Empty High Street

2,656 shops have closed on Britain’s high streets so far this year

The exodus to online shopping has led to the lowest number of physical store openings since 2011.

Research from PwC and The Local Data Company published today also reveals 15 stores a day are closing as the high street witnesses a change in shopping habits.

In the first six months of 2016, 2,656 shops closed on Britain’s high streets, a slight increase on the 14 stores a day reported to have closed in the first six months of 2015.

Meanwhile, the report says the number of new openings has also fallen, leading to a net 503 stores disappearing from high streets, retail parks and shopping centres in the first half of 2016.

It is the highest net decline since H1 2012, when 953 more stores closed than opened, according to the two companies.

The report said a contributing factor was the advance of online shopping, which has led to an overhaul of retail store strategies for national chains.

LDC analysis shows there are more than 22,200 click & collect services across 130 of the largest national retailers.

“To increase footfall to their stores, it is key for retailers to ensure the in-store offering and price point is relevant for the younger demographic who are particularly high users of online channels and very price-savvy,” said Madeleine Thomson, retail and consumer leader at PwC.

However, she added: “Despite the uncertainty and fall in number of store openings, consumer sentiment has rebounded following the post-EU referendum dip. With employment levels still high and price inflation yet to hit the shops, the majority of the UK public believe they will be better off in 12 months.

“If we look ahead to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, upcoming research shows that 27% of consumers intend to make purchases, spending on average £203 over the weekend. Of this spend, 17% will be in store.”