Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shutters Falling Faster on Traditional Retail in Region

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Shutters Falling Faster on Traditional Retail in Region

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHON MANNING Reporter jonathon.manning@reachplc.com @JONNYAMANNING

THE rate of high-street closures is gathering speed across the North East, with more than four shops closing every week last year.

Figures compiled in cities across the UK reveal that 231 shops closed their doors in the region last year, while only 97 opened.

The net decrease of 134 shop closures is the worst closure rate to hit the region in five years, and comes during one of the worst trading period's for the country's retail sector, triggering calls for retailers to act now and seek out new ways to achieve growth.

The analysis, carried out by PwC and the Local Data Company, examined the opening and closure rates of shops with more than five outlets in the top 500 town centres in Great Britain.

Within the North East, Newcastle suffered the highest number of shop closures, with 48 outlets shutting their doors.

Yet the city had one of the lowest net closure rates, at 5.8%, after a further 19 shops opened.

It marks a leap in the number of closures compared with 2017; however, 46 shut up shop in Newcastle - including the likes of Greenwoods menswear and hardware store Clas Ohlson - but 43 new businesses sprang up in their place, leaving a net change of just -3. Looking at the last three year's data shows last year saw 34 more net closures across the North East compared with 2017 and 83 more than in 2016, demonstrating how the challenging retail climate tightens its grip on the high street.

During 2018 Darlington had a high closure rate, with 30 closures and 15 openings, while Stockton saw 19 stores close and only four replace them, while in Durham 24 closed and only 14 opened.

Chester-le-Street and Hexham had one of the lowest net falls, with only one shop closure.

Video game stores were named as one of the worst-hit retailers, but this was largely due to the collapse of Grainger Games. The computer game chain entered administration in March 2018, leading to the loss of around 400 jobs across 67 stores. …

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