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High Street Faces 'Unprecedented Challenges' says Trade Association

21 Mar 2024

The British Independent Retailers’ Association (Bira) has reacted to data released by PwC and the Local Data Company exploring the state of the UK retail landscape.
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Greeting Card Association expresses concern on new evidence Royal Mail prioritising parcel deliveries over letters.

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The Greeting Card Association has reacted to a BBC Panorama programme lifting the lid on Royal Mail management prioritising parcel delivery over letters, which it says are in contradiction of... Read more…

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The British Book Awards has announced its shortlist for Independent Bookshop of the Year. 
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The ACT is happy to confirm the date for Local Bike Shop Day 2024 as Saturday 4 May, the weekend of the early May Bank Holiday.
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New research reveals the best cities in the UK for independent retailers.

4 Mar 2024

Research by global fintech company SumUp has revealed the best cities in the UK for independent businesses.
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Rising costs continue to impact hair and beauty sector

21 Feb 2024

The latest quarterly State of the Industry survey from the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) shows that the recovery of the sector was slow and steady through 2023 and into January... Read more…

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21 Feb 2024

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Town centre shops praise council for initiatives

21 Feb 2024

Businesses in the Devon town of Ottery St Mary have praised their local council for initiatives designed to help support them and boost trade.
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Three UK indie coffee shops named among the most popular in the world.

19 Feb 2024

A new ranking of the most popular independent coffee shops in the world has put three UK cafes in the top 10.
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High Street Faces 'Unprecedented Challenges' says Trade Association

Posted on in Business News

The British Independent Retailers’ Association (Bira) has reacted to data released by PwC and the Local Data Company exploring the state of the UK retail landscape.

High street

The high street faced 'unprecedented challenges' following the news of a decrease in stores across the country in 2023. Despite the rise in new outlets opened by UK chains, the closure of stores continues to outpace openings, resulting in a net decrease of 5,000 stores.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of Bira, expressed concern over the challenges facing independent retailers:

"Further evidence of how difficult it is for retailers on the high streets in the UK. Our own recent survey also showed more than 50% of indies were concerned about 2024. We disagree that store closure was a result of a long-term trend of people moving online because since Covid restrictions were lifted in 2021, online sales have fallen. We believe store closures have occurred due to the cost-of-living crisis reducing consumer spending and the ever-increasing costs of running a shop, with many indies saying enough is enough."

The figures reveal a concerning trend with a daily closure rate of 14 stores, underscoring the challenges faced by both retail and service industries amidst the growing preference for online shopping. Despite 9,138 new openings last year, primarily driven by hospitality sites such as drive through coffee shops and fast-food restaurants on out of city centre areas, the closure of major chains such as Wilko, Lloyds Pharmacy, and Paperchase has contributed to a net decrease in retail presence across the UK.

PwC's analysis highlights the impact of "one-off" restructurings and failures at major retailers, further exacerbating the closure rate. However, out-of-town retail parks have shown resilience, buoyed by the emergence of new food outlets, while the expansion of electric vehicle charging stations has led to a net gain of 48 petrol stations.

The rise in new hospitality sites represents a rebound for the sector following the challenges posed by the pandemic. Despite this, the broader retail landscape continues to face unprecedented challenges, with independent retailers bearing the brunt of economic pressures.

Mr Goodacre added that Bira remains committed to supporting independent retailers across the UK, advocating for policies that address the underlying issues impacting the retail sector.

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