Over 2400 stores vanish from UK high streets in 2018

High Street PwC
// 2481 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets in 2018
// 40% more store closures in 2018 than in 2017
// Number of store openings dropped 17.4% year on year

UK stores are disappearing from high streets at a rapid pace as consumers’ changing behaviours means they’re increasingly shifting from shopping in-store to online.

A record net 2481 stores disappeared from the UK’s top 500 high streets in 2018 – 40 per cent more than in 2017, according to new data from PwC.

The 5833 store closures last year were not enough to offset store openings as only 3372 shops opened – excluding independent outlets.

The number of store openings by multiple retailers dropped by 17.4 per cent year-on-year.

The current rate of openings is nine stores per day, compared with 16 stores per day in 2013.

The rate of closures in 2018 remained consistent with 2017 at 16 per day, with the most significant collapses being Maplin, Toys R Us and Poundworld.

Last year also saw fashion retailer New Look and Mothercare both close 60 stores each under CVAs.

“The results are clear – 2018 was a turbulent year for retailers, with a number of high-profile store closures,” PwC consumer markets leader Lisa Hooker said.

“We saw an acceleration in footfall decline on the high street, with businesses continuing to see the impact of online shopping, increasing costs and subdued consumer spending.

“The marked reduction in openings has accelerated the net closure trend.

“In categories as diverse as fashion and financial services, new entrants are able to gain share by launching online – enabled by technology and consumer adoption of mobile and ecommerce – rather than be saddled with the costs and risks of opening on the high street.”

PwC also found that 616 fashion retail stores closed in 2018, while 347 opened.

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