Independent shops go into decline in a 'fluid and challenging the retail environment' for high streets and town centres

Data released by The Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association (bira) shows that traditional independent shops have closed more shops than were opened in the first half of 2015 in Britain’s town centres whilst the chains also continue their retreat. For the first time since 2012 independent shops have gone into decline with a loss of 144 shops (-0.14%) in the first half of 2015. This compares to a net increase of +289 shops (+0.28%) for the same period in 2014.

Download the data tables here

Matthew Hopkinson, director at the Local Data Company commented:
“The first half of 2015 has shown how fluid and challenging the retail environment is be you an independent or a chain retailer. Of significance is that independents, which account for 65% of outlets nationally, have gone into decline for the first time since 2012. At the same time the chains have continued their retreat from high streets, which will, in part, have impacted the independent shops that were left behind through lower footfall and thus sales.

The make up of our high street continues to change and evolve, be it through government regulation for betting shops and payday loan shops, the price of gold for jewellers or the rise of eating out and vaping instead of traditional smoking. There has been significant expansion of chain food and beverage outlets by the chains and this has impacted the independents as has the rise of the convenience store for the newsagent.

Total retail – a seamless on and offline customer experience that delivers what people want when they want it. If you can do this then you will make money but if you are limited to ‘passing trade’ then the costs of doing business be it rents, rates or wages make this unviable and terminal. Opportunity knocks for every type of retailer and leisure operator, the tools and environment exist for success it is just down to knowing what tools are right for your customer and, how and when to use them.

The next two years will potentially see significant changes which may be a threat or opportunity for our shops be it interest rates, wage inflation, rising rents, changes to business rates, online players taking physical space or most importantly a more informed and demanding consumer with more technology in their pocket than you could ever imagined two years ago. All is to play for but understanding what is happening and where will be the key to success.”

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