2020 is the worst year for retail closures – ever
A total of 11,120 chain store outlets closed between January and June while 5,119 opened. The net 6,001 closures is a record high and far higher than the loss of 3,509 for the same period in 2019.
The research from retail specialists The Local Data Company centered on all high streets, shopping centers and retail parks in England, Scotland and Wales and found that on average over 60 stores closed every day with 28 opening – a net daily loss of 32 stores.
The data doesn’t include outlets temporarily closed due to lockdown rules so figures could ultimately be higher if they don’t reopen.
The worst affected retail sectors were fashion, mobile phone and betting stores while the areas that saw the most closures were Greater London with 1,008 net closures followed by South East England and the North West.
The towns with the biggest decreases were York (55 net shop closures), Durham (43) and Corby (26).
Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company said: “The results from the first half of 2020 are a stark reminder of the challenges faced by retailers in the first six months of the year, which included a national lockdown.
“With each week that passes since retail and hospitality businesses were given the green light to reopen, the likelihood of these occupiers ever trading again in those units reduces.”
She added that 22% of chain stores still remain temporarily closed and that further restrictions including local lockdowns and 10pm curfews for hospitality businesses would continue to have “a devastating impact” on the sector with more closures likely after the make-or-break festive season ends.
The report urges more government stimulus highlighting further movement restrictions, the end of the furlough scheme on October 31st and for the hospitality sector, the end of VAT reductions and business rates relief in March 2021.
There have been so many canaries in the coal mine in 2020 that it would look something like an aviary.
The Local Data Company’s research shows the parlous state of the retail industry but other sectors such as hospitality are in just as dire straits with possibly worse to come.
The most frustrating part of the Coronavirus pandemic and response for directors and business owners is that it’s not your fault if you see your income plunge off a cliff edge.
It’s not your fault that customers are being told to stay away or risk fines or that you might have invested a lot in PPE and other essential equipment to allow you to operate but local or national lockdowns override this and you end up closing temporarily anyway.
None of it is your fault yet you’ve got to bear the consequences as well as you can.
If there’s a silver lining at all, it’s that the decisions facing you and your business should be crystallizing.
Which is where we can play a part in helping you to make the changes that will keep your business alive in one form or another in order to prosper again.
We can explore the circumstances you face and come up with an efficient and effective plan for your company to navigate these to give you the best chance of flourishing in the future.
Options such as administration, CVA’s or insolvency moratoriums sound official and intimidating but could be the keystone to success. Our knowledgeable and impartial advisors will give you the benefit of their years of experience and if there is a way to keep your business going then we’ll find it working together.