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Independent openings fall into decline

Published: 21 October 2015
For the first time since 2012 independent shops have gone into decline, closing more shops than they opened in the first half of this year.
Independent openings fall into decline
Figures out today from The Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) reveal a loss of 144 shops (-0.14%) in the first six months of 2015. This compares to a net increase of 289 shops (+0.28%) in the same period in 2014.

Independents now account for 65% (-1% change from 2014) of all retail and leisure units in Great Britain.

BIRA deputy chief executive Michael Weedon said that "the high street has run out of road. The number of openings of independents has remained fairly consistent since the crash...But closures have been accelerating. This year they have caught up with and overtaken openings."

Chain retailers also remain on the way down, with a net loss of 437 shops (-0.67%) in the first half compared to a loss of 203 (-1.17%) in the 2014 period.

The top independent openings over the first half were, in order: barbers; mobile phones; tobacconists; cafes; restaurants/bars; hair and beauty salons; nail salons; beauty salons; American restaurants; and health clubs.

Top independent closures were: women's clothes; newsagents; pubs; jewellers; Indian restaurants; night clubs; confectioners; discount stores; hairdressers; and booksellers.

Towns/areas with the greatest percentage of independent retailers were, in order: Portobello Road, London; Goodmayes, Ilford; Conwy; Barry West; and Old Bexley. The least independent towns were Ellenbrook, Hatfield; Yate, Bristol; Cowley, Oxford; Bracknell; and Runcorn.

Over the period high streets lost 238 units net and shopping centres lost 325, while retail parks gained 250.

"The good times are no longer rolling," Mr Weedon concluded. "Shop prices have been falling for more than two years. The costs of people and property continue to rise. When the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on November 25 and reports on his next set of conclusions about the future of business rates this should be in the forefront of his thinking."

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