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04 April 2016

Growth of independent shops slows

The rise of out-of-town retail parks has helped deal a blow to the growth of independent high street stores, according to a new report.

In 2010, researchers say, the number of independent shops increased by nearly 4,000. That represented growth of 4%.

But by last year, they add, that growth had slumped to just 0.11% following an increase of only 117 stores. 

The report has been compiled by the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) and the Local Data Company (LDC).

LDC director Matthew Hopkinson says two-thirds of the nation's retail units are still independent. Nevertheless, he adds that the high street is facing increasing challenges.

Mr Hopkinson says major retailers relocating to out-of-town shopping centres is a major reason for the declining growth of independent stores.  

Shoppers, he adds, follow the big stores away from the high street, something which takes its toll on the smaller retailers that remain.

The report also details the type of stores that have been driving what growth there has been in independent retail.  The number of new e-cigarette shops and tobacconists, for example, has increased by 54%.

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