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Britain's High Streets are feeling the pressure

25th Oct 16 12:55 pm

High Streets are being taken over by tobacconists, estate agents and jewelers as the number of shops in Britain falls at its fastest rate in four years.

In the first half of 2016 alone the UK saw 15 shops close a day, the number of new openings has also fallen to the lowest level for five years, according to a report highlighting the effects on the retail sector.

Fashion shops are taking a huge hit after 206 of them closed in the first half of this year, with only 119 new stores opening, this lead to a net decline of 87. Tobacconists increased by a net of 28, with 60 openings across high streets and only 32 closures. Meanwhile estate agents added 26 sites and jewelers 24.

The period covered by the report, which was created by Accountancy firm PwC and the Local Data Company, included the demise of BHS stores after the firm went into administration earlier this year. However the last of the 22 BHS stores did not close until the end of August.

Matthew Hopkinson, the director of the Local Data Company, told the Guardian: “The spaces left by the traditional occupants of our high streets are being increasingly filled by health care operators, food and beverage operators and the ongoing rise of the discounters.”

The high streets across the country are finding it difficult after a shift in spending from physical shops to online, tighter household incomes, and increases in business rates and the national living wage which has increased overall costs.

Greater London saw the biggest drop in shops as 164 were lost. The report has claimed that retailers maybe be preparing for business rates to increase as of next year. No area in the UK enjoyed an increase in the number of shops. Although the North-East of England however only lost five.

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