Scottish high street store closures 'almost two a week in 2018'



Scottish high street retailers are suffering the most testing retail and leisure climate in five years.

New research from Big Four accountant PwC shows that net store closures have increased to almost two a week in 2018.

The rate of store closures remains high as a result of the growth in online shopping, a shift to home leisure and continued digitisation of services.

In the first half of 2018 there were 58 new store openings in Scotland’s main cities and towns but 107 closures leading to a net change of -49, according to research compiled by the Local Data Company released today.

The first half of 2017 saw a net change of minus 42.
However the rate of net closures in Scotland is slightly higher than the overall picture across Great Britain.
The research showed 1,569 shops opened compared to 2,692 closures.

In the nine towns and cities in Scotland covered by the research Aberdeen fared worst with minus 4.24 net closures.

Edinburgh saw a reduction of 13 stores and Glasgow 11, to 992 and 887 respectively.

The only areas to see an increase in store numbers were Ayr and Leith.

The PwC study also showed the net migration from town centres to retail parks. Over the period there 67 high street store closures and 40 in shopping centres while the number in retail parks remained steady.

The analysis also shows that men’s and women’s fashion shops were among the most affected as shoppers move online.

Kitchen planning shops, opticians, shoe shops and banks were among other categories that saw closures.

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Mark Addley, head of restructuring at PWC in Scotland, said: “Our analysis reveals a retail map which is continuing to change beyond recognition from a generation ago.

“The convenience of online shopping is making its mark on the high street, and we expect this will lead to retailers having to re-evaluate the purpose of their bricks and mortar operations.
“The number of high-profile retail casualties in 2018 has made headline news while the volume of distressed businesses this year led to a spike in company voluntary arrangements.

“While these measures can help alleviate short term distress they are not a viable long-term solution unless there is a fundamental change to the business model.

“The intensity of the current retail climate which is being felt across Scotland’s towns an cities highlights that restructuring and new investment are required, but so are new ways of thinking.”



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