local Data Company on behalf of accountancy firm PwC.

"After an acceleration in store closures last year couple with last minute Christmas tier restrictions and lockdowns extending into 2021, we might have expected a higher number of store closures this year," says Lisa Hooker, consumer markets lead at PwC.

She believes continued government support combined with resilient consumer spending has helped many operators weather the storm and survive the pandemic.

  • UK loses 83% of department stores over five years

  • The experiences replacing closed High Street stores

The Local Data Company tracked more than 200,000 stores operated by businesses with more five outlets across Great Britain. These include everything from retail and restaurants, to cafes, banks and gyms.

As the chart below shows, although 3,488 stores opened in the first six months of 2021 the closures were far greater. A total of 8,739 shops shut creating a net decline of 5,251 outlets - a huge number, but 750 less than this time last year.

Fashion retailers recorded the biggest decline reflecting the collapse of Sir Philip Green's retail empire which saw his brands, including TopShop and Dorothy Perkins, disappear from the High Street.

More than 120 department stores also shut for good.

There was also a decline in car showrooms, betting shops and banks, providing yet more evidence of changing shopping behaviour and the shift to online.

Data also shows that store openings were at their lowest level for six years. Leisure dominated the growth with takeaway chains leading the way.

And it is city centres that are still suffering the most, declining faster than suburban areas which are being supported by people working from home.

London, for instance, has gone from being the best performing region in 2016 to the worst for two years running.

Retail parks have fared best of all. Many are anchored by supermarkets, DIY and furniture retailers which have all done well during the pandemic.

Footfall at these sites is almost back to pre-pandemic levels, showing how shoppers seem happier to drive to bigger shops than visit High Streets and shopping centres in towns.

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