The Data company, who have recently conducted a survey on 500 British city centres have found that there was only 4083 stores being opened in 2017, which is the lowest number recorded since 2010.
Conversely, 5800 high street shops in fact closed down during this period, meaning that over 1772 shops were in fact lost.
In fact, it was shoe and clothing shops that have closed at the biggest rate, quite possible due to competition from the internet, and the number of ice cream parlours, bookshops and salons (and coffee shops) increased.
Price Waterhouse Coopers commissioned the research and Lisa Hooker of PWC stated that “2017 has been hard for the British retail industry, particularly the 2nd half of the year”. She also said that a lot of retailers were starting to feel the effects of the growth in online shopping, and many related businesses like fashion, travel and estate agents are all losing a lot of outlets as a result. Banks are another one who are losing branches on the high street in big numbers, again, possibly down to the increase in online banking popularity. The high street is morphing into a different sort of high street from 10 years ago, that is clear.
More social shops however are thriving, like beauty salons and nail bars, where treatment clearly cannot be obtained over the internet. The same with barbers and coffee shops, which are also potentially social meetup places.
Clothing and fashion has been hit hard, as online fashion is a huge and ever growing industry. High street fashion chains are moving to a more online focused model, which is more cost effective for their bottom line as well with no high street rents to pay. These same retailers are facing a myriad of challenges on the high street, as more consumers buy online. Also rising costs and consumers with less free cash are adding to the companies woes.
For the consumers part, of what income they do have that is disposable, less of it is going in retail. 2018 is going to be a tough year for retailers judging by 2017 and many are going to have to adapt or risk failing.