Independent stores stronger in UK but fashion sector lags - LDC report
Traditional independent retailers opened more shops than they closed in 2016 across Britain, according to the LDC and the British Independent Retailers Association (bira).
The pace of openings in Britain’s top 500 town centres came as national chains continued to see a fall. Independent shops saw an increase of 159 shops, which is a tiny percentage of the total but is still 36% more than opened in 2015.
Chain retailers remained in decline with a net loss of 896 shops in 2016 across the top 500 town centres, which compares to 498 shops lost in 2015.
But, as always, there’s a sting in the tail for the fashion sector as it didn’t come in the list of sector that saw more openings than closures.
Beauty did well though. In fact, men’s barbers added the most stores, followed by beauty salons, while combined hair & beauty salons also made the top 10 list. LDC said the service sector, into which those stores fall, saw the biggest increase with 587 new units opening compared to only 385 a year earlier.
But while cafés and convenience stores also opened at a steady clip, the fashion sector suffered. For a start, what LDC calls the ‘comparison goods’ sector (that is, non-foods) shed 635 units, worse than the 487 closures in 2015.
In fact, womenswear stores were second only to newsagents in the number of units lost overall, while jewellers and shoe shops also came into the 10 categories that saw more closures than openings.
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