It’s all change on the high street

Andy Lyon

ESTATE agents, tobacconists, takeaways and charity shops, are gradually elbowing fashion retailers, pubs and accessory retailers off the East Midlands high streets, according to the latest PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company.

The analysis of 66,401 outlets operated by multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Britain, found that in the first six months of 2016, 125 shops opened and 146 closed on the East Midlands high streets.

This represents a 22% decrease in the number of retailers opening and a 26% decrease in the number of retailers shutting up shop in the region compared to first half of 2015.

However, the data suggest that new arrivals and recent closures are gradually reshaping the region’s high streets.
Estate agents, tobacconists, takeaway food shops and charity shops were among those growing at the fastest rate in the East Midlands during the first half of 2016.

The data also reveals that across multiple retailers in the 34 town centres analysed in the East Midlands, fashion shops, public houses, mobile phone shops, men’s clothing shops, banks and fashion accessories retailers have been amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2016.

Some 10 town centres in the East Midlands saw a positive net change in the first six months of 2016, with Belper, Chesterfield, East Retford, Grantham, Leicester, Long Eaton, Melton Mowbray, Nottingham, Sleaford and Stamford all experiencing more openings than closures. Derby had the highest net reduction in the East Midlands, followed by Kettering, Lincoln, Northampton and Boston.

Andy Lyon, partner and retail specialist at PwC in the East Midlands, said: “Consumer confidence was strong in the first half of 2016 and this latest data shows that key towns cities, such as Leicester and Nottingham, continued to prosper as consumers were drawn to larger retail centres.

“Competition for consumer spend across the region remains high so some cities and towns, such as Northampton and Derby, are having to fight hard to attract consumers to their high streets.

“To increase footfall to their stores, it is key for retailers to ensure their in store offering and price point is relevant for the younger demographic who are particularly high users of online channels and very price savvy.

“Our Total Retail research** shows that consumers value shop assistants with a deep knowledge of the product range, the ability to check stock quickly and to see and order online ranges in store.”