New store openings on the UK’s high streets have hit the lowest levels in nearly a decade as retailers start “feeling the impact of the acceleration of online shopping”.
According to new data from the Local Data Company (LCD) new store openings dropped 10 per cent to 4083 in 2017 compared to a year prior, equaling an average of 11 per day.
This was overshadowed by store closures which rose to 5855 for the year, averaging 16 per day. This represents the lowest level of store openings since 2010.
Although traditional high street retailers suffered during the year, book shops and vaping stores pulled ahead and showed growth.
“2017 was tough for the British retail industry, particularly the second half of the year,” PwC’s Lisa Hooker, who commissioned the research, said.
“We saw volatility from month to month and across different sectors as wage growth failed to keep up with inflation, forcing many shoppers to think more carefully about their spending habits.
“On top of this, many retailers are increasingly feeling the impact of the acceleration of online shopping as consumers begin to feel more comfortable with the price transparency and reliability of delivery options offered by online players.
“Digital offerings are increasingly becoming make or break in areas like fashion, but also for banks, travel agents and estate agents – all of which closed a significant number of high street outlets last year.
“The winners at the moment, such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments such as experience-seeking millennials, and offer a differentiated physical proposition that online offerings can’t compete with.”