The pace of store closures in the UK accelerated in 2022 as Covid-era support measures were withdrawn, with rationalisation rather than insolvency the main reason for shops shutting, according to a study.
The Centre for Retail Research found that more than 17,000 shops closed last year, equivalent to 47 a day, the highest total in five years. The figures are gross and do not take into account new store openings.
The CRR said 11,636 closures were due to rationalisation programmes by large retailers or independents simply shutting up shop for good, while 5,509 were due to some form of insolvency proceedings.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the CRR, said rationalisation seemed to be “the main driver for closures as retailers continue to reduce their cost base at pace”. He expected the trend to continue in 2023.
The CRR said store closures due to corporate collapses, such as those of Debenhams and Arcadia, both wound up during 2021, fell 56 per cent last year. Major retail insolvencies in 2022 included convenience retailer McColl’s and lifestyle group Joules.
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