Discount stores, payday loan providers, pawnbrokers and gutted shells now line the high-street where bustling toy shops, furniture stores and computer game shops once stood.
In 2011 174 shops closed across the whole of Britain. In 2012, 953 closed in the first half of the year alone.
Since the end of June 2012, shop closures have accelerated from 20 a day to 32 a day.
Matthew Hopkinson, director of the Local Data Company (LDC), which conducted the research, said: “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.”
Shoppers are drawn to shopping areas with large department stores, visiting the smaller shops only as an afterthought. Without the larger stores, shoppers lose the incentive to visit, putting the small shops out of business.
The number of shops headed by retail chains fell 1.4% in the first half of this year, which included a 44% drop in computer game shops and a 37% fall in furniture stores. However, bureau de changes noted an 11% increase, discount stores recorded 7% and pawnbrokers enjoyed an 8.4% increase, showing that despite the downturn, some retail sectors remain in growth.
Chief retail adviser to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who conducted the study in partnership with LDC, believes this growth has been driven by consumer demand, reflecting the changing habits of Britain’s shoppers.
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