Fewer Town Centre Shops Closing Their Doors
Town centre shops shut at an average of 18 a day during the first half of 2013, reflecting continuing economic and evolving social pressures on the high street.
However, the closure rate fell from more than 20 during the same period last year, according to the report from accountants PwC compiled by the Local Data Company (LDC).
It highlights the continuing change in the make-up of the high street - with a declining number of women's fashion stores and camera shops as consumers' demands change.
Charity shops, betting shops and cheque cashing outlets picked up the slack, the study suggested.
Video and photography outlets - following the insolvencies of Blockbuster and Jessops respectively - suffered most, while women's fashion was hit by intense competition from major chains and online offerings.
The study of 500 UK town centres showed 3,366 outlets closed in the six-month period, compared with 3,157 openings, a net reduction of 209 shops.
This was an improvement on the net reduction of 953 over the first half of last year.
Coffee shops and hearing aid outlets were among those increasing, the research showed, as were convenience stores as large supermarket groups move into the sector to bolster their market share.
Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist at PwC, said: "Upticks in areas such as cheque cashing and pawnbroker reflect a society where a sizeable part of the population is forced to turn to these types of borrowing for basic needs."
Matthew Hopkinson, director of the LDC, added: "The good news is that the significant decline in chain retailer numbers in town centres in 2012 is slowing down.
"That said, closer examination of the data shows the significant ongoing decline of traditional shops, with food, beverage and entertainment taking their place.
"The pressure from online competitors, supermarkets and out-of-town providers will only increase," he warned.