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Diversity on the high street is key, says BIRA

The British Independent Retailers Association has said the key to the high street thriving is for there to be a diverse number of shops on offer.

Recent research by accountancy firm PwC, has shown that a total of 11,530 outlets closed in the UK last year – an average of 32 closures a day. However the figure has improved over the past three years.

Banks saw the most closures, with takeaways, convenience stores and amusement arcades performing best.

Andrew Goodacre, ceo of BIRA, commented: “This report covers a very wide range of businesses found on high streets and it is encouraging to see that the number of closures is decreasing, but we still saw a net loss of 10 outlets per day.

“This is even higher in terms of the traditional retailers as we see shops being replaced by takeaways, amusement arcades, etc. The report also notes that already we have seen some high profile retail failures and the hospitality sector is also under real pressure due to the extremely high cost of running a business on the high street.

“The type of businesses we see in high streets is changin and has done for some time. Change is inevitable but the really successful high streets have a really good mix of businesses – shops, leisure, hospitality, convenience, culture, etc.

“These are interdependent businesses and we should not let high streets be dominated by a particular type of business. Diversity brings vibrancy to the high street.

“Furthermore, the government should not see this report as a reason not to support high streets. 15,000 jobs have been lost in retail already this year. Energy bills are set to significantly increase once the government support comes to an end, and communities need their local shops more than ever. The chancellor must use the spring statement to bring forward ideas for growth and restoring consumer confidence.”

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