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North-East high streets still affected by slower consumer spending
NEW store openings in the North-East have fallen as retailers continue to suffer from reduced consumer confidence and spending.
A study shows 86 outlets opened in the first-half of the year, compared to 109 in the same period last year.
The rate of closures remained the same with 124 shutting in the first six months of this year, according to research carried out by accountants PwC and The Local Data Company.
Across the UK, the rate of closures fell from 20 a day to 18 outlets for the first months of 2012, with traditional shoe and clothing shops replaced by food and entertainment stores.
High streets were also hit by well-publicised closures of Jessops and Blockbuster.
Sean Hamilton, PwC Newcastle director said: “It is still tough for the retail sector and these figures reflect a steady outlook for the region.
“However, growth is still some way off as consumer spending and confidence remains low.
“The shifts in multiple retailers’ store portfolios are a barometer for changes in our society and its habits.
“Closures in the photography and video sectors reflect the sea-change in how consumers are spending and the insolvencies at Jessops and Blockbuster are stark proof of that.”
Matthew Hopkinson, director of The Local Data Company, said shops were facing increasing pressure from online rivals.
He said: “The good news is the significant decline in chain retailer numbers in town centres is slowing down, but closer examination shows an ongoing decline of traditional shops.
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