More shops closed in Scotland than in any other part of UK last year, with one shutting each day
Banks, fashion outlets and charity shops were the hardest hit as a total of 366 stores closed north of the Border in 2016, while just 254 were opened.
The 3.44 per cent net drop is almost double the British average of a 1.32 per cent, and is the highest in the UK.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) re-search, compiled by the Local Data Company, comes just days after experts warned that Scotland’s economy is shrinking and is teetering on the brink of recession.
All areas surveyed across Scotland recorded an overall decrease in shops, with Leith in Edinburgh having the highest rate of closures with a 10.53 per cent drop, followed by Ayr’s 8.3 per cent fall. Falkirk, which traditionally has more store openings than closures, was the most resilient with a 0.78 per cent drop.
The average of around one closure per day has been the Scottish average for most years since 2012
Mark Addley – PwC Scotland
Fashion stores had the largest number of closures at 32, followed by banks at 15, charity shops at 13 and mobile phone stores at 12.
The falls were partially offset as more stores were opened in Scotland than elsewhere in Britain, except in the north-east of England.
Fast-food outlets were among the most popular new stores with 14 opening, followed by 10 convenience stores, 10 tobacconists and seven new TV equipment servicing firms.
Banks, fashion outlets & charity shops were the hardest hit as a total of 366 stores closed in 2016
Across Britain, the fastest-growing retailers were in leisure, hearing aids, tobacconists and Marks & Spencer food outlets.
Mark Addley, deals director at PwC Scotland, said: “The average of around one closure per day has been the Scottish average for most years since 2012 – but that will be of little comfort to people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods because of this.
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“Overall, we are seeing far fewer closures due to outright insolvencies, but more due to the lower-key restructuring of store portfolios.”
He aded: “Where there is some good news is that Scots are also leading the way in openings.
"In this era of mobile banking, internet shopping and less people going to high streets, there will be change. What we have to see is companies adapting to that. And while those in retail parks may feel more secure, even there we are seeing companies that previously had two or more outlets in larger parks consolidating into one unit.
The 3.44 per cent net drop is almost double the British average of a 1.32 per cent British high streets in crisis Mon, March 27, 2017
As the Post Office announces store closures across the country. We take a look at the retail giants who have closed high street stores in the last year.
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Retail giants who have closed high street stores in the last year
“I doubt the figures are going to improve by the end of 2017 for areas like banking as we’ve seen a number of companies announce branch closures of late, but other areas may pick up depending on the levels of tourism over the summer.”
The report was published just days after official figures revealed that Scotland’s output contracted in the final three months of 2016 – at the same time as it grew across the UK.
Another negative figure for the first quarter of 2017 would mean an official recession, experts said.
An SNP bid to blame Brexit was attacked by independent experts, with one top economist saying, with the rest of Britain booming, that reasoning was “hard to argue”.