Independents show resilience and innovation as multiples bail out.
More independent jewellery stores opened on UK high streets than closed over the past year, according to independent research.
Across the retail landscape, independent stores are opening up faster than closing in town and city centres, but multiples continue to close or move out of town.
The Local Data Company research showed that over 15,000 independent shops opened their doors for the first time in 2011, outstripping closures by over 2,500.
“Reports of the death of the High Street have been greatly exaggerated. Independents have been opening shops in increasing numbers while multiples have been shutting up or moving out. We told the government this throughout the Portas Review and this report from LDC makes the real numbers in the debate crystal clear – there was a net gain of over 2,500 independent shops in Britain last year, that is about ten small towns’ worth of new shops in just twelve months," said Michael Weedon, deputy chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, in response to the report.
However, he cautioned that local authorities and central government must accelerate moves to help retailers. "If the government and local councils want to save their town centres and to create growth then they have to ensure that the environment is right to keep these businesses in business. Put parking, property business rates and rents and planning [weighted in favour of town centre projects] right and, as these figures demonstrate, independent shops will do the rest.”