High street crisis: 2481 stores closed in the UK in 2018

High street crisis: 2481 stores closed in the UK in 2018

High Street

Almost 2,500 high street shops closed in 2018, according to PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC).

According to the research, this proved a historic high, further compounding to fears of a crisis on the high street.

Banks and financial services led the figures with 291 net closures.

This was closely followed by fashion retailers with 269 closures.

Overall, only 3,372 shops opened and 5,833 closed, with difficult market conditions deterring new openings.

Specifically, high street retailers have been dealing with falling footfall numbers, rising costs and weaker discretionary spending.

Last year many high street giants such as New Look, House Of Fraser and M&S (LON:MKS) all announced store closures, on the back of an increasingly tough trading environment.

Moreover, the casual dining industry was also affected by volatile conditions, with Jamie’s Italian, Prezzo and Byron all opting to close underperforming sites.

Lisa Hooker, the consumer markets leader at PwC, commented on the research:

“The results are clear – 2018 was a turbulent year for retailers, with a number of high-profile store closures.

“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 e-commerce – rather than be saddled with the costs and risks of opening on the high street.”