Store closures outstripped new shop openings in Huddersfield town centre last year, according to latest figures.
Data from accountancy firm PwC showed there were 243 retail businesses operating in the town centre in January this year – 12 fewer than the 255 trading in January, 2017. There were nine new store openings compared with 21 closures.
Huddersfield had the fifth highest number of store closures in Yorkshire and Humber – behind Sheffield, which saw the number of stores in the city fall by 30, Hull (down by 15), Barnsley (14) and Doncaster (12).
The figures, compiled by independent retail analysts the Local Data Company, found that 285 shops opened and 452 closed across Yorkshire and the Humber during 2017 – representing a net decrease of 167 shops and an increase of 13% on 2016 when there were 337 openings and 398 closures giving a net reduction of just 61 shops.
Not one town or city in the region saw an increase in the number of stores last year.
Businesses to close in Huddersfield during 2017 have included Kewz Bar at Queen Street South, Northern Taps in King Street and H Mitchell Butchers in Station Street. New arrivals included toy shop The Entertainer in Kingsgate.
A breakdown of retailing businesses showed that tobacconists, supermarkets, cafes and tea rooms, Italian restaurants and satellite TV equipment suppliers were among traders showing the fastest growth across the region in 2017.
Among multiple retailers in the 25 locations analysed across Yorkshire and Humber travel agents, banks and other financial institutions, charity shops, fashion shops and sports good shops were among the hardest hit last year.
Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at 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.
“On top of this, many retailers are increasingly feeling the impact of the acceleration of online shopping as consumers begin to feel more comfortable with the price and reliability of delivery options offered by online players.
“Digital offerings are increasingly becoming make or break in areas like fashion, but also for banks, travel agents and estate agents – all of whom closed a significant number of high street stores last year.
“For these industries, store closures are less driven by the market environment and are instead part of much bigger structural changes happening as customers increasingly expect to interact with their service providers online or via apps.”
She added: “We’ve already seen a tough start to 2018, but it’s important to remember the British high street still plays a vital role in society – and there are elements of growth among the headline numbers of decline.
“Retailers and leisure operators need to continue looking at their businesses - including their store portfolios - to make sure they have a clear brand and product offering.
“The winners at the moment, such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments, such as experience-seeking millennials and offer a physical proposition that online can’t compete with.
In 2017, 5,855 outlets closed on Great Britain’s high streets – a rate of 16 stores a day. That compares 15 stores a day in 2016 when 5,430 outlets closed, making it the second consecutive year the number of closures have risen.