High street store closures at six year low

boarded-up shop

The number of store closures across Scotland’s high streets has fallen to its lowest level in the last six years, according to a new report.

The performance in 2018 means there has been a net loss of more than 500 stores across Scotland’s eight largest retail centres since 2013, with 1,816 closures being offset by just 1,281 openings.

The analysis by the Local Data Company for PwC reveals that 265 shops closed across key towns and cities in Scotland last year as the retail sector continues to grapple with the growth in online shopping and wider economic uncertainty. In contrast 146 new stores opened, resulting in 119 net closures, a net change rate of -3.65%.

This improvement from -4.48% in 2017 means Scotland is the only one of 11 nations and regions in Great Britain to see a drop in net closures in 2018. However last year’s net closure number remained higher than in any other year since the data was first gathered in 2013.

Reflecting their size, Edinburgh and Glasgow were hardest hit with 32 net closures each, closely followed by Aberdeen with 27.

Paisley saw nine net closures, Falkirk six, Dundee and Ayr had five each, while Perth had three.

There was a total net loss of 10 convenience stores across the eight towns and cities last year.

The net change across Great Britain was -3.6% with a record net 2,481 stores disappearing from the top 500 high streets in the full year. A total of 3,372 shops opened, compared to 5,853 closures. The net loss in 2017 was -1,772 stores.

Mark Addley, Head of Business Recovery Services for PwC in Scotland, commented: “We may have seen a reduction in the number of stores closing across Scotland, but this is coupled with store openings at almost half the total we were seeing five years ago, so there remain enormous challenges across our high streets.”

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