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UK retail sector expands by 7%

New research has revealed that there has been a 7% increase in the number of active companies in the retail sector in the last year.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK retail sector expands by 7%

The study by Creditsafe shows that the sector has grown by almost 10,000 businesses to £146,000. The figures also reveal that just 5.5% of the active companies operating in the industry were rated by Creditsafe as very high risk or high risk.   

The top regional centre for retail business growth was Croydon which is expected to expand still further with Westfield and Hammerson’s £1 billion redevelopment of Croydon town centre. This was followed by Manchester and Birmingham. 

The research also reveals that outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh, regional retail expansion in Scotland is experiencing limited retail growth.  Scottish locations dominated the top 10 centres of retail decline and low growth in the UK.  

Rachel Mainwaring, operations director Creditsafe UK, said:  “The last 12 months have seen a significant uplift for the retail sector after a difficult 2013.  The health of the retail industry is often taken as a barometer of consumer confidence, so these figures support the argument that people are starting to open their wallets and spend. 

“There is however a divergence between the rate of growth in England and Scotland.  The rate of expansion in Scotland is far lower on average than in England, which may indicate the referendum had an impact on business confidence and investment in this sector.”    

The study also found that companies leasing commercial retail property reported a smaller volume of retailers attempting to renegotiate the terms of their original contract midway through the agreement than in previous years.  In 2013, 75% of companies leasing commercial space witnessed retailers attempting to renegotiate the original terms of their leases, whereas in 2014 this fell to 65%. In addition, just 18% of companies leasing retail properties reported an increase in late and defaulted payments by retail clients compared to 59% in 2013. 

Top 10 centres of retail growth (2013-2014)

1 Croydon 537 
2 Manchester 339
3 Birmingham 321
4 London E 319
5 London W 248
6 Harrow 239
7 London EC 229
8 London N 220
9 Belfast 219
10 Leicester  210

Top 10 centres of retail decline and low growth (2013-2014)

London SW -187 
Guildford -64
Paisley -2
4 Inverness -1
5 Kirkwall -1
6 Western Isles  0
Lerwick  0
8 Dundee  3
9 Llandrindod Wells   6
10 Kirkcaldy  8

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