THREE shops closed on the high street every day last year as soaring business rates, online competition and a fall in trade hit independent retailers.
New research found that nearly 1,500 traditional “bricks and mortar” stores shut their doors for good in towns and villages across Britain in 2017.
By JON COATES
PUBLISHED: 07:20, Sun, Apr 29, 2018 | UPDATED: 11:01, Sun, Apr 29, 2018
Today the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has issued a stark warning to the Government.
Chief executive Alan Hawkins, said: “If I could give one message I’d say ‘sort out the rates – it’s not fair’.
“It’s not as though the high street is finished, but we need some help quickly to make sure we have a rosier future.”
Explaining that 65 per cent of shops are independent, he said: “If we don’t find a way out of the current situation the Government is going to be left with the problem of what to do with these high streets that have nothing there.
People say put libraries in and health centres, but the Government does not have the money to fill the gaps that would be left by independent shops.”
The study on the state of the high street by the Local Data Company and Bira found that Yorkshire and the Humber, and Greater London, have suffered the greatest decline in independent shops in the past year.
In Yorkshire and the Humber 460 stores closed, with 374 shutting in Greater London. However, the West Midlands managed to buck this trend, with 230 new stores opening.
Telford has the lowest percentage of independent retailers, with Yate in Gloucestershire, Bracknell in Berks, Cowley in Oxfordshire and Salford in Greater Manchester the next worst.
High street businesses visited by customers – like barbers, beauty salons and coffee shops – fared the best.
Prezzo,the restaurant chain is shutting 92 branches across the 🇬🇧 UK.