18 high street stores closed each day in the first half of 2013, with women’s clothing, video and photography stores most affected, according to new data from PwC.
The data, compiled by the Local Data Company, shows that within 500 UK town centres 3,366 stores closed in a six-month period compared to 3,157 stores opening – a net decrease of 209.
Nevertheless, the net reduction in the number of stores fell 78% year-on-year, from 953 closures in the first half of 2012, during which time 20 stores closed per day.
Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, said: “The shifts in multiple retailers’ stores portfolios are a barometer for changes in our society and its habits.
“Closures in areas such as the photography and video sectors reflect the sea-change in how consumers are spending – the well-publicised insolvencies at Jessops and Blockbuster are stark proof of that.”
The data also revealed that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres, banks, recruitment agencies, shoe shops, furniture shops and travel agents had been among the hardest hit in the first half of 2013.
However, during the same period, charity shops (97% net increase), cheque cashing (62%) and betting shops (53%) were among those opening the most new branches.
Jervis said: “Upticks in areas such as cheque cashing and pawnbrokers reflects a society where a sizeable part of the population is forced to turn to these types of borrowing for basic needs.”
Regionally, the South East and East Midlands suffered the highest levels of closures in the first six months of 2013 with both seeing a net fall in stores over the period (-44% and -46% respectively), while Yorkshire performed best with an increase of 21%.