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Indies growth ‘positive’

Study shows more independent stores are opening as multiple closures hit headlines


WITH multiple store closures hitting the headlines, a study by has shown that more independents are opening.

The comparison between where multiples – brands with more than five stores nationally – have declined and where indies are opening, shows big boys closing in every region except Yorkshire & The Humber, where there were 11 openings.
The steepest falls were in the West Midlands with 143 closures, Greater London lost 92 stores and 86 were closed in the East Of England.
On the other hand, independents grew everywhere except in the East where 19 indies shut and South West, which lost 29 shops – still a much lower rate than with multiples.
The North West saw 230 independent openings, 194 in the West Midlands and 114 in Scotland showing extraordinary growth in their independent store markets. Barbers, beauty salons, cafes and tearooms, convenience stores and tobacconists/vaping shops are classifications leading the change, according to The Retail And Leisure Trends Report by the Local Data Company, while pubs and inns, women’s clothes, newsagents, bookmakers and shoe shops are suffering vast closures. considered retail and leisure vacancy rates by region, since the end of 2016, and found that only three regions had a worse level – Greater London has 0.1 per cent more vacancies as does the South West while Yorkshire & The Humber had the biggest increase of 0.6 per cent.
The best improvement was in the North West, where vacancies dropped by 0.2 per cent, although the region still has the highest rate of retail vacancies in the country at 15.1 per cent, closely followed by the North East at 14.8 per cent and Yorkshire & The Humber with 14.5 per cent.
Greater London has the lowest rate at 7.5 per cent, with the South East at 9.9 per cent and East Of England at 10 per cent. MD Cas Paton said: “In the grand scheme of things, vacancy rates are low. The fact that only three regions have seen an increase in vacancies is positive and we must focus on this. Otherwise, we risk consistent, unobliging news of multiple closures obscuring our vision and progress to develop the retail world.
“It is sad to see well-loved, British companies closing – but we must move with the times. Keen businessmen and women have their eye on vacant spaces across the country and we must support our local independents, bricks-and-mortar businesses. It’s the only way for retail to survive.”

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