Restaurants, bars, coffee shops and booksellers continue to do well on the high street.
EUROPE–Retail store closures on the U.K. high streets have fallen to their lowest level since 2010, according to Ratula Chakraborty, a senior lecturer in business management at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School.
“Life seems to be returning to the high streets as the number of shop closures have declined for the first time since 2010,” says Chakraborty. “The women’s fashion apparel stores, shoe shops and bootmakers are still closing and not faring well whilst restaurants, bars, coffee shops and booksellers are doing better.”
Furthermore, Chakraborty reports that PwC and Local Data Company data shows that 2,343 shops opened in high streets, retail centers and shopping malls in the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, 2,564 shops closed during the same period. Overall, there is a net difference of 222 closures, compared to 503 net closures in the first half of 2016.
“The consumer is spending more on experiences and therefore the leisure industry is facing a growth, which in turn is helping the high street,” says Chakraborty. “But this by no means secures the future of the high street as it continues to fight against the onslaught of online retailing, inflation and the need to keep up with the digital age.
“If the leisure sector keeps growing and people spend more on experiences and at the same time if the high street has fewer closures of chain retailers–some stability might be reached but that is not the current picture in the high street despite the positive news of fewer stores closing in the first half of 2017.”