Hair salons among businesses most likely to close, but beauty salons are opening - report
UK hairdressing salons were high up the list of small independent business closures last year, hit the hardest by rising energy bills and falling consumer spending, according to a report by the Local Data Company (LDC).
By contrast, beauty salons led the way in those opening new businesses last year.
However, the overall number of independent retailers across the UK remained almost flat year on year in 2022, with about 260 fewer vacancies, compared with a net 2,157 more stores trading in 2021, the report, seen by The Guardian, showed.
The steady number of independents contributed to an overall 57% slowdown in new vacancies on the UK’s high streets, retail parks and shopping centres, as businesses bounced back from the pandemic. The net rate of closures – the gap between new openings and businesses shutting their doors – fell to the lowest rate since 2016.
But LDC commercial director Lucy Stainton said: “While overall market performance has improved, independent businesses have started to feel the pinch as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis is felt across the market.
“Soaring energy costs, combined with the lower levels of disposable income for consumers, have led to some independent businesses falling into trouble and closing their doors for good. Government packages designed to support small businesses to recover post-Covid have recently come to an end, causing additional pressures.”
Stainton said new store openings remained strong despite the tough economic conditions. “This stream of new independent businesses reflects the growing appetite for landlords to let space to [them], especially in locations not typically occupied by this type of business, such as shopping centres.”
After a strong period during the pandemic, high streets saw the greatest increase in vacancies, while retail parks fared the best and shopping centres recovered after a very tricky period at the height of the pandemic.
Redevelopment of retail sites, meanwhile, reached a new high – at 10,739 compared with 9,139 in 2021 and 7,307 in 2019 – before the pandemic. LDC found that a fifth of Debenhams stores, which were closed in 2021 after the department store went into administration, have been repurposed while 48.5% remain empty.
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