More than 20 shops on high street shut every day last year

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HIGH street chains closed more than 20 stores a day in 2012 as retail failures accelerated.

Figures from PwC and the Local Data Company (LDC) reveal cards, computer games, clothing and jewellery retailers were the worst-affected last year, while pound shops, pawnbrokers and money lenders all increased their presence on the high street.

Last year saw a flurry of failures including electricals chain Comet, sportswear retailer JJB and greeting cards chain Clinton Cards.

Multiple retailers closed a net 2.7 per cent of stores in 2012, a sharp increase on the 0.25 per cent rate of decline a year earlier.

The net reduction in the number of chain stores leapt to 1,779 in 2012 from 174 in 2011.

Randal Casson, partner in the retail team at PwC in Leeds, said: “2012 saw more retail chains go into insolvency than ever before. The failed chains generally shared two problems – too many stores and too little multi-channel activity. A number of them had failed to deal with their underlying issues by hiding behind light touch restructuring processes, especially company voluntary arrangements. 2013 has seen the downward trend become even worse.”

Failures so far this year include music chain HMV and youth fashion group Republic.

Mr Casson added: “What is surprising is the speed at which stores have been picked up by value and grocery retailers in particular. Good businesses with good operating models and good people don’t fail.”

Yorkshire saw 403 store closures and 304 openings, a net fall of 99, up from 26 in 2011.

Matthew Hopkinson, LDC director, said: “We can expect to see this trend continue and accelerate in 2013 as more leases come up for renewal along with the ever-increasing demands from consumers for space that delivers an experience good enough to pull them away from their technology devices. The end of 2012 and beginning of 2013 has seen the most dramatic period on record as companies controlling more than 1,400 shops went into administration.”