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.
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.
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.
“The shift to online”, for me started over 20 years ago, when I bought a brand-new car via the internet and saved 20% on the retail price - I’d already bought smaller items, like CDs/DVDs and clothes but saving that much on an expensive item changed everything for me …
That was still in the days of PCs - nowadays, smartphones can perform the same functions (and more) as that old technology …
what does the act of shopping in the high street result in:
- some exercise even if it’s only walking from the car - but around the store as well
- mental curiosity and stimulation
- human discourse and contact
etc etc - losing it is losing just more than an item that now comes through the post
My high street now, consists of a tiny WH Smiths/Post office, charity shops, bargain basement shops, and hairdressers. Used to be a place where you could spend an entire Saturday, now its just empty shops with fake fronts to make it look “busy”
In the small market town where I live there is no longer a “high street” as such - it was paves over in th1960’s to make a “town square”. However, when I moved here (years ago) it seemed that there was a small shop for almost anything I needed. Those shops have mostly gone, to be replaced by bars and fast-food outlets with 3 new supermarkets on the outskirts of the town.
Obviously, the last straw for most small businesses was lockdown - no “regulars”, window-shoppers or passers-by.
There have a been a few small retail parks that have opened up over the past 5 years where I live, and slowly but surely they have sucked the life out of our high street. Ours is so bad we don’t even have a fast food outlet
I used to go to college in Ayr a once thriving town that unfortunately that was 40 years ago now its town centre has more closed shops than open ones everyone or nearly everyone shops online
It is sad because Ayr is our preference to move to in about 4 or 5 years time all being well as we have family in the area, but almost every town is the same nowadays.
There is a fantastic butchers shop there called Pollock Williamson great butcher meat and the square sausage oooft still a lovely place my cousins house was on the edge of the racecourse you could be in the garden then all the horses would thunder past
wee pic of the harbourside i took Tuesday
I hope you’re entering that pic into the snapshot competition ! It’s really great
I used to miss Scottish butchers until I found a few online, and I can even buy beef ham now!
So online can be a bonus for shops and butchers sometimes, but talking of butchers … there used to be a butchers near the Kyle Centre that had haggis in the window with peely-wally false teeth that used to fascinate my then-young son.
I don’t think I’ve ever used Pollok Williamson but I’ll have a go next time I’m up there; I’ve used Tarelgin quite a few times though who are just off the A70 beyond Coylton and they sell online now too which really is great when you’re living in England.
And Minx is right, that photo really should go in the competition.
yes im still practicing all on a phone !! hows u
coffee in hellens place ???
Why should anyone be surprised at this? Twenty years ago where I used to live first parking meters were introduced in all the streets where parking used to be free. Then came the car parks and as the meters were taken out yellow lines were put down. Car parks were next with the usual associated cost for the motorist. Next was a ridiculous one-way system which the council were told would not work and it didn’t. They changed it all for another one, again they were advised it would not work and again that happened. Traffic jams all round the town so motorists boycotted the town and shopped elsewhere.
When most of the high street was made pedestrian only, a new shopping precinct opened. Lack of inexpensive parking, an increase in both rents and business rates and then came out of town retail parks and that was the final straw, the town slowly died.
Where I live now it’s just the same. Car parking in the large town, ten miles away is very costly – £1.50 for one hour, £3.00 for two hours and £8.00 for the whole day. No free parking for the first hour either, which would be useful. The very large shopping centre has vacant shops and is nowhere near as busy as it used to be. There are three or four large out of town retails parks with free parking, these are always busy which is no surprise. This is all down to the usual greed so it’s not really surprising that high streets are no longer is it!
I was walking along my nearby high street last week, and counted NINE empty shops in the first two - three hundred yards alone.
It was the same all along the hight street. Shutters pulled down everywhere.
Old family businesses closing down but no problem a new generation of pop-up mosques and halal butchers revitalise the high street.
Our small high street has 5, yes FIVE barbers, 3 or maybe 4 hairdressers, not sure, at least 3 nail salons, and 6 coffee bars. Oh and 3 pubs, 3 sandwich bars, 3 bakers, and about 4 charity shops. In other words, all things you can’t get online. We do have a butchers, a greengrocers, a small supermarket and a couple of chemists as well, but like all high streets these days, it’s not for browsing, you just go there for something specific and come home.
Our main shopping area has more independent shops since lock down finished, I think the shop owners reduced the rents to fill them. We now have 2 Gift shops selling different items, a bookshop, electric bike shop & two clothing shops, a pet shop & new owners in the main post office, which sells other things too. How long these shops will last is anyone’s guess, me being pessimistic, not long I suspect. We don’t really have the foot fall here any more. No idea if any are on line.
I think essentially Australia has not lost the high street shopping malls - yes we have taken on mail order stuff but still value or history/heritage - the high street precinct is part of our history and hopefully future?
…also when they build shopping malls they are in the centre of town rather than on the outskirts as they do in the UK. This means that they attract customers to the peripheral businesses rather than away to an Industrial Estate on the outskirts of town.
The council can stuff up though - Wollongong CBD is slowly dying because they added parking meters for one block around ostensibly to stop the workers taking up the best parking spots but what it has done is send people to the suburban malls where parking is plentiful and free, Covid has done the rest.
That is exactly how the town where I used to live started dying off, stupid one-way systems and parking meters, then car parks with ever-increasing charges, followed by the exodus to other towns less greed-oriented and out-of-town retails parks. Where I live now it’s the out-of-town retails parks, all with free parking, that get much of the trade.
See my post #13 on this thread for the full details if anyone wishes to read them.