More than 1,300 stores have closed in the first quarter of 2019 as a “direct consequence” of CVAs, store downsizing and administrations first announced last year, according to the Local Data Company (LDC).
The closure of as many as 1,358 stores, balanced by 849 openings – a net loss of 509 stores – comes as a result, says the LDC, of CVAs (company voluntary arrangement), store downsizings and administrations that were first announced in 2018. In 2018, the LDC figures show, a net 2,481 stores closed from Great Britain’s top 500 high streets, after 3,372 stores opened and 5,833 closed. That’s around double the net loss of 1,772 stores in 2017.
Among the retailers to take the CVA route in 2018 were fashion retailers such as New Look, furniture stores such as Carpetright, and nursery retailers such as Mothercare. Mothercare, for example, said earlier this month that it had closed 30 of its stores in the first three months of 2019 in order to complete its UK store closure programme ahead of schedule. It now has 80 stores, whereas a year ago it had 137. Mothercare’s said its move represented a ‘right sizing’ of its estate. This comes in the light of the fact that shoppers are generally making more of their purchases online.
Currently there are reports that Monsoon Accessorize may soon join those retailers using a CVA approach to right size their own store estates, while 2019 retailers to take this route are reported to include the Arcadia group and Paperchase.
The LDC study, carried out with PwC, found that fashion retailers, with a net loss of 269 stores, were among the most likely to have reduced their store numbers in 2018, followed by value retailers (-129), electricals shops (-110), entertainment and games retailers (-98) and mobile phone shops (-93). The study also found that banks were the single largest fallers in 2019 – down by a net 291.
Commenting, Zelf Hussain, retail restructuring partner PwC, said: “Several national chains weathered company voluntary arrangements or administrations…