High Streets Initiative · 14 September 2017

Britain sees sharp decline in shop openings in 2017

Rustic Open Sign
Q2 saw the biggest drop in UK shop opening numbers, in two consecutive quarters, in the past five years
The second quarter of 2017 saw the number of shop openings across Britain fall be 84 per cent compared to the same period in 2016, new retail figures have found.

The slowdown in UK shop openings resulted in a net loss of 69 shops in the second quarter of the year, compared with a net increase of 428 shops in the first three months of 2017.

The net difference between this year’s first and second quarters of -497 shops is the biggest drop in the number of shop openings the UK has experienced, in two consecutive quarters, in the past five years.

While showing volatility over time, the retail statistics, collated by the Local Data Company in the latest issue of its bi-annual report on the state of the retail and leisure industries, show that overall the number of shop openings has fallen significantly.

From the 2012 quarterly UK average of 4, 006 shop openings, in the second quarter of this year the figure has fallen by 25 per cent to 2, 995 openings.

Commenting on the fall in shop openings, LDC spokesperson Matthew Hopkinson’said: There was a striking turnaround in the second quarter of 2017, especially when compared to the trends of 2016.

the impact of Brexit is clear with Q2 showing a net loss of nearly 500 shops versus positive growth in the previous quarter. Not only has the trend turned negative with more closures than openings but the volume of activity has also dropped by 25 per cent.

Hopkinson also noted the rise in shop vacancy rates in the second quarter of 2017 as a potential point of future concern for the retail sector.

By June, the UK average shop vacancy rate had risen to 12.2 per cent, with new vacancies (shops that have stood vacant for less than a year) also increasing from 3.3 per cent to 3.7 per cent of the total number of shops since the start of the year.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.