Almost four stores a day closed in Yorkshire in 2023 as 'challenging' retail landscape continues

Almost four stores a day closed in Yorkshire last year as the region’s retail landscape continued to be challenging, according to new research.

Yorkshire and the Humber saw a -2.6 per cent net change in the number of shops in the region. Although 1,297 stores closed in 2023 – almost four a day, 841 – two each day – opened.

The latest data on store openings and closures from PwC, created in association with the Local Data Company, tracks over 200,000 outlets in over 3,500 locations to gain a picture of the changing landscape of high streets, retail parks, shopping centres and stand alone outlets.

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Store numbers have been decreasing slightly over the past nine years in Yorkshire and the Humber, with a net change of -9.6 per cent in the years 2015 to 2019 This trend changed to -11.9 per cent for the years 2019 to 2023, with an acceleration of closures in the area post pandemic.

Joel Smith, PwC partner and consumer markets lead for the North.Joel Smith, PwC partner and consumer markets lead for the North.
Joel Smith, PwC partner and consumer markets lead for the North.

The data shows that retail parks have remained resilient since before the pandemic, and are the only locations to have grown slightly in 2023, with a net change of 0.3 per cent.

Joel Smith, PwC partner and consumer markets lead for the North, said: “Our latest data indicates a challenging retail landscape for Yorkshire and The Humber. The closure of almost four stores per day is a concern, but the opening of an average of two new stores each day indicates some resilience in the region.

"The slight growth in retail parks and hospitality shows the opportunities for growth that are out there, and with hospitality in particular, it shows the recovery from the pandemic.”

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He added: “There is a real and immediate need for businesses and landlords to understand why consumers prefer retail parks over high streets, and if it's more than just convenience.

"There is clearly still an appetite to invest in physical stores in the region, but the evolution in consumer habits can and should lead the strategy around business growth.”

The latest research finds that the country witnessed an increase in both openings and closures in 2023 compared with the previous year.

The acceleration in store closures can primarily be attributed to one-off large-scale restructuring in parts of retail and hospitality. There were a total of 14,081 store closures in 2023, averaging at 39 closures per day.

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The figure is higher than 2022’s total of 11,530, but lower than every year between 2017 and 2021, and in line with the 2016 figure of 14,439.

On a positive note, 9,138 new stores opened across Great Britain in 2023 - the highest figure since 2019, illustrating the continued importance of physical sites. This averages at 25 new stores opening each day across England, Scotland and Wales combined.