The Retail Market Trends end of year report for 2015 by the Local Data Company (LDC) and British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) shows that there was a net gain in the number of independent jewellers opening versus closing in 2015.
Independent jewellers saw a net gain of 4.35% in the number of stores opening versus closing in 2015, and were amongst among those growing at the fastest rate during the first half of 2015.
Jewellers were, however were the amongst the top 10 closures, with 98 units nationwide.
Data released by LDC and the BIRA shows that independents opened the fewest number of shops in Britain’s top 500 town centres since LDC records began in 2009. The number of Independent shops opening reduces from 11 a day in 2010 to just one a week in 2015.
Independent shops saw an increase of 117 units (0.11%) in 2015 versus a peak of growth of 4.01% (3,949 shops) in 2010.
Matthew Hopkinson, Director at LDC commented: “Independents are a key component of our high streets and this is seen both in the fact they represent a majority (65%) of the units but also the diversity and vibrancy they can bring along with their direct connection to local economies. Whilst the numbers remain positive, the dramatic decline in the growth of independents from eleven openings a day to just one a week reflects the challenges many independent businesses face. A number of factors are at play but one of the major factors has been the move of many ‘high street’ anchor retailers such as Next, M&S and River Island moving from the high street shop out of town retail parks. These moves result in lower footfall volumes as people follow them out of town, which has a big impact for the smaller retailers left behind.”
Analysis of town centres, shopping centres and retail parks shows that chain retailers have continued to decline with a net loss of -1,147 shops (-0.59%) in 2015 across GB, which compares to -1,436 shops (-0.76%) in 2014.
The Yorkshire and the Humber showed the greatest increase of independents at 189 units (+0.81%) versus +183 units (+0.82%) in 2014.
Greater London continues to show the greatest decline of independents at -347 units (-0.51% versus -0.34% in 2014).
Sparkhill, Birmingham has the highest percentage of independents at 95.0% of its total occupied units (based on locations with 50+ units).
Mike Jervis, Insolvency partner and head of deals retail specialist at PwC, commented: “The lower rate of closures in 2015 reflects optimism amongst retailers and indeed most consumer confidence indices support this. In addition, retail insolvencies are at an historical low. Anecdotal evidence suggests that currently fewer leases are renewed on expiry so the closures reflect passive strategies by retailers as well as active closures. As more and more institutional leases expire, this is an area for landlords’ attention.”