The number of shops that closed in Grimsby last year revealed as High Street hit by 'perfect storm' of gloom

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 13 Apr 2018

Grimsby's shops have suffered a 'perfect storm' on the High Street with 16 major stores closing in the town in the last year, a new report has revealed.

Only six new stores opened, meaning the number of major shops in Grimsby fell almost nine per cent from 188 to 178.

The report looked at retailers with more than five outlets across the country, so the study does not include small and local businesses, like the collapse of butcher John Pettit.

However, the author behind the report says there are opportunities for shops of all size to respond to changing customer demands.

Other town centres in Yorkshire and the Humber that suffered in 2017 include Sheffield, Hull, Barnsley and Doncaster. In total 10% of all shops in the Yorkshire and Humber region closed, above the national average of 8%.

Not a single town centre across the region saw any increase in shops during this period. It was the same picture across the country, with 16 shops closing every single day.

The hardest hit shops in the area have been banks, travel agents, charity shops and clothes shops.


Victoria Street in Grimsby where shops have been struggling with a perfect storm of economic downturn and competition from online (Image: Rick Byrne)

PWC, who put together the report, said the closures were driven by the rise of online shopping and shoppers watching their money more carefully.

Lisa Hooker of PWC said: "2017 was tough for the British retail industry, particularly the second half of the year.

"We saw volatility from month to month, and across different sectors as wage growth failed to keep up with inflation - forcing many shoppers to think more carefully about their spending habits.

"We've seen some well known names impacted as they face a perfect storm of issues - a fall in consumer confidence and reduced spending alongside a number of cost headwinds."

Read more: Council agrees to sell-off Welholme Galleries with hope it will be transformed by buyer

The same effects are also impacting smaller shops off the high street. However, Lisa says that there may still be hope for them.

"Small shops are often more agile in responding to customer needs. They can innovate faster and give the customer what they want, so there are opportunities for them to do well.

"We've also seen a rise is leisure retailers as customers are looking for unique experiences. Coffee shops and bookstores are making a comeback as people look for physical experiences like browsing which they can't do online.


Pettit & Sons family butchers, in Bethlehem Street, Grimsby, after its sudden closure last year(Image: Rick Byrne)

In addition, over half of all people surveyed in the report said they value face-to-face human interaction with polite, knowledgeable staff. Most said this would make them go into stores rather than shop online.

2018 has also seen the toughest start to a year since the recession, with the closure of shops looking to continue.

There is an ever-growing list of high street shops that have disappeared from the area. Grimsby’s branches of Lloyds Pharmacy and Game closed their doors recently. Much loved local businesses such as John Pettit Butchers have also been forced to close.

However, January saw the long-awaited expansion of Primark in the town, which brought out flocks of eager shoppers with Freshney Place also unveiling its new expansion with a new Cineworld and restaurants.

Previous years have also seen BHS, Blockbusters and JJB Sports stop trading.



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