More stores closing than opening across the North West

More trouble on the high street

The number of stores closing exceeded the number of those opening across the North West in the first half of 2017, as the high street continues to respond to customer demand and the continuing economic uncertainty.

According to PwC research compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC), which tracked 67,521 outlets operated by multiple retailers in 500 town centres across Great Britain, in the first six months of 2017, 174 shops opened and 184 closed across the North West’s high streets.

PwC said that while this might paint a negative picture, it is an improvement on the first half of 2016 where there was a net fall of 35 stores. Overall for the first six months of 2017 there was an increase of 20% in the number of retailers opening and only a small increase of 3% in the number of retailers shutting up shop across the region compared to the same period last year.

Eight town centres in the North West saw a positive net change in the first six months of 2017, with Manchester, Kendal, Lytham St. Annes, Blackpool, Preston, Leigh and Accrington all experiencing more openings than closures.

Liverpool and Burnley had the highest net reduction in the North West, followed by Wigan, Oldham, Stockport and Bolton amongst others.

Satellite TV equipment services, fast food shops, sports goods shops, health clubs and tobacconists were amongst those growing at the fastest rate in the North West during the first half of 2017. The data also reveals that across multiple retailers in the 29 town centres analysed in the North West, charity shops, furniture shops, gift shops and travel agents have been amongst the hardest hit in the first half of 2017.

Neil McTiffin, PwC’s North West retail & consumer leader, said: “Whilst the North West has experienced a negative result in the difference between opening and closures in the first half of the year the gap is closing. The fact that there has been a 20% increase in openings compared to the same period last year indicates a potential shift in consumer confidence across the region with consumers opting for a multichannel approach to retail combining the convenience of online with traditional high street shopping.”

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