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High street shop closures reach record high as Ipswich loses another store

PUBLISHED: 15:16 11 September 2019 | UPDATED: 15:16 11 September 2019

Ipswich high street has been hit by a string of closures this year. Photo: Archant

Ipswich high street has been hit by a string of closures this year. Photo: Archant

Archant

Following the announcement yet another Ipswich shop will be shutting down, new figures reveal high street store closures have reached a record high.

Argos in Carr Street, Ipswich, is closing down. Photo: Archant.Argos in Carr Street, Ipswich, is closing down. Photo: Archant.

The first six months of 2019 saw a net decline of 1,234 stores on Britain's top 500 high streets - the highest number since analysis by PwC and the Local Data Company began in 2010.

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Online shopping and restructuring were seen as two of the biggest contributing factors which left an average of 16 stores closing every day.

For Ipswich the worrying trend looks set to continue.

The closure of Ipswich's Cotswold Outdoor. Photo: Archant.The closure of Ipswich's Cotswold Outdoor. Photo: Archant.

Earlier this week Maresa Shoes, in Museum Street, announced it would be closing down after just five months.

Staff explained customers' reliance on internet shopping and reduced footfall in the town centre left the store struggling to turn a profit.

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It has been a tough year already for Ipswich's high street, with a number of national chains leaving town.

However, such losses are being mirrored up and down the country.

The biggest net declines were among fashion retailers, down by 118, while restaurants trailed behind at 103 and pubs dropped by 96.

Ohh Deer's owners have issued an open letter to Ipswich following the store's closure. Photo: Archant,Ohh Deer's owners have issued an open letter to Ipswich following the store's closure. Photo: Archant,

The research did provide some reasons to be optimistic as store openings rose by around 4% - highlighting the potential opportunities for new entrants as well as established brands.

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said: "The record net decline in store numbers in the first half of 2019 shows that there's been no let-up in the changing ways that people shop and the cost pressures affecting high street operators.

"The good news is that there are green shoots, as new entrants are entering even embattled sectors such as fashion. Our research tells us that consumers still want to spend their money in well located and invested stores and leisure venues on the high street.

"However, as consumers continue to change the way they shop and spend their leisure time, the reality is that we may need fewer high streets in the future. This opens up opportunities to repurpose high street space for other uses, while the remaining space evolves to meet consumer demand for convenience, choice and experience."

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