30 major UK chains failed in 2016, fashion key sector to suffer - report
Thirty medium-to-large retail firms closed their doors for the final time in the UK last year, a 20% rise year-on-year. That meant the closure of 1,504 stores, compared to 728 in 2015, with the fashion sector seeing a disproportionately high number of closures.
But while the figures were higher than 2016, they were skewed by the BHS closure and were actually lower than every year post-2010 and were among the lowest in the past decade.
Data from the Centre for Retail Research showed that while the closure numbers were below many other years since 2007, 2016, there saw the largest number of workers affected by closures. The figure reached 26,110 workers compared to 6,845 in 2015, mainly due to the BHS failure.
The high street retailer had 11,000 employees and 164 stores before it fell into administration on April 25 last year. It closed its last UK stores in August and was taken over by Qatar’s Al Mana Group, which relaunched it online.
Other key retailers that went under in 2016 included Scottish womenswear chain Ness, which failed only last month due to working capital difficulties. However, its 105 staff have been retained and the business continues to trade.
American Apparel closed all but one of its UK stores after its US parent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. There are 13 stores and 95 staff affected.
Gap Inc also announced the closure of all but one of its Banana Republic stores in the UK. And venerable formalwear chain Austin Reed shut its doors in June, affecting 155 stores and 1,000 staff.
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