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Number of independent UK stores continues to drop

By Huw Hughes


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The number of independent stores continues to drop across the UK, according to data released by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) and the Local Data Company (LDC).

Their statistics show that while independent retailers opened significantly more shops in the first half of 2018 than in the same period last year, a record number of stores were closed over the same period, resulting in a total decline of -1,554 shops (-0.5 percent).

Chain retailers (brands with more than 4 stores) remained in decline, with a net loss of -2,848 shops (-1.36 percent) in H1 2018, compared to -659 shops (-0.33 percent) in H1 2017.

Commenting on the data in a statement, Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of Bira, said: “This report perfectly illustrates the problems for independent retail businesses. Despite more businesses opening, we have seen more closing resulting in a net loss from the high street.

“Bira have been saying for a long time that independent retailers need support from local and national governments. The recent budget announcements regarding a rates reduction and the setting up of a high street fund are very welcome and we hope it is not too late to provide a lifeline to these important businesses.”

Lucy Stainton, senior relationship manager at the Local Data Company, added: “There is no doubt 2018 has already shown itself to be a particularly transformative year for the UK retail market.

“The shake-up across the physical landscape is impacting chains and independents alike. Businesses in all corners of the industry are having to look very closely at their current model and assess its relevance in an era of unprecedented consumer change.”

Photo credit: Pexels, Artem Bali

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