A record number of independent retailers were forced to shut in the first half of 2018 amid “particularly transformative” period for the industry.
According to new data from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and the Local Data Company (LDC), there was a net decline of 1554 independent retailers in the half-year, compared to a net increase of 762 shops in the same period last year.
“This report perfectly illustrates the problems for independent retail businesses,” BIRA chief executive Andrew Goodacre said.
“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.”
It wasn’t only independent retailers which suffered during the period.
Retailers with more than four stores also saw a net loss of 2848 stores, compared to a growth of 659 a year earlier.
LDC senior relationship manager Lucy Stainton 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.”