Nail bars 'lead independent shops revival'

Visiting a nail bar is a weekly treat for many women

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While UK retailers have struggled as people tighten their belts, there are signs of a High Street revival among independent stores.

A survey of 500 town centres by retail analyst the Local Data Company suggests chain stores that have closed are being replaced by small shopkeepers.

The number of independents grew 2.4% last year, with more than 15,000 opening - three times more than chains.

The beauty sector led growth, with the number of nail bars up 16.5%, it said.

Other areas of expansion included fashion, autos and accessories, charity stores, pet retailers and pound shops.

'Affordable treat'

Beauty retailer Superdrug reported sales of nail varnish increasing 37% last year.

And Vivienne Rudd, of Mintel market research, said the sector was performing well because it was seen as an "affordable treat".

Local Data Company director Matthew Hopkinson said the research showed how significant independents were to the future of Britain's High Streets, as mainstays of many towns.

"It challenges the common view that independents are an endangered species being killed off by supermarkets and the internet," he said.

Michael Weedon, deputy chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said there had been a net gain of 2,500 independent retailers.

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