A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has pointed the finger at smartphones for U.K. retail reduction.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has released the results of its research, which was based on information compiled by The Local Data Company, which revealed that the United Kingdom suffered a net loss of 987 brick and mortar retail stores, last year, and it has placed the blame on factors such as mobile technology.
This rate of store closures represented an average of 16 per day, across the country, which is a massive increase.
The year before, the figure of store closures in the U.K. was three times lower, when a total of 371 closures had been recorded. On the whole, in 2014, there were 5,839 stores that closed their doors forever, while there were 4,852 new store openings. Among the stores that closed, two out of every three were in the clothing and footwear categories. Mobile technology stores, money services, and bank branches also faced serious difficulties. That said, some types of stores broke away from that trend and managed to thrive, including discount shops such as Poundland, coffee shops, charity shops, smoke shops/e-cigarettes, and betting shops.
Mobile technology and the internet were said to have played an important role in these trends.
According to The Local Data Company director, Matthey Hopkinson, “Our town centers continue to evolve away from traditional shops and services to leisure – food, beverage and entertainment.” He also added that “This is reflected by American and British restaurants featuring in the top 10 risers along with the impact of click and collect services showing a 20% growth in 2014.”
Mike Jervis, a retail specialist at PwC, explained that mobile tech and the internet as a whole played an important part in the retail shop downturns, speeding up the rate of store closures as consumer behavior continues to undergo an evolution through the use of these types of tech.
Mark Hudson, PwC retail leader, explained that by watching the “work and play” behaviors of “digital natives”, it will be possible to better predict the future. This means that it will be important to keep a particular eye on those who have grown up with mobile technology, online shopping, and broadly available broadband, as they will have a considerably different relationship with brick and mortar stores than any of the generations that have come previous to them.