High Street shop numbers in decline

The number of shops on the UK High Street decreased sharply in the first three quarters of 2014, according to a new study.


PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Local Data Company discovered that there were 964 net closures between January and September, more than double the number seen in 2013.


The demise of chains such as Phones4U and La Senza were a key factor in the high figures, while clothing shops were the worst affected.


In total, 365 garment and shoe shops closed, meaning more than one a day has gone out of business so far this year.


The most popular options when replacing the closed stores were coffee shops, banks, pound shops, charity shops and convenience stores.


It would suggest that the High Street is heading towards industries based on goods consumption and convenience.


Getting their house in order


The report suggests that significant changes are occurring on Britain’s High Streets as retailers are assessing their options.


Out of town shopping centres and retail parks are increasing in popularity, with many major chain retailers looking beyond the town centre environment.


The role of digital commerce can also not be underestimated, as many shops are broadening their horizons to sell both over the internet and in store.


The number of closures had been declining in 2012 and 2013, but the latest figures suggest economic conditions are leading more to take action.


While chain stores will tend to come under one overall policy, the situation can be worse for smaller or individual retailers.


In difficult financial conditions or where losses are occurring, seeking advice as soon as possible is seen as an essential part of protecting as many assets as possible.


This can protect the interests of any shareholders and ensure that the necessary corporate insolvency methods are in place to enable the continuation of trade where required.


The face of the High Street is definitely changing, but it is up to individual businesses to recognise trends in their sectors before acting accordingly.


By Phil Smith


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