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Gloucestershire Business News

High Street closures at lowest level in seven years

The number of chain stores closing down on the high street has fallen to its lowest level in seven years.

Latest research by the Local Data Company, which studied the top 500 British town centres, said 2,564 shops closed in the first half of 2017.

At the same time, there were 2,342 store openings, meaning a net total of 222 shops was lost.

Charity shops, women's clothes shops and shoe shops were worst hit, according to the research commissioned by PwC. But general fashion stores, banks and cheque cashing shops saw their lowest number of net closures in three years.

Tobacconists, coffee shops and beauty salons all bucked the trend by increasing in number. Ice-cream parlours are also on the up, thanks to expansion by the Ben & Jerry's and Kaspa's chains.

The store closures were unevenly spread across the country. Here in the South West, 191 shops opened, while 224 stores closed, putting the region near the bottom of the chart. Scotland fared worst, with a net loss of 42 shops, while Yorkshire and the Humber added 12 shops and the East Midlands gained eight new shops.

Here at Punchline we're cautiously optimistic about these figures. But we feel they may be masking a bigger picture of what is happening in our smaller towns. While the research says bank closures are at their lowest level in three years, we continue to see banks close in our smaller towns, with Newent losing its last bank only last week and Winchcombe losing its only bank earlier this year.

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