Women’s clothing shops were among the hardest hit in 2015

Women’s clothing shops were among the hardest hit in 2015

UK women's wear shops were among those "hardest hit" by store closures last year, even though the overall closure rate for the retail sector as a whole fell to a five-year low.

According to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the Local Data Company (LDC), 5,138 retail stores closed in 2015 compared to 4,640 openings, equating to a net reduction of 498 shops. 

This is a drop of 50.4% when compared to 2014 where 5,839 outlets closed compared to 4,852 openings, a net reduction of 987 shops – and was helped by improving consumer confidence and the economic recovery

Although this is the lowest closure rate in five years since the peak seen in 2012, when 20 stores a day were closing, women's clothing stores and fashion shops were among the hardest hit in 2015. 

Women's clothes shops reported a net decline in units of 97, representing a 7.5% decline from 2014. Fashion stores, meanwhile, fell 2.3%, pointing to an 82 net decline in units. 

"Fashion has taken another battering and the closures testify to the proliferations of "me too" retailers in this sub-sector, especially ladies' fashion," says Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and head of deals retail specialist at PwC. "Anecdotal evidence suggests that currently fewer leases are renewed on expiry so the closures reflect passive strategies by retailers as well as active closures."

The rate of overall openings across the board remained constant at 13 per day in 2015.