PwC: Number of shop closures in Scotland 'accelerates'

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Glasgow saw a net loss of 11 stores in the first half the year, according to the report

The number of shop closures across Scotland's high streets "accelerated" in the first half of this year, according to a report.

PwC found 58 new stores opened in the nation's main cities and towns, while 107 closed - a net loss of 49.

The net loss in the first half of 2017 was 42.

Researchers attributed the rise in closures in part to continued growth in online shopping and a shift to in-home leisure.

Men's and women's fashion shops were among the worst hit, while kitchen planning stores, opticians, shoe shops and banks also saw "notable" net closures.

Nine Scottish towns and cities were evaluated in the study of multiple retailers, which was conducted by the Local Data Company.

Aberdeen fared worst in relative terms, with a net loss of 20 stores. Edinburgh saw a net reduction of 13 stores and Glasgow 11.

The only areas to see a rise in shop numbers were Ayr and Leith, in Edinburgh, which both increased by one.

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Source: Local Data Company

The report also suggested a migration of shoppers from high streets to retail parks.

Over the period, 67 high street shops and 40 shopping centre stores closed, while the number of outlets in retail parks remained static.

Mark Addley, from PwC in Scotland, said the analysis had revealed a "retail map which is continuing to change beyond recognition from a generation ago".

He added: "The convenience of online shopping is making its mark on the high street, and we expect this will lead to retailers having to re-evaluate the purpose of their bricks and mortar operations.

"Retailers of all sizes will be hoping for a strong festive trading period, but we must bear in mind that the peak time period for new CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) announcements is the first quarter of the new year, so we should brace for more high street closures in the coming months."

The rate of closures in Scotland was slightly better than the overall picture across Great Britain, which saw a net 1,123 stores disappear from the top 500 high streets in the first half of the year.

The research found 1,569 shops opened, compared with 2,692 closures.

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