United Kingdom high streets suffer record net drop in store numbers - PwC

Only 1,569 shops opened during the period, meaning that a net 1,123 stores have disappeared from high streets, where retailers have had an uphill fight to save their businesses against the increase in online shopping.

The analysis tracked 4601 outlets in the East Midlands operated by multiple retailers in 34 town centres across the region.

In Edinburgh there was a net reduction of 13 stores and in Glasgow 11, to 992 and 887 respectively.

"The convenience of online shopping is making its mark on the high street, and we expect this will lead to retailers having to re-evaluate the objective of their bricks-and-mortar operations".

"The continued rate of store closures reflects the new reality of that many of us prefer to shop online and increasingly eat, drink and entertain at home", she said.

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As consumers move their shopping online, the British high street has suffered its largest half-year net decline in stores in five years, as the gap between openings and closures widens.

"We have created a £675m fund to help high streets adapt, slashed business rates. and are creating a task force guided by Sir John Timpson, one of the UK's most experienced retailers, to ensure that High Streets are adapting for rapid change and are fit for the future", he said. Specifically, the openings across "experiential" chains, such as ice cream parlours, beauty salons and vape shops, haven't been enough to offset closures in the more traditional categories.

Hooker added that the "turmoil facing the sector" was unlikely to abate with store closures in the second half of the year likely to further intensify the situation. Whilst the current disruption on roads and parking due to the construction is potentially having a detrimental effect on footfall in the city, once this is complete the likes of Leicester and Derby may then feel the squeeze as shoppers are attracted to this new retail centre.

Hardest hit by the slump in high street retail were fashion and clothing stores, with a new loss of 104 sites, followed by pubs (down 99 sites) and electrical goods stores (down by 44 sites).

In the latest budget issued last month, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond committed to giving a 900 million-pound tax-cut to small high-street retailers to support them rejuvenate.

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