Retail closures rise in first half of 2014

The number of retailers shutting up shop in the region has continued to rise, increasing from 265 in the first half of 2013 to 297 for the same period this year, according to PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company.

Manchester was one of the few cities in the UK which saw a net increase, with 39 stores opening and 36 closing in the same period. However, Liverpool town centre saw a net reduction of 21 stores.

This is coupled with a decrease in the number of shop openings, dropping from 241 in the first six months of 2013, to 216 for H1 2014. This is a net reduction of 81 stores in the region.

Nationally, the rate of store closures has fallen slightly to 16 per day in the first half of 2014, but the gulf between openings and closures has widened as withdrawal levels remain high alongside significantly fewer debuts. The study of 500 town centres across Great Britain showed that 3,003 outlets closed in a six-month period compared to 2,597 openings, a net reduction of 406 shops.

Betting shops, coffee shops, banks, pound shops, charity shops, convenience stores and American restaurants were among those opening the most branches, during the first half of 2014.

The showed that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres, it was building societies, video libraries, pawnbrokers, mobile phone shops, men's clothing shops and fashion shops that have been amongst the hardest hit.

David Kelly, North West advisory partner at PwC, said: "I expect to see multiple retailers continue to approach openings in town centres very cautiously. This is likely to mean shorter-term leases and more temporary pop up type formats particularly in secondary locations.

"The expanders are still the charity shops, the discount stores and supermarket convenience outlets. It's good to see banks re-opening branches as 'challenger' banks grow and there is a new emphasis on retail offering by some of the established banks."

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