As multiple stores such as New Look, Maplin and Toys ‘R’ Us have seen issues and closures, the performance of independent retailers looks in stark contrast.
Inspired by the resurgence of independent stores, British marketplace OnBuy.com considered retail and leisure multiple and independent openings and closures in 2017. The company also examined where multiple stores have declined in comparison to areas independent stores are opening.
It was found multiple (chain) store closures have been seen in every region –except Yorkshire and the Humber, with a rise of 11 openings. The steepest falls were seen in the West Midlands (143 multiple closures), Greater London (92 multiple closures) and the East of England (86 multiple closures).
Independents, on the other hand, grew everywhere except in the East (19 independent closures) and South West (29 independent closures), closing at a much lower rate than multiples across the UK.
The North West (230 independent openings), West Midlands (194 independent openings) and Scotland (114 independent openings) saw extraordinary growth in their independent store markets.
OnBuy.com also considered retail and leisure vacancy rates by region, since the end of 2016, and found that only three regions have seen an increase: Greater London (+0.1%), the South West (+0.1%) and Yorkshire and the Humber – with the biggest increase of 0.6%.
The best decrease was in the North West, which improved by -0.2%.
Indeed, regions that currently hold the highest rate of vacancy include the North West (15.1%), the North East (14.8%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (14.5%.) Alternately, the East of England (10%), South East (9.9%) and Greater London (7.5%) hold the lowest rate of vacancy.
Onbuy.com managing director Cas Paton commented: “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.
“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.”