Data reveals 11,000 shops closed during first half of 2020

New data has revealed that 11,000 shopping chain operators closed between January and August this year.

The Local Data Company and PwC found that around 5,000 shops opened during the period, leaving a net decline of 6,000 stores – almost double the decline during in the same period last year.

Coronavirus lockdowns were blamed for the trend, with York being the city worst hit, experiencing 55 net closures, followed by Durham with 43, Corby with 26 and Bangor with 21.

“What we have seen is an acceleration of existing changes in shopping behaviours alongside forced experimentation from COVID-19 restrictions,” commented Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC.

“We all knew that consumers were shifting to shopping online or changing their priorities in terms of the things they buy, but what COVID-19 has done is create a step-change in these underlying trends to where they have now become the new normal.”

The report showed a steady rise of around 1,000 shop closures per year since 2017, when the total was 6,453.

Lucy Stainton, head of retailing strategic partnerships at Local Data Company, added: “Agile retailers who are able to innovate and adapt quickly, such as Pret launching its coffee subscription service, or e-bike retailer Pure Electric who have opened 13 stores this year, will be the most resilient as we head towards the end of a year which arguably has been the most challenging in recent history.”

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