Shop closures hit Scottish high streets

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image captionThe largest category of new outlets opening was fast food

Scotland is losing shops faster than any other part of Britain, according to research carried out by PwC for the Local Data Company.

The business advisers found 366 stores closed in Scotland last year, with 254 new outlets opening.

The net change represents a 3.44% drop. The British average figure was 1.32%.

The largest number of closures - at 32 - was among outlets selling fashion. The highest number of new shops were those selling fast food.

Leith in Edinburgh, with a 10.53% closure rate, and Ayr, at 8.3%, were the areas worst affected.

PwC Scotland deals director Mark Addley said: "The average of around one closure per day has been the Scottish average for most years since 2012 - but that will be of little comfort to people who have lost their jobs and livelihoods because of this.

"Overall, we are seeing far fewer closures due to outright insolvencies, but more due to the lower key restructuring of store portfolios.

"Where there is some good news is that Scots are also leading the way in openings and we shouldn't lose sight of that. In this era of mobile banking, internet shopping and less people going to high streets, there will be change. What we have to see is companies adapting to that."

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In addition to fashion retailers, Scotland lost 15 banks, 13 charity shops and 12 mobile phone stores.

The new outlets, in addition to the 14 selling fast food, included 10 convenience stores, 10 tobacconists and seven new TV equipment servicing firms.

Mr Addley said: "Looking ahead, I doubt the figures are going to improve by the end of 2017 for areas like banking as we've seen a number of companies announce branch closures of late, but other areas may pick up depending on the levels of tourism Scotland and Great Britain sees over the summer."

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