Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Swindon hit hard by retail closures – report

Swindon has one of the fastest-declining retail economies in the UK, according to a new report.

The findings, by AskTraders, suggests the town was in the top five of the worst-hit urban centres in 2019.

The analysis looked at ATMs, bank branches, retail store closures, and retail growth data from the Office for National Statistics over the course of 2019.

Swindon came fifth in the list of worst-performing high streets after Poole, Blackpool, Warrington and Manchester.

Victims of the retail slump in Swindon this year include Argos, Dorothy Perkins, Homebase, Morrisons, Mothercare, Starbucks, Thomas Cook, Thorntons, and Wallis

Nationally, the report paints a sorry picture: 1,200 high street stores closed during the first half of 2019 and 5,000 have closed in the past 12 months.

More than 6,000 cash machines have disappeared across the UK, and 1,100 bank branches have shut their doors.

Steve Miley, senior market analyst at AskTraders, said: "The UK high street has been weathering tough trading conditions with many UK retailers dropping by the wayside. Traditional retail store closures are on the up as businesses grapple with a weak consumer in the face of Brexit uncertainty, the unabated rise of e-commerce, higher costs and changing tastes.”

He continues: “There are, inevitably, going to be winners and losers. High street retailers with inflexible business models that have failed to adapt to their changing environment are and will be the most noticeable casualties. Big names have just vanished from our high street and there will certainly be more to come.

The challenges that the High street is facing aren’t going anywhere fast. This will be a case of survival of the fittest. Those retailers that can evolve whilst still giving their customers exactly what they want could have a lot to gain.”