20 shops closed in the UK each day last year

7,337 stores closed in 2012, according to figures from PwC and the Local Data Centre.
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An average of 20 shops closed every day in the UK last year.

Figures from PwC and the Local Data Centre also found that 7,337 UK stores closed over the past 12 months, with retailers selling computer games, health foods and cards among the hardest hit.

Consequently, 5,558 stores were opened in the UK last year, meaning the overall store count change was down 1,779.

Mike Jervis, insolvency partner and retail specialist, PwC said: "2012 saw more retail chains go into insolvency than ever before. The failed chains generally shared two problems- too many stores and too little multi-channel activity. 

"A number of them had failed to deal with their underlying issues by hiding behind light touch restructuring processes, especially Company Voluntary Arrangements. 2013 has seen the downward trend become even worse.

“If underperforming retailers are to avoid becoming part of these statistics for next year, their shopping baskets should contain an acute knowledge of their customers and their customers' needs; robust cashflow planning; honest analysis of the performance of existing and potential new stores; the bravery to admit mistakes regarding products and stores before dealing with them; clinical attention to costs; early engagement with banks, landlords and suppliers; appropriate debt and capital structures.”

Christine Cross, chief retail adviser to PwC, added: "Although the figures are more disappointing than many had hoped, we have to acknowledge that several of the companies with closures had anticipated these for some time. What is surprising is the speed at which stores have been picked up by value and grocery retailers in particular. Good businesses with good operating models and good people don't fail."

Dan Wagner, CEO of mobile payment company mPowa, commented: "We are about to see a major shift in the way we shop. The time has gone where we walk around shops, picking items up, carrying them around the shop, queuing up, getting them all out at a till, packing them all away again, so that you can carry them around with you for the rest of the day and all the way home.

Wagner also spoke of mPowa’s mobile payment solution, which allows store assistants to accept payments on a mobile phone or tablet.

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