Feb. 23, 2012
-- According to recent research, conducted by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) and the Local Data Company, the face of Wales’ High Streets is changing. Traditional high street stores are increasingly being replaced with pound shops, bookies and charity shops. Even though last year saw a shop closing every other day on the high street, the total number actually increased, as low-cost retailers moved in. “Many businesses just aren’t able to cope with the overheads of high street retail anymore,” said a source from Junior Enterprise, a Cardiff-based sales and marketing company. “This opens doors for smaller, more streamlined business, to fill the gaps in the market. “ During the booming period, prior to the credit crunch, analysts say that many high street chains had over-expanded, not expecting the crisis.
There was a net reduction in shops of 174 in 2011, over the whole of Britain, however Wales managed an increase of 12, with 146 stores closing and 158 opening. In Wales, England and Scotland, retailers closed an average of 14 stores per day. Bookshops, electrical, home furnishing, menswear, off-licences, bars and pubs and travel shops were hardest hit. The companies bucking the trend and showing an increase were charity shops, pound shops, shoe shops, bakers, credit unions, supermarkets and convenience stores.
Welsh fashion chain Peacocks has become one of the casualties of the retail sector crisis, which has continued into 2012. Other retailers such as Thorntons, Barratts, Priceless, Blacks Leisure and Thomas Cook all announced administration plans and job losses in 2011. Our source at Junior Enterprise commented saying, “High street businesses may be suffering now from being overly ambitious in the past, and not reacting quickly enough to market pressures.”
Rob Lewis, PWC regional chairman for Wales, said that a common feature of retailers in trouble was that they have too many locations. “Relatively long leases have been entered in to in a growth phase of the economy which are no longer appropriate,”
he said, “Where over-expansion has already taken place, retailers need to face that reality and formulate a strategic plan in partnership with landlords, not in confrontation with them.” He added that the rise in convenience stores is due to them being “a growth platform for supermarkets needing to meet consumer demand for local shopping outlets where it’s easy to do regular big shops as well as ‘top up’ and have easy access to fresh produce.”
Richard Dunstan, senior lecturer in accounting at Swansea Business School pointed to competition from online shopping and a slump in consumer confidence, as contributing factors. Our Junior Enterprise source agreed, adding, “The climate is changing quickly for retail and businesses need to react quickly. Consumers are increasingly turning to online stores to purchase products traditionally sold in high street stores. If these stores don’t seek to meet that demand, then they will suffer.”http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2...
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Junior Enterprise Ltd was established in late August 2010. Junior Enterprise Ltd is a fast growing sales and marketing firm located in Cardiff.