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'Commodity' retailers' store numbers hit by internet

Childrenswear retailing suffers worst decline in numbers


'Commodity' retailers' store numbers hit by internet

Childrenswear retailing suffers worst decline in numbers

Store numbers for retailers selling 'commodity' items such as books, music, DVD's and games, photo processing services and travel services have declined - some by as much as 30-40% - over the past three years, as the arrival of internet shopping and other new technologies has impacted the number of stores on the UK's high streets, according to new analysis by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).

The biggest declines have been witnessed in standalone childrenswear retailers, with store numbers declining by 43% between 2007 and 2010, and footwear/leather goods retailers, with store numbers dropping by 19% during the period, as shoppers are increasingly drawn to multi-category stores such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, Primark and New Look, due to their convenience and choice. Greengrocers, butchers and off-licences have also seen declines, largely due to the increased dominance of supermarkets.

UK Retailer Store Number Declines: 2007 - 2010 

Biggest % change in store numbers

Childrenswear -43.4%, Music and Video -38.0%, Photographic Goods -29.2%, DIY -24.3%,
Household Textiles -23.3%, Pet Supplies -21.5%, Greengrocer -21.0%, Butcher -20.7%,
Footwear/Leather Goods -19.0%, Carpets -18.0%, Books -16.9%, Off-Licence -14.9%,
Travel Agent -12.8%.

Online retail sales growth (UK) 2004 Online market share (%)

2009 Online % market share (2004 % market share in brackets)

Books 18.9% (10.0%), Clothing 6.7% (1.9%), DIY & Garden 5.2% (2.8%), Electricals 23.8% (6.8%), Food & Grocery 4.5% (1.4%), Furniture & Carpets 4.1% (1.9%), Health & Beauty 3.2% (1.2%), Homewares 8.7% (4.1%), Music & Video 45.5% (9.1%).

Jonathan De Mello, Head of Retail Consultancy for CBRE in the UK, commented, "Online sales have risen dramatically in recent years, to an estimated 10.5% of total retail sales in the UK, according to the ONS figures. The rise, alongside supermarkets' increasing provision of non-food items, has been the key driver of the decline in store numbers of retailers selling commodity items.

"Over the last five years, online has grown its market share of these retail categories, showing that there is a clear correlation between the growth of online sales and the store decline in particular retail categories. Interestingly, some retail sectors have actually increased store numbers over the last three years as online retailing has risen; namely mobile phone shops which have grown their store footprint by 27.5%, and charity shops with a 17.9% increase. Retailers trading in these categories have capitalised on the high vacancy rates seen in secondary centres, in order to increase their coverage of the UK market."

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