Independents Flourish As Big High Street Names Fail

As big name chain stores such as Maplins and New Look close, new research finds that independent retailers are faring better than their bigger rivals.

British marketplace has studied the openings and closings of both independent shops and chain stores in 2017.

It has found that chain store closures have been seen in every region of the UK except Yorkshire and the Humber. The steepest falls in store closures have been seen in the West Midlands, Greater London and the East of England.

Meanwhile, the number of independent retailers has increased across the UK except in the East and South West. Overall, indies have been closing at a much lower rate than multiples across the UK. The data shows that the North West, West Midlands and Scotland saw “extraordinary growth” in their independent store sector.

Store vacancies have only increased in three regions – Greater London, the South West and Yorkshire and the Humber. The East of England, the South East and Greater London have the lowest number of empty stores.

Barbers, beauty salons, cafes and tearooms, convenience stores and tobacconists/vaping shops are all doing well, according to the research. Pubs, newsagents, women’s clothes shops, shoe shops and bookmakers are at most risk of closure.

Cas Paton, managing director of, said: “In the grand scheme of things, vacancy rates are low. The fact that only three regions have seen an increase in vacancies is positive and we must focus on this … It is sad to see well-loved, British companies closing but we must move with the times. Keen businessmen and women have their eye on vacant spaces across the country and we must support our local independents, bricks-and-mortar businesses. It’s the only way for retail to survive.”


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