Rate of store closures on Yorkshire's high streets begins to slow

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The rate of store closures in Yorkshire has slowed during 2019 with the region one of only a handful of locations to have seen a reduction in net closures.

Yorkshire saw a net loss of 89 stores during the first half of the year, compared to 117 during the same period last year. A total of 241 stores closed during the period, with 152 opening.

Leeds Trinity

Leeds Trinity

The towns of Pontefract, Beverley and Grimsby saw an increase in the amount of retail outlets while Leeds, York and Sheffield saw the heaviest decline. Pocklington and Goole saw no overall change in the number of shops on their streets.

Read more: All today's Yorkshire business news
Yorkshire, along with the South East, East Midlands and the North East, was among the best performing regions for net closures.

However, the national picture continues to look bleak. During the first six months of the year 1,234 British shops shut their doors for the last time, amounting to an average of 16 per day, with online shopping and restructuring activity behind the majority of closures.

The data was produced by the Local Data Company for PwC and showed that men’s clothes shops, pubs, estate agents, butchers and bakers were the sectors which saw the sharpest decline in Yorkshire.

Indepedent stores

Indepedent stores

Read more: Every store to have impacted on Yorkshire's high streets this year
Joel Smith, PwC’s Retail Lead for Yorkshire & Humber, said: “The positive for the region is that year on year the net fall in stores has slowed, however quite simply openings across the region aren’t replacing closures at a fast-enough rate with some of our towns experiencing no new openings – that said Yorkshire & Humber was one of only four regions to experience a slowdown in net figures year on year.

“The reality for many of us is that we now prefer to shop online and increasingly eat, drink and entertain at home. As a result the high street is having to adapt to an overcapacity in retail and leisure space resulting from these channel shifts.

“The key for retailers and leisure operators across Yorkshire & Humber is to continue looking at their businesses - including their store portfolios - to make sure they have a strong brand

and product offering. We continue to see the winners flourishing because they serve the needs of the customer by offering things that only a physical store can achieve underpinned by a

clear proposition.”

Across Great Britain A record net 1,234 stores disappeared from Great Britain’s top 500 high streets in H1 2019. In total, 1,634 shops opened, compared to 2,868 closures. The shortfall between openings and closures is the highest level since the LDC analysis began, as withdrawals from the high street and retailers restructuring their portfolios continued a-pace into the first six months of 2019.

There was a slight increase in store openings in the first half of 2019 compared with last year (from 1,569 in 2018 to 1,634 in 2019), potentially indicating some renewed optimism amongst high street operators. Interestingly, seven of the top ten sectors for store openings also featured amongst the top ten sectors for closures, such as fashion.

Fashion retail continues to be the hardest hit sector, with 10 stores a week closing, mainly as a result of high profile administrations, alongside CVAs and restructurings -particularly amongst major mid- market chains.