Indies on the up as major retail chains navigate tricky conditions
Research by online retailer OnBuy has revealed that independent store openings have grown across the UK, with Scotland, the North West and West Midlands leading the charge.
The analysis compared areas in which new stores opened against areas where chain stores had declined. The only regions not to include independent retail store growth were the East and South East.
The study found that multiples that consisted of more than five stores nationally had seen closures in every region of the UK, except Yorkshire where there was a rise of 11 openings.
The steepest falls were seen in the West Midlands (-143 multiple closures), Greater London (-92 multiple closures) and the East of England (-86 multiple closures).
Independents, on the other hand, grew everywhere except in the East (-19 independent closures) and South West (-29 independent closures) of England. In fact, the North West (230 independent openings), West Midlands (194 independent openings) and Scotland (114 independent openings) saw an extraordinary growth in their independent store markets.
The study also found that multiples that consisted of more than five stores nationally had seen closures in every region of the UK, except Yorkshire where there was a rise of 11 openings.
Beauty salons, barbers, cafés and convenience stores are leading the independent trend, while women’s clothing stores and shoe shops are among the sectors suffering the largest closures.
Discussing the findings, OnBuy managing director Cas Paton said: “It is sad to see well-loved, British companies closing – but we must move with the times. Keen business men and women have their eye on vacant spaces across the country and we must support our local independents, bricks-and-mortar businesses. It’s the only way for retail to survive.”