Wednesday, April 11, 2018

News: Closures outpace openings in town centres


Not that more evidence was needed on the changes taking place in town centres across the UK but high streets saw much more closures than openings in 2017.

The number of new high street stores opening in 2017 fell to 4,083, from 4,534 in 2016, according to research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC) for PwC.

5,855 outlets closed on Great Britain's high streets in 2017, at a rate of 16 stores a day, a slight increase on the 15 stores a day closing in 2016, when 5,430 outlets closed.

In Rotherham town centre, the data recorded 13 closures and four openings in 2017.

The masterplan for Rotherham town centre focuses on growing leisure and residential uses rather than retail. Proponents believe that there is "too much floorspace in the town centre."

23% of floor space in the town centre area was classed as vacant at the end of 2017 according to Rotherham Council fugures. The year saw the loss of national retailers such as Primark, New Look, Clinton's and Thornton's. The closure of Primark in November 2017 has had a big impact on footfall.

The national data shows that the second half of 2017 saw substantially more closures and less openings than the first six months of the year, reflecting a tough trading environment including a slowdown in consumer confidence and spending, rising staff and business rates costs, as well as a slowdown in food and beverage growth.


Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: "2017 was tough for the British retail industry. 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 data showed that nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments.

Lucy Stainton, Senior Relationship Manager (Retail) at The Local Data Company, said: "LDC's latest figures show that there continues to be a vast amount of churn across the physical landscape and, whilst the gap between openings and closures has widened slightly in 2017, we are seeing certain sub-sectors really gain traction.

"It is this "re-occupancy" and evolution of the use of space which is most striking, as banks become coffee shops, pubs change to nurseries and nail salons open in the space vacated by fashion shops."

For South Yorkshire, the data showed that Rotherham had both fewer closures and fewer openings (and a lower net change) than Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley.

The number of businesses in Rotherham in 2017 was recorded at 133 which decreased to 124 at January 2018 - a percentage decrease of 6.8%.

The number of businesses in Sheffield decreased to 339 (an 8.1% percentage decrease). In Barnsley, a 9.1% decrease was recorded with the number of businesses reducing to 132 overall. Doncaster saw a 4.7% decrease to 263.

PwC website
LDC website

Images: Walker Singleton


Anonymous,  April 11, 2018 at 3:16 PM  

But the Alhambra shopping mall in Barnsley is still extending.Im afraid as usual Rotherham missed the trend many years ago,shoppers want covered malls,protected from weather,not wet high streets.If Rotherham had built a mall instead of the pointless waste of space that is the cascades centre(which I worked on.building)then.the town would be far more appealing.

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