Multiple retailers closures accelerate to 20 stores a day on average across Britain’s town centres

Multiple retailers closures accelerate to 20 stores a day on average across Britain’s town centres in the first half of 2012, says PwC and Local Data Company analysis.

  • Toy shops, clothes shops,  jewellers, card & poster shops and furniture stores all falling in numbers
  • Discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers and charity shops bucking the trend
  • Multiple retailer closures in July and August reach 32 per day

Dramatic Change  from 2009; Multiple retail store numbers are in decline

From a net increase in 2009 of 1.2%, multiple retailers have for the second consecutive period shown a decline in their numbers, from -0.25% in 2011 to -1.4% in the first half of 2012. This is a net reduction of 953 shops in the first half of 2012 compared to 174 shops in the whole of 2011. Great Britain’s multiple retailers closed 20 stores a day on average across the country’s top 500 town centres in the first half of 2012, according to data compiled on behalf of PwC by the Local Data Company (LDC).

Some categories badly affected while others buck the trend…

The data also revealed that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres computer games, toy shops, clothes shops, gift shops, jewellers, card & poster shops and furniture storeshave been amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2012. Cheque cashing (payday loans), pawnbrokers, discount stores, convenience stores, coffee shops, bookmakers, bureaux de change and charity shops bucked the trend showing growth during the first half of the year.

Many multiple retailers have too many locations and sales do not support the overhead

As we move into the latter half of the year, and towards the key trading period in the run up to Christmas, analysis of July and August 2012 shows that the number of closures has increased to 32 per day for these two months as a result of recent administrations and draw downs.

Mike Jervis, PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist, commented: “All retailers in distress have too many locations. The insolvencies of Game, Peacocks and Clintons demonstrated this in spades. Relatively long leases, with inflexible terms, have been entered into in a growth phase of the economy which is no longer appropriate. Where over-expansion has already taken place, retailers need to face that reality and formulate a strategic plan in partnership with landlords, not in confrontation with them. There are sophisticated tools to analyse the extent to which sales from closed stores migrate to a retailer’s other locations. Properly managed, a large part of the lost sales can be regained. Retail is increasingly becoming a partnership between the store group, its suppliers and the owners of its locations. Like any partnership which falls on hard times, dialogue involving all partners is key.”

Table: Main multiple retailer net changes by classification – January to June 2012

Risers Net Change (Units) Net Change (%) Fallers Net Change (units) Net Change (%)
Convenience food stores 23 4.6 Computer Games -177 -44.1
Bureaux de Change 37 10.9 Home furnishing & furniture -54 -36.7%
Charity shops 35 1.1 Gift shops -82 -36.3
Pawnbrokers 55 8.4 Card & Poster shops -37 -3.9
Cheque cashing (payday loans) 45 11.3 Toy shops -103 -32.8
Pound shops 50 7 Camping goods & Outdoor wear -33 -8.4
Bookmakers 53 2.3 Clothes shops incl lingerie -276 -3.6

Source: Local Data Company

Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC, said: “If all retailers in distress have too many stores, then the appetite of the convenience food sector and value chain players to consume excess high street space, is a symptom of the continuing pressure on consumer spend. Apparent interest in the JJB stores from value chain players shows that some retail sectors are still in growth.”

Table: Openings and closures of multiple retailers by region across the top 500 GB town centres in the first half of 2012


English Region

Number of store closures Number of store openings Change
East Midlands 285 191 -94
East Of England 275 206 -69
Greater London 587 503 -84
North East 124 111 -13
North West 301 188 -113
Scotland 192 176 -16
South East 830 615 -215
South West 377 248 -129
Wales 93 75 -18
West Midlands 349 189 -160
Yorkshire and the Humber 210 168 -42
Total 3,623 2,670 -953

Source: Local Data Company

Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company, concluded: “This rapid increase in the draw down of the multiple retailers in the first half of this year is not unexpected. It also has some way to go as consumer spend remains low and the omni-channel environment requires fewer but larger and more ‘dynamic’ stores. The departure of so many larger stores is a major issue for many town centres, especially in secondary centres, where they have for many years been their high street’s anchors. A similar slowing in growth of the independents combined with this multiples draw down has significant consequences beyond just driving vacancy rates up for many of these town centres.”


About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email
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1 Response to Multiple retailers closures accelerate to 20 stores a day on average across Britain’s town centres

  1. Pingback: I’m not paying to park! Why the British high street might be struggling… #indieretail | Independent Retail

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