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High street store openings at seven-year low

New high street store openings have fallen to their lowest level in seven years, figures suggest.
They fell by 10% from 4,534 in 2016 to 4,083 in 2017 - the lowest since 2010, according to research by the Local Data Company (LDC) which studied the top 500 town centres across Britain.
A total of 5,855 high street stores closed last year - an average of 16 every day.In comparison, an average of 11 opened each day. This is down from 12 in 2016 and 15 in 2013.Beauty salons, coffee shops, cafes, tearooms and ice cream parlours bucked the trend, while bookshops and vaping outlets also remained popular.Stores have been struggling as rising inflation combined with sluggish wage growth means consumers' spending power is shrinking.Lisa Hooker at PwC, who commissioned the research, said the data confirmed the continuing challenges traditional high street retailers face from online shopping and "experience-seeking millennials".She said: "2017 was tough for the British retail industry, particularly the second half of the year.
High street store openings at seven-year low

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Coffee shops were among the outlets that bucked the trend
"We saw volatility from month to month and across different sectors as wage growth failed to keep up with inflation, forcing many shoppers to think more carefully about their spending habits."On top of this, many retailers are increasingly feeling the impact of the acceleration of online shopping as consumers begin to feel more comfortable with the price transparency and reliability of delivery options offered by online players."Digital offerings are increasingly becoming make or break in areas like fashion, but also for banks, travel agents and estate agents - all of which closed a significant number of high street outlets last year."The winners at the moment, such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments such as experience-seeking millennials, and offer a differentiated physical proposition that online offerings can't compete with."Lucy Stainton from LDC added: "There is of course no doubting that we are experiencing a period of great change in retail, and the question around the relevance and role of stores is still very much on the industry agenda.
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"It is also interesting to note that despite the onslaught of digital and audiobooks, readily available via the likes of Amazon and Apple, booksellers are on the list of 2017 'risers'."Perhaps unexpected but then again does this suggest there is hope for more traditional retailing of physical products, if done well?"
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