Retail closures reached 20 stores a day on average in 2012

Retail closures reached 20 stores a day on average in 2012

The number of stores closed by retailers in the UK has soared over the past 12 months, according to new research.

According to research by the PWC and the Local Data Company, retail closures reached 20 stores a day on average in 2012.

The report found that 175 women's clothing shops closed over the year, down 7.5% on the year.

"2012 saw more retail chains go into insolvency than ever before. The failed chains generally shared two problems- too many stores and too little multi-channel activity. A number of them had failed to deal with their underlying issues by hiding behind light touch restructuring processes, especially Company Voluntary Arrangements. 2013 has seen the downward trend become even worse," said PwC insolvency partner and retail specialist Mike Jervis.

According to Kantar Worldpanel data, the fashion sector is performing better than the rest of the high street, with sales growing 2.3% compared to 1.3% over the 24 weeks to 20 January.

Women's wear is the only sector to remain in growth for bricks and mortar high street stores, up 0.6%. Kantar Worldpanel said that some of the growth came from in creased prices, but also due to more items bought per trip. Men's wear and children's wear fell into decline, driven by falling frequency and shopper numbers.

"2012 was the first year that we have seen significant reductions of multiple retailers in town centres across Great Britain with a net loss of nearly 1,800 stores which, if one takes an average size of 4,000 square feet per unit then this equates to over 7 million sq ft of space. This is the equivalent of 131 football pitches, or just over four Westfield London's," said Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson.

"We can expect to see this trend continue and indeed accelerate in 2013 as more leases come up for renewal along with the ever increasing demands from consumers for space that delivers an experience good enough to pull them away from their technology devices. The end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 has seen the most dramatic period on record as companies controlling more than 1,400 shops went into administration."