From a net increase in 2009 of 1.2%, multiple retailers have for the second consecutive year shown a decline in their numbers from -0.25% in 2011 to -2.7% in 2012. Year on-year, the net reduction in the number of stores climbed more than tenfold from 174 closures in 2011 to 1,779 closures in 2012. Great Britain’s multiple retailers closed 20 stores a day on average across the UK’s top 500 town centres in 2012, according to data compiled for PwC by the Local Data Company (LDC).
The data also revealed that across multiple retailers in 500 town centres card, computer games, clothes, banks, health foods, jewellers, travel agents, recruitment agencies and sports goods shops have been amongst the hardest hit in 2012. Pound shops, pawnbrokers, charity shops, cheque cashing (payday loans), betting shops, supermarkets and coffee shops bucked the trend showing growth during the year.
Analysis of the three months between December 2012 and February 2013 shows that the potential rate of closures- principally through administrations- would accelerate to 28 per day for this period.
Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist, PwC 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.
“If underperforming retailers are to avoid becoming part of these statistics for next year, their shopping baskets should contain an acute knowledge of their customers and their customers' needs; robust cashflow planning; honest analysis of the performance of existing and potential new stores; the bravery to admit mistakes regarding products and stores before dealing with them; clinical attention to costs; early engagement with banks, landlords and suppliers; appropriate debt and capital structures.”
Net Change (Units)
Net Change (%)
Net Change (units)
Net Change (%)
Cheque Cashing/Payday Loans
Card & Poster Shops
Women’s Clothes Shops
Health Foods & Products
Banks & Financial Institutions
Table 1. Top risers and fallers by business type in 2012 (Source: Local Data Company)
Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC said:
"Although the figures are more disappointing than many had hoped, we have to acknowledge that several of the companies with closures had anticipated these for some time. 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.
“While rates remain high, there is still a need for retailers to address cyclical cost increases and, even more, structural changes in ways of doing business. Today’s customer does not differentiate between where they heard about, researched, saw, purchased or returned a product. They expect to be able to effect every part of the shopping transaction from any channel. This is the age of the total retail experience and it demands a very different operating model to be successful.”
Across Great Britain...
Openings and closures of multiple retailers by region across the top 500 GB town centres in 2012
Number of store closures
Number of store openings
East Of England
Yorkshire and the Humber
Table 2. Multiple openings and closures by region 2012 (Source: Local Data Company)
Matthew Hopkinson, director of The Local Data Company, said:
“2012 was the first year that we have seen significant reductions of multiple retailers in town centres across Great Britain with a net loss of nearly 1,800 stores which, if one takes an average size of 4,000 square feet per unit then this equates to over 7 million sq ft of space. This is the equivalent of 131 football pitches, or just over four Westfield London’s.
“We can expect to see this trend continue and indeed 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 the beginning of 2013 has seen the most dramatic period on record as companies controlling more than 1,400 shops went into administration.
“Will the discounters, pawnbrokers, charity shops, coffee shops and supermarkets continue to fill a large proportion of these closing stores? Town centres will have to adapt faster than ever before to maintain their attraction to consumers. Data to be released tomorrow on independent retailers will add to these woes.”
The Local Data Company (LDC) is the UK’s leader in retail location data and insight. Combining powerful proprietary technology with a unique, field researched database of over 500,000 premises, LDC delivers data, market analysis and unique profiling to the leading retailers, financial institutions, analysts, search engines, online directories and the media. Using its army of field researchers, LDC delivers insight on thousands of locations, including high streets, town centres, shopping centres, retail parks and standalone out of town stores. LDC brings data alive and delivers clarity through its integration, aggregation and highly visual delivery.
The analysis is derived from The Local Data Company visiting the top 500 town centres. Each premise was visited and its occupancy status recorded as occupied, vacant or demolished. Vacant units are those units, which did not posses a trading business at that location on the day we visited it. Internal shopping centre data is included where we have had co-operation from the landlord. The total number of multiples premises surveyed was 68,238.
The town centre is defined as per DCLG’s definition of the retail core. Scotland has no official retail core geography so the geography taken is the postal town area where not specified otherwise.
Net change is openings less closures. The percentage change is derived from the net change figure relative to the total number of live multiple businesses.
The closures figure is the total number of closures divided by the number of days in 2012 (365).
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