Mar 30, 2016
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Independent shop openings declined in the UK in 2015

Mar 30, 2016

There has been a massive decline in the number of independent stores opening in Britain, according to new figures from the Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association (bira.)

In 2010, 11 independent stores opened every day; in 2015, the number was just one per week. Independent shops saw an increase of just +117 shops (+0.11%) in 2015 versus a peak of growth of 4.01% (+3,949 shops) in 2010. This is the lowest number since LDC records began in 2009.

A total of 68,100 independents either opened (34,288) or closed (33,812), down on 2014 where 69,207 opened (34,833) or closed (34,324).

There was an increase in restaurants, cafes, bookmakers & entertainment opening stores, with 250 units opening in 2015, compared with 200 in 2014. The research shows that key growth sectors are barbers, cafes, tobacconists/e-cigarettes and hair & beauty salons, while sectors in decline include women’s clothing shops, pubs, newsagents and Indian restaurants.

The greatest decline of independent store openings was seen in Greater London, at -347 units. This is a 0.51% decline, worse than the 0.34% decline reported in 2014. The place that has the highest percentage of independent stores is Sparkhill, Birmingham, at 95%.

Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company, commented: “Independents are a key component of our high streets and this is seen both in the fact they represent a majority (65%) of the units but also the diversity and vibrancy they can bring along with their direct connection to local economies. Whilst the numbers remain positive the dramatic decline in the growth of independents from eleven openings a day to just one a week reflects the challenges many independent businesses face. A number of factors are at play but one of the major factors has been the move of many ‘high street’ anchor retailers such as Next, M&S and River Island moving from the high street shop out of town retail parks. These moves result in lower footfall volumes as people follow them out of town, which has a big impact for the smaller retailers left behind."

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