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Tue 5th Jun 2018 - Slowdown in leisure sector evident for first time since 2012
Slowdown in leisure sector evident for first time since 2012: A slowdown in the leisure sector is evident for the first time since 2012 although niche cuisines continue to thrive, new research has revealed. The latest bi-annual retail and leisure trends report from Local Data Company (LDC) reveals the net number of leisure units across Britain fell in 2017 for the first time since 2012 – down 67. All retail categories experienced decline and the vacancy rate increased for the first time since LDC started tracking it in 2012. However, this was only a 0.2% increase during the entire year, settling at 11.2% – the same as at the end of 2016. Numbers of multiple and independent occupiers both declined for the first time since 2012, with independents falling 1,483 in 2017. The decline in multiples continued, with 4,010 closing down in 2017. The sub-category that closed the most UK units was pubs (747), followed by banks (711). Cafes and tea rooms saw a net increase of 353 units. Niche retailers shone through, with Jamaican, vegan, Brazilian, Argentine, kosher and Malaysian restaurants increasing presence in 2017, while there was a 70% decrease in vegetarian restaurants and a 61.5% increase in vegan ones. The vacancy rate for shopping centres is the highest for retail locations with the biggest increase (12.7% to 13.2%) between 2016 and 2017. The high-street vacancy rate only rose 0.2%. The vacancy rate decreased across all Britain’s retail parks in 2017, continuing the trend for increasing occupancy in the segment. Yorkshire and the Humber (361), Greater London (498) and Scotland (520) were the regions to lose the most occupied high-street units, while West Midlands lost the fewest (22). The most improved high-street locations were Knightsbridge, Malton, St Leonards, Letchworth, Islington, Bromsgrove, St Neots, Ripley, Felixstowe and Barnsley. The most entrepreneurial towns were Tooting, Aberdeen, Dawley, Reddish, Bromborough Rake, Liverpool, Great Yarmouth, Newcastle upon Tyne, Folkestone and Erdington. LDC senior relationship manager Lucy Stainton said: “Broadly, the sub-sectors growing across Britain have services or propositions that cannot be replicated online, while those closing can be readily replicated digitally. Equally, those corners of retail and leisure performing well are very much experience-led. This tells us something about changing consumer preferences and habits. There is no denying retail is going through an unprecedented era of change but, as our latest research highlights, it’s crucial to get underneath the overarching trends to understand the detail beneath, giving a glimpse of our future high street.”

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