Mar 7, 2018
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Independent store openings soar in Britain while chains are suffering

Mar 7, 2018

Independent retailers are faring surprisingly well despite the adverse trading conditions, with the number of independent store openings soaring over the last year.

Shopping centres like Hammerson have created spaces dedicated tonly o independent retailers - Photo: Hammerson

The rise across most of Britain comes at a time when national retail chains like New Look, Maplin, Mothercare and Toys ‘R’ Us slim down their store estates as a result of the consumer squeeze.

According to British marketplace OnBuy.com, all regions across Britain saw increases in independent openings except for the East and South West, which declined their number of indies by 19 and 29 respectively.

The North West, West Midlands and Scotland saw extraordinary growth in their independent store markets, up by 230, 294 and 114 openings respectively.

Meanwhile, chain store closures have been seen in every region, with some part of the UK like the West Midlands (-143, Greater London (-92) and the East of England (-86) reporting huge losses.

Beauty salons, barbers, cafés and convenience stores are leading the independent trend, while women’s clothing stores and shoe shops are among the sectors suffering the largest closures.

When it comes to vacancy rates, Greater London, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber were the only regions seeing an increase in 2017. The North West, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber were the regions with the highest rate of vacancy.

“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,” commented Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com.

“It is sad to see well-loved, British companies closing– but we must move with the times. Keen business men 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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