High Street shop closures dropped 80% last year

The net reduction in stores fell from 1779 to 371 year-on-year, as betting chains and charity shops filled the gaps.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 16 Jun 2014

A ‘return in retail confidence’ has been attributed to the slowdown in high street shop closures last year.

Retail chains with more than five outlets closed at a pace of 16 stores a day in town centres last year, down from 20 a day in 2012, data from PwC and the Local Data Company showed. And the net reduction in stores - those opening minus those closing - narrowed by 80% to 371 in 2013, down from 1,779 the year before.

However, the figures show that the high street is continuing to become less diverse. Photographic shops, women’s clothing shops, banks, travel agents, mobile phone outlets, recruitment agencies and shoe shops were among the hardest hit in 2013. However the number of charity shops, convenience stores, betting shops, cheque cashing and coffee shops grew.

Convenience stores, the biggest winners, increased by 10%, while the number of photography outlets slumped by 42%.

Top risers and fallers by business type in 2013 (Source: Local Data Company)


Net change (%)


Net change (%)

Hotels - 3 stars


Video libraries


Convenience stores


Photographic stores


Cheque cashing


Recruitment agencies


Sports goods shops


Travel agents


Charity shops


Clothes - women




Banks and building societies


Coffee shops


Fashion shops


‘The well-documented insolvencies of Jessops, HMV and Blockbuster account for most of the highlighted closures. The recycling of shops from these estates, especially into convenience stores, has been the biggest positive trend in 2013,’ Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, said.

However, PwC warned that towns will continue to lose shops each year as online shopping continues to become more popular. It is estimated that UK shoppers spent £91bn online in 2013, up 16% year-on-year, according to the IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index published in January.

‘The oversupply of shops nationally has resulted in reduced rents and created opportunities for what many perceive as less desirable shops- betting shops, cheque cashing and tattoo parlours to fill the vacuum left by the retreating ‘anchor chains’,’ Matthew Hopkinson, director of The Local Data Company, said. It looks like the high street is in the process of being re-shaped to cater for the growing 'poverty economy'.

Consumer confidence rose to its highest level in three years in January, according to a report from Lloyds Bank.

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